DeKALB — Father James Parker became the new pastor of St. Mary Catholic Church in DeKalb on July 1.
He replaced Father Ken Anderson, who was the pastor for about 10 years. Parker, who was born in Evergreen Park and raised in Orland Park, attended the University of St. Francis in Joliet and graduated with a business degree in 1991. During that time, he was working for a Catholic television station.
He decided to become a pastor in 1995, when he thought he'd at least give seminary school a shot . He then got his Master's in Divinity from Mount St. Mary's University's seminary in 1998 and was ordained in 2003. He became a pastor at St. Mary Roman Catholic Church in East Dubuque, Ill., and worked there before coming to DeKalb.
Daily Chronicle reporter Felix Sarver recently spoke with Parker about his past experiences and his plans as the new pastor for St. Mary Catholic Church.
Sarver: How did you like your past experience of being a pastor at St. Mary's in East Dubuque?
Parker: I love being a priest and I have no doubt God created me to be one. I thank God every day that I am able to do mass and live the life of a priest.
Sarver: What do you think of St. Mary Catholic Church thus far?
Parker: I've only been here a week. I've gone through the files, and I've met with the teachers. It's a bigger parish than before. A bigger school than before. The staff is bigger. Things are just a little big bigger, I guess? You'll have to ask me a month or so from now... the primary task of a priest is to live in union with Christ and lead people to a union with Christ... in that sense, all parishes are the same.
Sarver: Is there anything striking to you about the church?
Parker: The church is beautiful! The crucifix, the stained glass windows and tabernacle are beautiful.
Sarver: What did you think of Father Ken Anderson before he left?
Parker: He gave me a tour of the church and area here. He seemed like a wonderful priest with a kind heart and, like all priests, trying to do the best he can.
Sarver: What do you want to accomplish as the new pastor of St. Mary Catholic Church?
Parker: My primary goal is to lead people to have a deeper Eucharistic devotion and a love for the mother of God. Those were my two primary goals in East Dubuque and that's my goals here... underneath you have all these other things that help us reach those goals.... I want to be a shepherd for Christ and urge people to pray for me as the new pastor. I've been praying ever since I got the call.