Rev. Ben Stern - Administrator

I grew up in a small town in Southern Illinois like so many others.  Things have changed so much since then, the coal mines have shut down, young adults move away, and prisons now dot the landscape.  Despite the changes, people here are full of faith and friendship. 

As a child, I grew close to my great aunt.  Her kindness, love, and gentle disposition has often reminded me of the
type of person I should be.  I attended St. Bruno grade school and had the opportunity to be involved in church at an early age.  Since I lived a block away from church, I often served mass.  Through grade school and high school I was active in the Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts.  During my years in the program I held many leadership positions such as Patrol Leader, Troop Guide, Senior Patrol Leader, on top of being a member of the Order of Arrow and earning the rank of a Life Scout.  The seeds of learning began in high school and I began taking college classes in the summer when I was only 15.  During my senior year I was awarded the OTIS scholarship by winning a competition against other high school students in the subject of accounting.  Throughout the grass season, I would mow half a dozen lawns for extra money.

After high school, I attended Rend Lake College and Southern Illinois University at Carbondale.  I graduated cum laude from SIU-C in December of 2001 with a degree in agribusiness economics and a minor in management.  Throughout college I was active in the church and my faith developed.  I was blessed to know the late Fr. Dean Braun whose life deeply inspired me.  He was a charismatic person filled with the gifts of the Holy Spirit and truly a walking miracle.  One day as he told me a story about his missionary experiences in Australia, I began thinking about what I should do with my life.

I began seminary training at St. Meinrad School of Theology in January of 2002.  I grew to love philosophy, systematic theology, and the liturgy of the hours as sung by the monks over the years.  In 2003, I graduated with a Masters of Arts and served St. Dominic Parish in Breese as a seminarian; in 2004-2005 I served as a seminarian at St. Peter's Cathedral in Belleville.  I spent the summer of 2006 completing my CPE requirement in Sioux Falls, SD and in November I was ordained a transitional deacon.  I also self-published two books in 2006; the first book is entitled, The Search for Catholicism: A Philosophical and Existential Inquiry and the second is Modern Philosophical Dialogues: Reclaiming the Tradition.  The year of 2007 brought many changes to my life with my ordination to the priesthood as well as graduating with a Master of Divinity from St. Meinrad.

After ordination, I began filling in parishes for a month until I began my assignment as an associate pastor.  At St. Dominic I was active teaching at All Saints Academy, in the PSR program, visiting the sick, and filling in at nearly parishes throughout the diocese. Also during this time I served St. Rose parish for two months, was sacramental minister at St. Felicitas Beaver Prarie for a year, and covered the parishes of Holy Cross Wendelin and St. Joseph's Stringtown for four months after the death of their beloved pastor.

I also began taking graduate level classes in 2009.  I had the opportunity to study Thomas Aquinas under the well-respected Dr. Eleonore Stump at St. Louis University. I also studied Critical Theory, David Hume, and Thomas Reid under Dr. Lutz Bachmann and Dr. John Greco.  Continuing reading and education are important to me.  Besides reading, writing, classes, and parish obligations I enjoy railroads, model railroads and spending time with my family and friends.  In June of 2010, I was assigned as the administrator of St. Boniface Parish and look forward to growing in my faith with all of you.  Peace be with you!