by Cori Hilsgen
Members of the Church of St. Joseph Catholic Church bade farewell to Father Joseph Feders after weekend Masses on June 23 and 24.
Feders has been the pastor of the church for the past six years. The Rev. Jerome Tupa will replace Feders as the new pastor. Tupa has been serving at the Church of St. John the Baptist in Collegeville.
Parishoner Nettie Pfannenstein spoke on behalf of fellow parishoners and thanked Feders for his service to the parish and the gifts he had brought to the parish. Pfannenstein said even though people were sad to see Feders leave, they would try to follow his advice and be “open to change.”
Parishioners were served donuts and juice after Masses, then lined up and waited for an opportunity to say goodbye to their priest.
Parishioners Mike and Kathy Lehn said they have appreciated Father Joseph’s gifts to the parish.
“Father Joseph has been such a blessing to the entire parish, but especially to us,” said Mike Lehn.” He officiated at the weddings of two of our children and we still follow the advice he gave to all married couples during his homily. His advice was every night before going to bed, each of us is to thank God for three blessings of the day, with one of the blessings being our spouse.”
Lehn said it has strengthened their marriage and improved their outlook on life.
Lehn said they were also impressed by Feders’ faithfulness. Many months ago they had asked him to pray for a special intention of theirs and just recently Feders asked them for an update and told them he prays every day for that intention.
“We so appreciate the wonderful time we have had with him,” Lehn said.
Feders said he will be on sabbatical to “recharge his spiritual batteries.” In the beginning of July, he will go to Creighton University in Omaha to start a certificate program in spiritual direction and directed retreats. He also plans to spend time at a Trappest monastery in Peosta, Iowa, at St. John’s Abbey and in the Twin Cities with his family.
Feders earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of St. Thomas and a master’s degree from the Carlson School of Management. He worked as a certified public accountant and in banking before spending time as a Peace Corps worker in Africa. He professed his simple vows at St. John’s Abbey and his final vows in 1997. He was ordained in 1999.
Feders said he has missed the Benedictine monk community life, especially communal prayer, shared meals and the mutual support of his confreres. At Mass, he told parishioners he has been able to share his gifts because of the grace of God.
Tupa received his bachelor’s degree from St. John’s University and a master’s and doctorate from the Sorbonne in Paris with a French literature degree. He entered the monastery in 1962 and has worked at SJU. Tupa has directed study-abroad programs in France, Greece, Italy and the Middle East. He was also named Artist in Residence in 2004, with exhibits of his artworks in many American and European cities.