Reflections

OF A CATHOLIC PRIEST

FR. GLENN J. KOHRMAN

 frkohrman@gmail.com

I was born in Fort Wayne, Indiana and grew up in a small neighboring town called New Haven. I was the product of two years of Catholic Education, first and second grade. I was taught in those years by some sisters of St. Agnes. Following there, I went to a public elementary school and public high school. I wrestled my freshman year, went out for tennis and was cut, and then ran track from my sophomore year, throwing the shot and discus. My senior year I played football on a team that was undefeated in the regular season. My first jobs included sweeping floors after hours in a clothing manufacturing facility and being a Park Maintenance worker. This entailed getting ball diamonds ready to play and keeping the grass cut in all the township parks. As a senior in high school I was accepted in an engineering cooperative program at a plant that manufactured oil seals in Van Wert, Ohio.

My college started with two years at the extension of Purdue University at Fort Wayne. Affectionately known then as “By-pass High”, the campus was located on the bypass around Fort Wayne. My junior and senior college years were on campus in West Lafayette. There I completed a Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering. Near the end of my under-graduate studies, a professor approached me and asked if I would be interested in a research assistantship to obtain a Master’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering. Ironically, among my college friends I was one who usually complained the loudest about school. I had no fondness for school, but I certainly liked to learn and figure out things.

One of the reasons I went into engineering was to test an idea I had for a high mileage gasoline carburetor. It wasn’t until my junior year in a class of Thermodynamics that I determined my 1973 Dodge Charger should theoretically get 73 miles per gallon, going 55 miles per hour, assuming an adiabatic efficiency of 17% and the caloric value of gasoline being 128,000 BTU’s per gallon!

The research at Purdue for the Master’s Degree was funded as the result of a grant from the Ford Motor Company. I accepted and finished the basic course work and defended my thesis in May, 1987 and officially received my Master’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering with an emphasis on acoustics in December of 1987.

Near the end of my studies at Purdue, while in a Christian dating relationship with a fine Christian woman, I felt drawn to consider the priesthood. I entered St. John’s Seminary in Boston in September, 1987. I finished my theological course work in May, 1992 and was ordained for the diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend in Indiana in November of that year. In the following years I completed a thesis in Systematic Theology on the Interpretation of Scripture which fulfilled the requirements for a Masters of Arts Degree in Theology.

My first pastoral assignments entailed service as a deacon in Bradford, MA at Sacred Hearts parish and then St. Michael’s in Plymouth, Indiana. During my assignment at Plymouth I finished teaching a class at Ancilla College in Ethics. The priest who had been teaching the course was unable to finish the class as the result of some serious problems. As a priest I spent my first fourteen months at the parish of St. Mary’s of the Assumption in Decatur, Indiana as an associate pastor. I also served as a part-time chaplain to Bishop Luer’s High School in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Then in the summer of 1994 I was named administrator of two inner city parishes, Sacred Heart and St. Paul’s. St. Paul’s was a predominately Hispanic parish. Unfortunately now the property is merely a grassy knoll. The Spanish parishioners were moved to St. Patrick’s some years after I left St. Paul’s. In August of 1998 I left Sacred Heart and became pastor of St. Patrick’s in Fort Wayne as the result of the untimely death of St. Patrick’s pastor. I continued to serve St. Paul’s which had grown from around 160 families on the books to over 800 in the summer of 2001. In August, 2001 I was named pastor of St. Mary of the Lake in Culver, Indiana, a small rural parish that also had the responsibility of serving Culver Academies in Culver, Indiana as Catholic Chaplain. Culver Academies is a very interesting place. Students come from more than 20 countries from all over the world, and Culver Academies does its best to fashion future citizens for the world. From 2002 -2009 I had been an Adjunct Faculty member of Ancilla College teaching Ethics, Philosophy and other courses in Religious Studies and even a course in College Algebra. In the spring of 2006 I also taught a class on the New Testament at the University of St. Francis in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

From 2009 to 2014 I was pastor of St. Vincent de Paul parish in Elkhart, Indiana, and from 2014 I have been pastor of Holy Family in South Bend, Indiana, and from 2016 another parish, St. John the Baptist in South Bend has been entrusted to my care.

I also am one of the consultors of the diocese as well as chaplain for the Andre Besette Medical Guild, and the diocesan World Apostolate of Fatima.

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