Fr. Stephen's 10th Anniversary
On November 3, 2017, our Parochial Vicar, Fr. Stephen Lattner, OSB, celebrated the 10th anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood. While it may surprise some that Fr. Stephen has been a priest for only 10 years, he is one of what is becoming the new normal in the Roman Catholic priesthood… a second career vocation. Recently, Fr. Stephen shared with us some of the twists and turns of his life’s journey that led to where he finds himself today.
Fr. Stephen grew up with 5 sisters and 2 brothers. His father worked at General Electric and, as the family grew, moved from Mt. Auburn to Madeira to Kenwood to Mack and, finally, to Anderson Township. As a result, Fr. Stephen had a variety of educational experiences but always Catholic schools – St. Gertrude to St. Vincent Ferrer to the Archbishop’s Choir School located first at Holy Angels Parish and then at St. Francis de Sales Parish in Cincinnati. He then went to Moeller High School, graduating in 1970. His higher education began at Xavier University from which he graduated with a degree in Theology and minors in Philosophy and English in 1974.
He attended Mt. St. Mary Seminary for the school year 1974-75 but, as Fr. Stephen recalls, “both parties agreed that it was a fairly unsuccessful year.” So he did what most of us did, he got a job. Having some interest in the medical field, he was hired on at Mercy Hospital in the X-Ray Department in 1976 where he remained until 1979 when he moved on to the Cardiac Lab at Good Samaritan Hospital in Clifton. Through all this time, he had no conscious thought of becoming a priest but it seems that the Lord had another idea.
For whatever reason, Fr. Stephen responded to an ad in The Catholic Telegraph announcing a group retreat at the Trappist Monastery at Gethsemane in Kentucky. Over that weekend he prayed for guidance and direction. He also experienced the monastic life and it appealed to him, so much so that he returned to Gethsemane for a week’s stay and then again for a month. While his love for the monastic life increased, he was not certain how he was to live it out. Then he says, “Somehow I got on a mailing list from St. Benedict’s Abbey in Benet Lake, Wisconsin so I decided that I should at least visit there,” which he did at the end of July 2002. He spent 6 months as a Postulant as a discerning period then was sent home to consider whether he wanted to move on. He did. He entered the Novitiate in 2003, made his simple vows in January of 2004, and spent the next three years at The Sacred Heart School of Theology in Hales Corner, Wisconsin. Then, in a whirlwind of activity, he professed Solemn Vows in January 2007, was ordained a Deacon in March, then ordained to the Priesthood on November 3.
After ordination, he and another Benedictine priest, Fr. Donald Gibbs, OSB, were asked to serve in two parishes in the Diocese of Milwaukee. Both priests enjoyed parish work and, through their work, formed a bond of friendship that continues on today. Over the next years, Fr. Stephen was selected to be the Prior of the Abbey (2nd in command to the Abbot) in which capacity he served for a year and a half.
His father’s failing health (his mother died in 1997) and a yearning to be with his family brought him back home in 2012. He worked as Parochial Vicar at St. Susanna Parish in Mason for one year, then came to Our Lady of Sorrows and Holy Name of Jesus Parishes in 2013. A long, winding road that brought him here and we are blessed to have him with us. Happy Anniversary, Fr. Stephen!