My name is Father Gregory Merkley. I am happy to be the new associate pastor here at St. Mary’s and the Missions. Many of you are likely wondering, “who is this new priest at our church?” Well, allow me to answer that question and share with you a bit about myself!
I’m originally from Kitchener, Ontario and am 32 years old. I just celebrated two years of priesthood this past May 4th, having been ordained by Bishop Douglas Crosby. My first two assignments as a priest so far were one year at St. Ann in Ancaster with then Fr. Wayne Lobsinger (now our auxiliary bishop), and then most recently another year at St. Joseph in Guelph, with Fr. Jeff Bergsma.
In terms of my family background, I have one older brother who is 6 years older than me. He has 5 wonderful children, who I always enjoy seeing. Both of my parents are from London, Ontario. I grew up, however, for much of my young life in Ayr, Ontario. I also studied in Toronto at St. Augustine’s Seminary – so I’ve moved around a bit.
I look forward to getting to know as many of you as well as possible. Please be patient with me as I get to know your names more and more. You may call me Father Merkley, Father Greg, or anything you think appropriate.
My family growing up didn’t actively practice Catholicism. Aside from a couple spurts of routine Sunday Mass attendance, my family mostly went to Mass on Christmas and Easter – if that. As time went on though, I became a practical atheist and distanced myself from the Church and religion, and lived more according to the ways of the world. Through a young lady whom I dated for some time, and who was going to Church, I started reconsidering the Catholic faith and eventually, after much seeking, prayer, and questioning, committed my life to the Lord. Over time, a call to the priesthood became more clear and I joined the seminary. Although not always an easy life, I have found living as a priest to be immensely rewarding and fulfilling. There’s a lot more that could be said, but I’m happy to keep it simple for this bulletin.
I enjoy socializing, learning new things, and meeting new people. I’m excited to do all these at this parish and its missions, as we work together to grow in faith, hope and love, becoming better disciples of the Lord Jesus. I also really enjoy answering questions about the faith that people have, likely because I had so many questions myself when I came back to the Church after many years away.
I ask you to pray for me while I settle into this new appointment, so that I may be led by the Holy Spirit as I collaborate with Fr. Wojtek Kuzma and Fr. Francis Hubilla to build up the body of Christ in this beautiful parish. Fr. Gregory Merkley