Father Thomas Merrill, OFM Conv.
Father Thomas Merrill is the Rector/Pastor of the Basilica and Shrine of Our Lady of Consolation and is the Guardian of the local Friary.
He is a native of Saint Paul, Minnesota, born there in March, 1950. He was raised, along with one sister a year and a half my junior, in a suburb of Minneapolis, attending Catholic grade and public high schools, celebrating my 50th year of graduation in June.
Fr. Thomas professed Solemn Vows in 1977, and being ordained in 1979, he served in parishes in Louisville, KY, and Milwaukee, WI. Followed by teaching school in New York, Texas and Wisconsin.
From there, he worked in our Franciscan Missions in Costa Rica for three years, and again in Postulant Formation. He also served as Pastor of San Jose Parish in Carlsbad, NM.
After a sabbatical year in Israel, the Vatican, and Ireland he served for many years in Minnesota. After another sabbatical spent in England, India, Rome, Greece and Turkey, he returned to another parish in Minnesota and then at St, Mary’s Parish in New Albany, Indiana, and was very recently assigned to be Pastor of the parish here and Rector of the Shrine as well.
Father John Bamman, OFM Conv.
Father John earned a bachelor’s degree in natural resources, parks and recreation management at the Ohio State University. Then moved west to Washington State, where he studied theology at Seattle University. He then returned to his home town, Sylvania, Ohio where he first met the friars on a Teens Encounter Christ retreat. Since that TEC Retreat he could not shake his call to be a Franciscan priest. Father John is a part-time Associate Pastor and part-time Vocation Director and thrilled to serve at Our Lady of Consolation Basilica & Shrine.
Father Conrad Sutter, OFM Conv.
Fr. Conrad is originally from Toledo Ohio. He entered the Conventual Franciscans shortly after High School as a Brother and in the next 25 years severed in many ministries. After 25 years God was calling him to a new ministry, priesthood.
On May 8th 2018 marked his anniversary of being ordained at Our Lady of Consolation for 25 year. He has ministered in parishes, retreat ministry and chaplain at hospitals.
Fr. Conrad is very happy to be here serving at Our Lady once again.
Brother Tom Hercegovics, OFM Conv.
Bro. Tom earned a Bachelor of Arts in Pastoral Ministry at Madonna University in Livonia, Michigan. He was raised in Joliet, Illinois and has two sisters. He attended Catholic schools his whole life and has a great appreciation of Catholic Education. He was taught by Franciscan Sisters in grade school and Carmelite Priests and Brothers in high school.
He has worked for over twenty years in Healthcare field as an Activity Director. He has also ministered in two Parishes in Michigan serving in the position of Christian Service Outreach Coordinator. His hobbies include musical theatre, bird watching, and spending time with his rescue cat named Sophie.
Bro. Tom is the Pilgrimage/Retreat Director and is delighted to be able to minister to so many people who visit the Shrine as well as those individuals or groups who stay at the Retreat House. Peace and All Goodness!
Brother Angelo Catania, OFM Conv.
Brother Angelo J. Catania, OFM Conv. is the Assistant Pilgrimage Director for Hospitality for the Shrine and the Retreat House at Our Lady of Consolation. Before coming to the Shrine Brother Angelo was in charge of the meal preparation for our major Seminary when it was located in Chaska, Minnesota and at Franciscan Retreats Prior Lake, Minnesota. He ministered at Mount Saint Francis, Indiana on the Retreat Team, as Guest Master, Sacristan and Receptionist for retreatants and visitors to the Mount.
In 2005 Brother Angelo returned to Carey for a second time since his previous assignment here from 1976 – 1988. Brother Angelo has served as a hospitality minister for many years throughout the Province of Our Lady of Consolation. He has been a Conventual Franciscan Friar for over 40 years, and enjoys Religious Life and his ministry to the people of God very much!
Jack Gerding, Director of Music Ministries
Mr. Jack Gerding serves the Shrine as our Director of Music Ministries. Growing up at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Glandorf, Ohio, he started his vocation in church music at a very young age by singing in the choir and playing for school Masses. After completing his degree in Sacred Music, Mr. Gerding served St. Cyprian Catholic Church in Riverview, Michigan, and St. Patrick of Heatherdowns in Toledo, Ohio and now the Shrine.
Here at Our Lady of Consolation, Mr. Gerding is responsible for coordinating the weekday and weekend music ministers as well as directing the Shrine Chorale, Resurrection Choir, Jubilate Children’s Choir, Cantor Guild, Assumption Choir, and the 100 voice Carey Ecumenical Choir. Mr. Gerding has had the privilege to travel to Italy with his choirs and to sing for Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI.