Priests called ‘powerhouses of prayer’

Father Al Wilson, Father Joe Voor, Missionary of the Holy Family Father James Wuerth and Passionist Father Simon Herbers, from left, reside at Nazareth Home on Newburg Road. The four are among eight priests who live in the assisted living community. On most days, those who are able, concelebrate daily Mass in the Nazareth Home Chapel. (Record Photo by Jessica Able)

On most days, eight priests concelebrate daily Mass in the Nazareth Home Chapel. They are all residents of the home and join a visiting celebrant when they’re able.

Sister of Charity of Nazareth Maureen Coughlin called the men who live in the assisted living facility on Newburg Road “powerhouses of prayer.”

The priests include Passionist Fathers Simon Herbers, Alfonso San Juan, Robert Crossmyer, Missionary of the Holy Family Father James Wuerth and diocesan priests Father Joseph Voor and Father Al Wilson.

After a recent Thursday morning Mass, Father Wilson deflected the praise and said any group of people, gesturing to the chapel around him, are powerhouses of prayer.

“Throughout our ministries, all of us have tried to help other people be ‘powerhouses of prayer,’ ” he said.

Sister Coughlin said the men have inspired untold numbers of people.

“They are a group of men who have given so much to so many. They have lived out their vocations well and are very inspiring to me,” said Sister Coughlin, a member of the board of Nazareth Home who regularly attends Mass there.

Though none act in official capacities, some noted they do provide assistance as needed to fellow residents and their families.

Father Wuerth brings his expertise as a hospice chaplain to Nazareth. He has anointed the sick and prayed with families and residents “to help them through difficult times,” he said.

Father Voor, who holds the distinction of the oldest priest in the archdiocese at age 92, said there is a sense of community among the men.

“Being together with other priests is important as each of us live by ourselves,” he said.

In addition to the weekday Masses, the priests gather on Saturday mornings for a Mass among themselves in the library on the second floor.

“I think we have a good sense of fellowship with one another. It’s a simple Mass,” Father Wuerth said.

Father Voor added, “We enjoy coming together for Mass to give honor and glory to God.”

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Jessica Able
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