Father Paul Meismer was where the Lord wanted him on his birthday 50 years ago
Bishop Franz could not have ordained Father Meismer on a better day — it was his 26th birthday.
He credits his “sainted mother” Mary C. Meismer for positioning him at St. Bede Academy in Peru, where he studied for four years and went on to St. Bede Junior College for two years. He took philosophy and two years of theology at St. Procopius Abbey in Lisle, and completed his studies for the priesthood at St. Paul Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota.
“The further I went in school the easier the studies seemed to become and more interesting. I took that as a sign that that was where the Lord wanted me,” Father Meismer said. “Fifty years later, I still do.”
He added that he will never forget giving his first blessing to his grandfather, who was 90-something at the time.
Highlights of his priestly ministry include serving as a chaplain at the Logan Correctional Center in Lincoln, baptizing hundreds of babies, and sharing his knowledge of the faith with many people who wanted to be received into the Catholic Church.
Father Meismer’s first assignment was as parochial vicar at St. Valentine in Peru. He was named administrator at St. Patrick in Arlington and Sacred Heart in Dimmick, while remaining at St. Valentine, in 1976. He has served as pastor at St. Mary, Delavan, and St. Joseph, Hopedale; St. Patrick, Sheffield, St. John Vianney, Cambridge, and St. Margaret, Wyanet; Immaculate Conception, Spring Valley; and St. Patrick, Arlington, and Holy Trinity, Cherry.
He was granted senior status in 2011.
Since then, Father Meismer has substituted at weekend Masses for priests who are ill or on vacation. One of his favorite things is hearing confessions, “bringing the Lord’s healing grace to penitents.”
The author of “From Pastor to Pasture” and co-author of “Letters to Padre,” he is working on a third book.
He said the priesthood offers a win-win-win situation because by going out of his way to serve others, he feels the love of his brother priests, parishioners and the Lord.
While he loves the rosary, Father Meismer said his central devotion is the holy sacrifice of the Mass. “How special is it that a man can call down on an altar the very real presence of Jesus, our Brother?”
Due to recent developments, Father Meismer will have to put off a celebration for his 50th anniversary. In the meantime, mail may be sent to him at 12580 E. 1545th St., Granville, IL 61325.