Gearhart's home page

Learning to put God in the loop,
after 40 years of wandering
in the desert of pure rationalism.

Hi. I'm the pastor of two small country parishes in Champaign, Ohio: St. Michael's in Mechanicsburg and Immaculate Conception in North Lewisburg. These parishes are situated on the eastern side of the county, only a half hour from Columbus.

St. Michael's Immaculate Conception

Both of these parishes are strong, well-knit and welcoming communities, well able to play significant roles in the Catholic life of Champaign County, and of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati as a whole.

Because I was ordained so recently (May, 2003), I am still considered to be a "young" priest. This, in spite of my position, and in spite of my age, 57 years.

I personally consider this to be a forgivable distortion, since so many of my colleagues in the Cincinnati Presbyterate are, in fact, quite a bit older than I am.

I graduated from Mt. St. Mary's Seminary of the West in Cincinnati, Ohio (as opposed to Mt. St. Mary's of the East in Emmitsburg, Maryland). Itself an old and somewhat venerable institution, it was recently demoted by the administrative aparatus of the Athenaeum of Ohio to the status of yet another of its academic programs, as one may easily see from the first link in this paragraph.

By the time I entered the 4th year of the seminary program, I was the oldest seminarian, a status that afforded me some measure of pride. I would tell people, "I'm older than grandpa." "Grandpa" is a classmate who is a widower and has (currently) two grandchildren. His name is J. Daniel Schuh, and he is a prince of a fellow. He helped keep our class united and functioning over the years of the taxing formation program.

I did my internship at St. Margaret Mary Parish in North College Hill (just north of Cincinnati). The pastor there was Fr. John Wall, also a prince of a man. He taught me a great deal about compassion, patience and the value of having fun. I greatly enjoyed my role as the resident seminarian there. The people of this parish are very warm and supportive. The parish has a small but efficient and very courteous staff. Due to the ravages of changing demographics, however, its school is close to closing.

My first assignment following ordination was as the associate pastor at Our Lady of Lourdes in Cincinnati, Ohio. This was my first real proving ground for my priesthood. I discovered the real challenges of trying to be an authentic Catholic evangelist in America. In many ways, the west side of Cincinnati is a microcosm of American culture. One finds there both liberal and conservative believers. There, as elsewhere in America, one finds a lot of material wisdom about life, but a great deal of ignorance about the things of heaven. Unfortunately, this problem is not so easily remedied. The gaps are both broad and deep. Although Jesus was clearly referring to the Jewish religious authorities when he remarked, "For the children of this world (the gentiles) are more prudent in dealing with their own generation than the children of light (the Jewish religious authorities)", we can see the same problem today in spades.

There is hope on the horizon, in the form of the late Pope John Paul II's teaching on human nature (e.g., in his Theology of the Body) and our relationship with God and with each other. George Weigel, in Witness to Hope, referred to the Pope's "Theology of the Body" as "one of the boldest reconfigurations of Catholic theology in centuries... a theological time-bomb set to go off with dramatic consequences ...perhaps in the twenty-first century." It can help to anchor the "faithful remnant" and inaugurate the "springtime of the Church" that the current and previous pope have alluded to.

My own journey is not a simple one, and I won't be able to do justice to it here any time soon. Nevertheless, I have documented a good part of who I am on this web site.

I've collected a number of links to things that interest me and presented them to you in a popup window which you can select from the menu above. I invite your comments.

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Me relaxing at a friend's house.
My School:
Mt. St. Mary's Seminary
6616 Beechmont Avenue
Cincinnati, OH 45230
Phone: 513-231-2223
My Parishes
St. Michael's Parish
40 Walnut Street
Mechanicsburg, OH 43044
Phone: 937-834-2664
Immaculate Conception
Elm & Winder Streets
North Lewisburg, OH 43078