Pastoral Staff

An Introduction to the St. John Neumann Parish Pastoral Staff

FR. JOSEPH REED  was born and raised in Knoxville. He attended Sacred Heart School, then Farragut Middle and High Schools. He was a seminarian for the Diocese before joining Conception Abbey as a monk for almost twenty years. Fr. Joe earned additional degrees in theology from St. John’s Seminary [Minnesota] and St. Vincent Seminary [Pennsylvania]. Over the years, Fr. Joe has taught and served as an academic advisor, spiritual director and director of liturgy at Conception Seminary College, worked in the business and vocations offices at Conception Abbey, and as a master of ceremonies while living and studying in Rome. Since his return to Knoxville, Fr. Joe has served as parochial vicar and school chaplain at Sacred Heart Cathedral . In addition to being the pastor of St. John Neumann Catholic Church and School, he continues to serve as the Diocesan Vocation Director, Co-Director of the Office of Worship and Liturgy, and Master of Ceremonies. Fr. Joe has a strong passion for Catholic education and for the Church’s evangelizing mission. He also serves as a Missionary of Mercy.

FR. MICHAEL MAPLES was appointed an associate pastor at St. John Neumann Church in May of 2014. A native of Maryville, Fr. Maples was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Knoxville in 2005. He previously served as associate pastor at Sacred Heart Cathedral in Knoxville and at St. Therese of Lisieux Church in Cleveland. Fr. Maples attended Saint Meinrad School of Theology, as well as the University of Tennessee. He works closely with Msgr. Garrity in providing for the spiritual and sacramental needs of all parishioners.

FR. CHRISTOPHER MANNING was ordained on June 1, 2013. He has a BA in History with a teaching license from Maryville College and a MA in History from the University of Tennessee. He studied six years at Mundelein Seminary, earning a BA in Sacred Theology and a Masters of Divinity. He is currently half-way through the STL program, which is a licentiate in Sacred Theology and is a degree recognized by Rome. Fr. Manning serves as part-time associate pastor at SJN and as the Spiritual Director of Knoxville Catholic High School.

DEACON DON AMELSE was ordained in 1985 and assigned to St, John Neumann in 1987. He has a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting from Loyola University Chicago and a Masters in Pastoral Studies with a concentration in Spirituality from Loyola University New Orleans. He worked as parish bookkeeper from 1988 – 2010 and was involved in Confirmation Preparation from 1988 to 2008. He took a sabbatical from ministry in 2010 to care for his wife Rickie who had ovarian cancer. Shortly after her passing in June 2013, he joined the RCIA team with Sr. Elizabeth. After Mrs. Kidder gave up Confirmation to take care of her three boys, he took up heading the Confirmation Preparation process and will be the keynote speaker at the upcoming Family Retreat. Deacon Don also founded SJN’s Claver Ministries to provide emotional support for care givers.

DEACON AL FORSYTHE was ordained in June 2016.  He received a degree in Urban and Outdoor Recreation and has 28 years of experience in Youth Ministry as the Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministry in the Archdiocese of Newark, New Jersey, prior to coming to East Tennessee 4 ½ years ago. Deacon Al currently serves as the Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministry for the Diocese of Knoxville, as well as the Coordinator of our Parish Youth Ministry.

DEACON MIKE HUMPHREYS was ordained in June 2016.  He attended Minot State University in Minot, North Dakota.  He majored in business mid management and recently attended Roane State Community College to enhance his writing and computer skills.  He retired from Boeing Aerospace and now enjoys his life’s hobby—piano technician.  He is a catechist for Confirmation and is involved in the music ministry and visitation to the sick and aging.  As a deacon, he hopes to continue his service to God, his physical family, his spiritual family at SJN, and to the people of the Diocese of Knoxville.

DEACON JIM LAWSON was ordained May 1, 1982, and has 32 years of parish pastoral experience, 18 years in Knoxville Catholic schools (Sacred Heart and St. Joseph) teaching middle school Religion; MA (72) UNC-CH). In our parish, he will assist at Mass, officiate at sacramental celebrations of Baptism and Matrimony, funeral vigil (wake) and graveside commendation services, and will be teaching 9th grade religious education. Deacon Jim will also assist in facilitating FOCCUS marriage preparation instrument, as well as assist in facilitating annulment petitions. He will support the school’s religious activities, including weekday school Masses, celebration of 1st Friday Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament, the Lenten Stations of the Cross, classroom visitations (at the invitation of individual teachers), and other activities in support of the school’s Religious Studies Department.

DEACON MARK SYLER was ordained in November 1985. He graduated from Wright State University in 1979 with a BA in Urban Studies and a core curriculum in Public Administration. Upon his ordination, he was signed to St. Thomas Parish in Lenoir City, where he served as DRE and religious education teacher, as well as in several ministries, including prison ministry, and on the board of the Lenoir City Crisis Pregnancy Center. He was assigned to SJN in 1988 and since then, has taught religious education, was assistant DRE, made communion visits to the hospital, nursing homes, and private homes, and has given spiritual guide talks on the Sacraments at Cursillo weekends and on the Lord’s Prayer at an RE day retreat. He has presided over enthronements of The Scared Heart of Jesus and is a spiritual director and a mentor to deacon candidates. For the past two years, Deacon Syler and his wife Donna have been caregivers for their two daughters and families during their daughters’ illnesses. They are also caregivers for Deacon Mark’s parents who have lived with them since 2007.

SISTER RESTITUTA NYINOWEITU (Sr. Resty) is a member of the Evangelizing Sisters of Mary Community and has a BA in Missionary Catechesis from Urbanian University in Rome, a BA in Psychology from Alvernia University in Pennsylvania, and a Master’s degree in Pastoral Counseling from Neumann University, also in Pennsylvania. She completed a Residence program in CPE (Clinical Pastoral Education) in Akron, Ohio. Sr. Resty serves as our Pastoral Associate; doing individual and family counseling, working with engaged couples for marriage preparation, and facilitating seminars for marriage enrichment for the various groups. She also assists with the marriage annulment process. She facilitates groups on a variety of topics regarding spiritual and emotional development and healing which profoundly touch the lives of each one of us.

SISTER ELIZABETH W. WANYOIKE is a member of the Evangelizing Sisters of Mary Community and holds a Masters Degree in Religious Sciences from Gregorian University in Rome and a PhD in Religious Studies from the Catholic University of Eastern Africa.  She has had a broad experience in giving seminars and retreats to different groups of adults. Sr. Elizabeth is our Coordinator for Adult Faith Formation, responsible for organizing, coordinating, and facilitating Adult Faith Formation programs. She also coordinates the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) in the parish.

MARILYN DERBYSHIRE received a certificate in Youth Ministry Studies from the Center for Youth Ministry Development and a BA in Theology from Spring Hill College. She has previously held parish positions as Director of Religious Education and Director of Family Life and has taught middle school religion in a Catholic school. Marilyn’s responsibilities at St. John Neumann are to coordinate parish faith formation for children and youth and to coordinate Parish and Family Life.

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