Fr. Mike Rieder
Pastor (since June 25, 2014)
The 8th of 9 children, and a twin (not identical) I have great memories of a loving, fun, go to church on Sunday family. My childhood education is a mix of Catholic (6 years) and then public school. Both experiences were very enjoyable and valuable.
My journey to the priesthood was kind of “the scenic route” – changing majors in college a couple of times and even taking some time off to figure out what God wanted and if I would go along. I finally got a degree from Cathedral College Seminary in Douglaston and then was ordained in 1994 after completing studies at Immaculate Conception Seminary in Huntington.
For me, priesthood is a series of adventures. Mine include an invitation by a lifelong friend, Deacon Ricardo, to go to Guatemala and study Spanish with him. He also invited me to sponsor a child through the organization now known as Unbound where I currently work as a preacher inviting people to join in the work of sponsorship.
Some priests get sent to Rome for further studies. In 2003, I got sent back to high school, spending 6 years as the chaplain of McGann-Mercy High School in Riverhead. I learned a lot more in my second trip through high school – mostly about God’s mercy being shown through our works of mercy. While there, I was kind of a roaming priest on weekends – helping in almost every parish on the East End where I met some amazing priests and people.
After my second stint in high school, I was asked to be the pastor of St Therese of Lisieux Parish in Montauk – another adventure of meeting great people. This time they travelled to me. We had summer parishioners from everywhere!
When I was first asked to come to St Joseph Parish, I was a little intimidated by the size of the community – more than ten times the size of my parish in Montauk. But I am learning that, when I let God have control, I still go on the scenic route through life, but the adventure God takes me on is amazing. The latest adventure came a few years ago with an invitation to celebrate mass monthly in Suffolk County Jail in Yaphank.
It definitely has been the scenic route all along the way. It gives me great joy that God’s chosen path for me has brought me St Joseph Parish where we get to share the adventures of Christian Discipleship.