New pastor says Wayne is 'a great place' to be
A month into his new 'job' Fr. Jeff Mollner says "Everyone has been wonderful and helpful and it has been an exciting time."
Fr. Mollner began his duties as pastor of St. Mary's Catholic Church in Wayne on July 1 and said his first month has been a good transition.
Fr. Mollner was born and raised in Omaha, graduating from Creighton Prep High School. From there he went to Rockhurst University in Kansas City, Mo. He earned a bachelor's degree in biology and spent several years working at Creighton University as a lab tech.
"I didn't consider the priesthood seriously until after I graduated from college. I had thought about it before, but not really very seriously," he said.
He then enrolled in The Pontificial College Josephinum in Columbus, Ohio to study philosophy. He studied theology at Mt. Angel Seminary in St. Benedict, Ore. for four years before being ordained June 7, 2008.
"After ordination, I served three years as an associate pastor at St. Margaret Mary parish in Omaha. Then I was re-assigned to Skutt Catholic High School as chaplain and teacher," Fr. Mollner said.
He taught religion classes as well as biology and chemistry classes. In addition, he served as a freshman football coach.
When the archdiocese of Omaha made the decision to have former St. Mary's pastor, Fr. Mark Beran, take a position as Director of St. Augustine Indian Mission in Winnebago, Fr. Mollner was contacted about becoming the pastor here in Wayne.
"I was interested in coming to Wayne for several reasons. I visited with Fr. Beran, who spoke highly of the church and community. I was excited by the fact that there is both an elementary school and college in the community. Also, becoming a pastor is the next logical step in my priesthood," Fr. Mollner said.
Fr. Mollner noted that the parish has had a number of personnel changes in the last several months, including the addition of a principal for the first time at St. Mary's Elementary School, and all are working through the transition.
"I am really looking forward to meeting both the students at the elementary school and the college students. This is a very great place and I am happy to be here," he said.
Fr. Mollner's parents live in Omaha. He also has two brothers, two sisters, two nieces and a nephew.
In his spare time he enjoys reading, movies and "really likes sports – especially the Kansas City Royals and Kansas City Chiefs."