Father Jack Overmyer
Appointed by Bishop John Michael D'Arcy as the thirteenth pastor in 2005.
The following is from Today's Catholic by Mark Weber:
When he was a boy, Jack Overmyer’s parents often told him and his brothers and sisters that if any of them were blessed with a religious vocation, they, as parents, would be proud and happy.
Each time Jack heard this, he thought, “Please, God ... call one of them, not me!”
As time went by it seemed that those silent prayers had been answered in Jack’s favor. He was happy at Leo High School and then at Purdue University; and when his feet first found the circuitous path, which would take him to the priesthood, it was because he was at the cusp of proposing to his girlfriend of four years. They had also decided that as a couple and potential parents, they should take a deeper look at their faith and their responsibilities as parents.
In response to this, Jack became involved with the RCIA at St. Thomas Aquinas Parish in West Lafayette and sponsored a young man who was seeking to be baptized.
Jack’s taste of the faith gave him an extreme hunger for more, taking him to the point where he considered the possibility that maybe doing “Church stuff” full time might not be such a bad life. Within two years, partially due to Jack’s constant excited talk about how much he liked what he was doing at St. Thomas, he and his girlfriend broke up. Was God calling him to be a priest? Some family members heard him talking this way, and believed he was not hearing a call from God, but was merely over reacting to the break up.
After he had graduated with a degree in electrical engineering, he began working as a software engineer, and was seriously interested in another woman, Becky, a non-Catholic coworker, who was a strong nondenominational Christian.
Together, they had extensive discussions about religion, their relationship, and the undertow that was pulling Jack toward priesthood.
One day they had an epiphany. On the very same day they announced to each other that they had the answer to their problem. Independently, each had arrived at the same conclusion; Jack should enter the seminary. If it were not
right for him, he would hate it, get out, and get married.
That didn’t happen. Jack loved his new life and was ordained as a priest by Bishop John M. D’Arcy on Nov. 29, 1997.
Becky ultimately became a Catholic after marrying another strong Catholic man, and Jack has had the opportunity to baptize two of her children.
Today, Father Jack Overmyer is resident chaplain at Saint Anne Home and Retirement Community in Fort Wayne.
He finds great satisfaction in his work there and is especially impressed by the interwoven love of the staff and residents, displayed in many ways but daily expressed when a nurse or aid is kneeling on the ground caring for the feet or
leg of a patient, the time taken by many staff to sit down and comfort an upset resident, or encourage one another.
Jack Overmyer, the boy who prayed, “God, don’t make me a priest,” is now thankful that somehow, God helped him to hear his call to become a priest and is extremely grateful that God did ask him.