Roseville priest heads 2 parishes, embracing the joys and sorrows of each


courtesy of Melissa Nault Fr. Marc Paveglio was ordained in 2014 and divides his time between Saint Rose of Lima, Corpus Christi and his home in St. Paul, where he lives with four other priests.

photos courtesy of Moose Giannetti/Church of Corpus Christi Paveglio and Deacon Glenn Skuta elevate the Eucharist, bread and wine that in the Catholic tradition are consecrated into the body and blood of Christ.

Paveglio talks with parishioners at Corpus Christi; half the size of Saint Rose of Lima, Corpus Christi hosts around 400 people every weekend.

Each Sunday, Fr. Marc Paveglio rushes to get from the 9 a.m. Mass at Saint Rose of Lima to the 10:30 a.m. Mass at Corpus Christi. 

Hunched over the steering wheel in his emerald vestments, he stares down one of his arch nemeses, the traffic light at County Road B and Snelling Avenue. 

“I’m always trying to beat that red light!” he jokes. “[The churches] are just a mile apart. If you hit all the green lights, you can get there in literally 90 seconds.”

The Roseville Catholic churches are “clustered” — meaning they share the same priest — resulting in the 34-year-old doing a lot of driving around in his Sunday best. 

Although he could now probably make the trip between the two blindfolded — he doesn’t — he took over the dual role just eight months ago from the retired Fr. Robert Fitzpatrick, who was pastor at both churches for half a decade.

While the churches share an emphasis on outreach and tend to attract many young families, the topics on which each parish focuses when planning service projects and seminars can vary greatly. Corpus Christi hosts about 400 people each weekend; Saint Rose is about twice as big.

Liz Russell, communications coordinator at Corpus Christi, notes that it’s been important to both priests to respect and preserve the unique characters of both churches. Each parish continues to plan its own youth programs and community events, while combining adult education classes, which traditionally have had lower attendance.

 

The road to Roseville

Before he came to know the county roads of Roseville like the back of his hand, it was a chance encounter that brought Paveglio to Minnesota. After meeting a member of the Companions of Christ, a fraternity of local diocesan priests, he left his home state of Pennsylvania and moved in with the group in St. Paul. 

“It was clear that God was saying, ‘I want you to serve as a priest here,’” says Paveglio. “And my heart was really full of joy and excitement. Which was strange, because I have no connection to Minnesota.”

The joy and support that have come with being in the fraternity have helped Paveglio take on the dual role. He also emphasizes that the strong faith and openness of his parishioners have kept him inspired.

“I think to be a pastor, one of the most important things is spiritual vision,” he says. “Are my eyes open to see the presence of God in this people?”

With wonder, he recalls one woman who would come to pray in Saint Rose’s chapel every Monday at 1 a.m., even into her 90s. Paveglio say stories like this help him continue to know Christ through others. 

 

Keeping the faith

As a priest, Paveglio has the privilege of walking with his parishioners along the entire spectrum of the human experience, of intimately sharing their joys and sorrows. 

In the midst of the Catholic Church’s ongoing battle against sexual abuse by clergy members, this close relationship has come with the responsibility of reckoning with issues within the church. 

“We as Christians can be tempted to say, ‘When are we finally going to move past this?’” Paveglio says. “But sometimes that can just be a way to prevent us from really sharing the pain and the grief of those who have suffered. God calls us to not shy away from suffering.”

Through the years, Paveglio has watched Catholics not only leave the church, but lose their faith in the wake of the scandals. In addressing the abuse head-on in his homilies, he has tried to help people heal within the faith community. 

“If people haven’t been coming to Saint Rose for whatever reason, I think they need to come see him,” says Sean Slaikeu, principal of Saint Rose Catholic School. He describes Paveglio’s sermons as lively and relatable. “Come and see what his Masses are like and hear his homilies.”

In addition to being open with his parishioners, Paveglio has made an effort to be present. Russell and Slaikeu both say that he frequently attends each parishes’s community events, youth programs and service days. 

Asked about the future of each church — both were founded in 1939 — Paveglio describes a vibrant, joyful atmosphere. He talks frequently about the Holy Spirit and the life that it offers as it moves through a parish and into the community — in his case, two separate, yet connected churches.

 

–Bridget Kranz can be reached at roseville@lillienews.com.

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