Hello everyone! My name is Father Joe Detwiler, and I am the new associate pastor here at Queen of All Saints. I would really like it if you call me, "Fr Detwiler," in case you were wondering. I am especially excited to be a new priest here because this is my home parish. I grew up here, and went to grade school at our school, and graduated in 2007. Following grade school I attended De Smet Jesuit high school. I encountered the Lord in a very deep way in high school, and in the summer before my senior year had plans to enter the seminary after high school. However, we all know things don't turn out exactly like we thought, and my story is no different. On July 4, 2010, while at some family property in St. James, Missouri, my younger sister Cecilia and I lost control of our car and hit a tree at around 40 miles per hour. We both suffered very severe injuries, and it was doubtful if we would both survive. When we were helicoptered into St. Louis, my sister had major surgeries in the first few weeks to repair her legs, and I was placed in a medically induced coma, among many other surgeries. I would actually end up in the coma for about 74 days, with not much brain activity for most of that time. On day 74, doctors took the trach tube out of my throat. Even though this was a good sign, my parents were assured that if I ever speak again, it was certainly not going to be for "many months." Providentially, after the surgery there was a Jesuit Scholastic from my high school spending time with me in my room and praying liturgy of the hours. At a certain part of the prayer, he said from his chair, "Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit....." Then, oddly enough, I whispered, "As it was in the beginning is now, and will be forever. Amen." I was able to say complete words and sentences, and to finish a prayer, which no one would have ever predicted. The other amazing part of this story is that this experience occurred just 6 hours after the surgery where my trach was taken out.
From this point on, recovery began to progress rapidly, and I was discharged after 117 days in the hospital on October 28. This date is also providential because this is the feast day of St. Jude, the patron saint of lost causes. My family and friends had actually been praying for his intercession since the early days when it was not looking like I was going to make it. After I graduated De Smet, I attended Meremac Community college for a year, then I was able to enter Cardinal Glennon College Seminary in Shrewsbury. I spent 4 years in college seminary, then I attended Kenrick School of Theology for 2 years. After 2 years I spent a year on a Pastoral internship at Our Lady of Lourdes in Washington, MO. I had such a great experience there, and much of my time was spent in the school, teaching, eating lunch, and going to recess. For the first time in my life, I was the fastest one at recess!
Anyways, I am so happy to be assigned as a priest at the parish where I grew up, and I look forward to being a part of the school on a regular basis. God has been so generous in calling me to this vocation, and I am excited to see what He has planned for me. Although I have already spent so much time here, I am confident that the Lord always has something new in store for me. Thank you, and I look forward to meeting you!