Year for Priests Profiles: Father John Spiegel

Fr. Spiegel

Name: Father John Spiegel

Age: 59

Years ordained: 33

Current assignment: Pastor at St. Patrick Parish, Ottumwa, and St. Mary Magdalen Parish, Bloomfield.


How did you know you were being called to priesthood? I suppose because I kept doing those things one would do to move in that direction and things just continued to move forward. I don’t remember one particular day when I said, “This is what I’m going to do.” My three older brothers had pursued different programs that related to ministry — my oldest brother, Dick, had taken temporary religious vows and my other two brothers, Bob and Tom, were in college in the seminary setting at St. Ambrose. My brother Bob was ordained in 1966 and Tom in 1967 and I graduated from high school in 1968. 

Aside from your ordination Mass in 1976, what has been your most memorable Mass? Probably the funeral of my mother. That would have been in October 1993. I think it was a Mass with a great deal of hope, knowing the peace and faith commitment she witnessed to prior to her death.  

What is most rewarding about being a priest? I would say sharing in the lives of people.

What is most challenging about being a priest? That you share in aspects of people’s lives that are events of great challenge as well as events of great joy.

What is your favorite Scripture passage? It would be the story where Jesus meets the fellow in the graveyard, a person who is demented. The fellow is afflicted in such a way that he cannot be with people and would harm himself, so he is bound. Jesus frees him from that state, to again be received into a community. The fellow thinks he might like to follow Jesus. But Jesus says no, go home and share with your family what has happened to you.

What is your hobby? Golf. Maybe it used to be tennis when I was younger and running. I do enjoy walking and things like that now. I’ve run two marathons and scored two holes in one.

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