Father Jordan: ‘Signs for Priesthood Were Always There’

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Father Jordan: ‘Signs for Priesthood Were Always There’

Adison Karbon, Staff Writer, Advanced Journalism

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Notre Dame Academy is excited to welcome new staff member Fr. Jordan Neeck, teacher of classes Introduction to Catholicism, Hebrew Scripture and Christian Lifestyles. 

Neeck grew up in the small town of Phillips, Wisconsin, where he worked in concrete, operated heavy equipment and debatched at his family’s construction company. 

I had to calculate weights and measures for mixing the concrete into the concrete mixers/trucks,” said Neeck.

After attending Phillips High School, he studied accounting at St. Norbert College. During his time there, the company was sold, so he spent his summers at the airport. 

There I cut grass, lots of grass, and refueled planes,” he said.

Also, around this time, he became interested in the priesthood even though “the signs for priesthood were always there when I reflect back on my life,” he said. 

His earliest memory of his calling was in the third grade when the parish priest told the class one of their classmates wanted to be a priest. 

“It wasn’t me, but everyone in my class looked at me,” he said.

Years later, he began to take this into consideration. 

“I became attracted to priesthood when I was at St. Norbert College and seeing how the Norbertine priests served on the college campus to students was a beautiful witness of ministry, but also how they ministered to one another as brothers. 

“That is when I had an inkling that I wanted to be a Norbertine priest, but it wasn’t until I started working in finance and just had an empty feeling that I wasn’t reaching my full potential,” said Neeck. 

The pivotal moment he remembers was Holy Thursday 2013, when his parish priest washed the feet of the congregation. 

“I was kneeling in the pew.  I broke down and wept,” said Neeck, “Tears flowed from my eyes, and I realized that was who God was calling me to be… a priest.”

During his years as a seminarian he helped in the grade school Our Lady of Lourdes in De Pere and brought prayer services and scripture reflection to the inmates of the Green Bay Correctional Institution. 

He also served as a deacon and assistant youth minister at Old St. Patrick’s Church in Chicago.

His calling to be a teacher was not as lifelong as his desire for the priesthood. 

Perhaps the most authentic answer is… when I was told by Abbot Dane that teaching would be my ministry… that’s when I knew I would be a teacher,” he said.

Despite the challenge of learning to adapt to the new environment and ministry of NDA, the students have made it worthwhile. 

“The enthusiasm to learn, to grow and to fall in love with God is a joy for me as both a priest and teacher,” said Neeck.

Outside of school and the priesthood he has run several marathons, including the 123rd Boston Marathon this past spring. He also helps out with Paul and Carrie Miller’s OnPace Race company throughout Wisconsin and is involved with the NDA cross-country. 

“It is wonderful to run with such a great team!” he said.

He also hopes to continue his two-year-old passion of bow hunting this upcoming fall.

In 20 years, he does not know where he will be, but he hopes to “be a joyful priest who loves God and loves the people of God. 

“It would be wonderful to still be at NDA, but I do not know where God will call me,” said Neeck.

 

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