Saint Meinrad Seminary & School of Theology

Formation and Education for the Life of the Church

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Fr. Joe Merkt


Head shot of Fr. Joe MerktTitle: Institute for Priests and Presbyterates Sabbatical Facilitator

Father Joe Merkt, a priest of the Archdiocese of Louisville, serves as the facilitator for "Stoking the Fire."

Fifty years ago, Father Merkt was in Rome during the Second Vatican Council. As a seminarian, he worked in the afternoons as a "gofer" in the U.S. Bishops' Press Office in Rome. He assisted as reports on the daily session were being prepared for the U.S. Bishops. He was present for the second, third and fourth sessions of the council.

Father Merkt is the author of the recently published book, Why Lay Ministry Formation? A Resource for the Inquiring. This little book is packed with help for diocesan and parish leaders in their recruitment of and support for outstanding parish ministry volunteers.

In addition to his pastoral responsibilities, Father Merkt has spent the past 30 years working with formation of laity in Catholic education and in parish ministry. He believes that those called to lay ministry "are faith-filled people who need help and encouragement to foster their faith, knowledge and skills. With such formation they will contribute strongly to the New Evangelization."

As a priest of the Archdiocese of Louisville, Father Merkt received encouragement and support to earn a Master of Arts degree in teaching from the University of Louisville and a pontifical doctoral of sacred theology from The Catholic University of America.

Father Merkt has worked as director of Ministry Studies Programs at Spalding University in Louisville, KY, and at Brescia University in Owensboro, KY. He was instrumental in the development of the first common competency standards for the national certification of lay ministers. He has served on the board of the National Association of Lay Ministers (NALM).

Program Facilitator: Stoking the Fire Mini-Sabbatical for Priests