Fr. Joe Merkt
Title: 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
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
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
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).
Stoking the Fire Mini-Sabbatical for Priests