Fr. Tony Steinacker
Father Tony was born to Jim and Mary Steinacker on April 25, 1972, the youngest of six children. He has four brothers, George, Jeffery, Stephen and Andrew, and one sister, Angela who died in February of this year. They have given him six nieces and eight nephews and 3 great nieces and nephews. His parents graduated from Central Catholic High School in 1951 and were married June 1, 1957, at his mother’s home parish, St. Peter’s in Fort Wayne. Jim and Mary sacrificed in many ways to provide a Catholic education for all six of their children. Their love for family and the Church inspired all family members to live their lives as best they could in accordance with God’s will and the teachings of the Church. Fr. Tony’s dad died in 2010 and currently his mom resides at St. Anne’s Home in Fort Wayne.
Father Tony believes his vocation began at an early age. He remembers considering the priesthood as an altar server in fourth grade. Priests have been very influential in his life. His uncle, Father Adam Schmitt, who is now retired but helps out at many parishes in Fort Wayne, “was a wonderful example of what it means to be a Faithful and holy priest. Just having him being close to our family led me to consider being a priest. He planted the seed which encouraged me to pursue the calling.”
Father Tony attended St. John the Baptist elementary school and Bishop Luers High School. He played football, basketball and track as a freshman. After his freshman year he realized that he needed to work at more than just his paper route so he got a job in the produce department at Scott’s Supermarket. He was active in the Key Club and Future Business Leaders of America. He graduated from Luers in 1991 and went to work full time at Scott’s and was assistant manager at one of the stores. He worked there until the summer of 1997.
Father Tony started at Ivy Tech in 1992 while working full time and received a two-year business degree. Although he had a good job, many friends and good relationships, he felt as if something was still missing; he had a true lack of fulfillment. He left his job and started to attend daily Mass and the Sacraments. He spent much time in the Adoration Chapel praying and asking God what he should be doing. He attended a couple of Andrew Dinners for men thinking about the priesthood. Then on November 30, 1996, he attended Father Mark Gurtner’s ordination, and that day he made the final decision to be a priest.
He started at St. John’s Seminary College in Boston in August of 1997. Although in the seminary his activities were somewhat limited to religious studies, religious service and the ministry, he did find time to play intramural football and basketball at Boston College.
Father Tony graduated with a major in philosophy and minors in sociology and psychology in May of 2001. While still in Boston, he started his Theology studies and then he attended Pontifical College Josephinum in Columbus, Ohio, to complete his Theology degree. While there, he was ordained a transitional deacon on January 8, 2005. He finished his studies in May of 2006 and was then assigned to St. Charles Borromeo in Fort Wayne as a deacon and was ordained to the priesthood October 28, 2006.
As Parochial Vicar at St. Charles, Father Tony’s responsibilities included serving the religious needs of the parish as an assistant to Monsignor John Suelzer. Father Tony was actively involved in several committees and was available for the teachers at Bishop Dwenger High School. He taught eighth grade morality religion one day a week and seventh grade Confirmation class one day a week. In June of 2012, Father Tony became pastor of St. John the Evangelist, Goshen, Indiana. There he assisted the parish in many ways to unite their English and Spanish communities and improve the recognition of the school in the community. He looks forward to helping with religious education and school students here at SS. Peter and Paul.
For relaxation Father Tony likes to be outdoors, grilling out and working in the garden.
Father Tony has always enjoyed being helpful to others; he now likes being able to serve the people of SS. Peter and Paul. He looks forward to getting to know our parish and the Huntington area. For him, it is a true privilege to be part of people’s lives and he enjoys being with them.
To those who are considering a vocation, Father Tony suggests: “Pray each day to Our Lord that He gives you the strength and the courage to follow His commandments and to do His will.” He recalls what a priest said to him about five years before he was ordained, and that is “pray for the love of your life.” When we do that, we’re asking God to lead us to the love that He wants for us. What better thing could we do with our lives!