Monday, January 24, 2022

Diocesan priest and former Air Force chaplain celebrates 25th anniversary

Must Read

Local Pro-Life Activists Continue the Fight for Women and the Unborn: “Our state suffers because of these terrible, terrible policies.”

“One young woman said 'why do you do this in the middle of January?' I said 'I didn’t pick the date - the Supreme Court did.'"

Called to “Radical Self-Giving”: How One Family Lives Out the Church’s Teaching on Family

"This lifestyle fulfills that essential Christian mission of being radically generous with our lives."

Fr. Cormac’s Navajo Legacy

By Martin Link Ever since Fr. Cormac Antram, OFM, came to Navajo Country in 1954, shortly after he was ordained,...
Suzanne Hammons
Suzanne Hammons is the editor of the Voice of the Southwest and the media coordinator for the Diocese of Gallup. A graduate of Benedictine College in Kansas, she joined the Diocesan staff in 2012.

Service to others is something that people often think to do in passing, or perhaps in their free time. For Father Patrick Wedeking, it’s a way of life. In his 25 years as a priest of the Diocese of Gallup, he’s lived and worked in many places – up north in Farmington with the Knight of Columbus, in Gallup, and far down at the south end of the Diocese, in the vast and beautiful area which includes town such as Reserve, Datil, and Glenwood.

Along with his standard duties, he also gave 34 years of service to the United States Air Force, fulfilling the duties of a chaplain for the reserves until his recent retirement. In fact, his time in the military began long before he entered seminary at Holy Apostles in Connecticut, and it was while he enlisted that he began to consider a call to the priesthood.

Fr. Wedeking during his service in the Air Force.
Fr. Wedeking during his service in the Air Force.

“It really goes back to the Air Force,” Fr. Wedeking says. “I began to help the chaplains there, and saw their work.”
Originally from Kansas, Fr. Wedeking had a friend who was a priest in the Diocese of Gallup. He decided that this was where he wanted to be, and after being ordained, he balanced service to the people of the United States with service to the people of the southwest. Each assignment enhanced the other.

“Along with Masses and Confessions [in the Air Force], there’s a lot of counseling and visitation,” said Fr. Wedeking. “You never know who you’ll counsel. Here, [in the Diocese] my experience counseling soldiers helps because I’ve learned how to ‘plant the seed’. Many times, people aren’t going to come to you. You have to go to them. Maybe they have excess baggage of some kind that keeps them from going to church. You have to have patience and be hopeful.”

He recalls one encounter with a man in Reserve while serving as the pastor.

“I did a lot of maintenance around the church. One time, while I was outside working, I met a nearby neighbor. We got to talking, and he turned out to be an inactive Catholic.” Fr. Wedeking said that this was an example to him of people who might be in need of someone to listen to them, and a reminder to always be helpful and patient in his encounters with people inside and outside church life.

Currently, Fr. Wedeking is stationed in Catron county, New Mexico, in the southern part of the Diocese. While beautiful – it is home to the Gila National Forest – it is also remote, and Fr. Wedeking says that his goals for the future include learning about the people who make their home there.

“I really want to reach out to people in the area,” he says. “Families are very sparse, so I’d like to update a census – find out where people are and what they need.”

Although his military years are behind him, Fr. Wedeking still has much he hopes to do for the people encounters everyday as a priest. And as he’s always done, he will continue to “plant the seed”.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Latest News

Friday News Briefs: Check out these rallies and marches for life near you!

Plus: V8s for Vocation raffle tickets available for a 1969 Pontiac GTO!


Other recent stories:

Diocese Adds 11 New Names to List of Credibly Accused Clergy

The new names are also included on lists from the Franciscan Province of St. John the Baptist and the Dioceses of Lafayette and Alexandria.

“My Faith Has Sustained Me”: Kathleen Bowman, Anti-Death Penalty Activist and Navajo Nation Public Defender

Bowman, educated at St. Michaels Indian School, sees no conflict between her Catholic faith and Navajo traditions.

Friday News Briefs: Fall Fiestas and Fundraisers Around the Diocese!

All the latest on fall fiestas, rosary rallies, AZ family conference, school golf fundraiser, and more!

AZ Bishops Urge Support for Hyde Amendment, Which Prevents Broad Federal Funding for Abortion

Preserving the Hyde Amendment and Protecting the Vulnerable


More Articles Like This