Special to The PREVIEW
On Sunday, the people of St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church will help their rector, Rev. Doug Neel, celebrate the 30th anniversary of his ordination into the priesthood. The church will have a reception following the 10 a.m. Sunday service at which time they will present new vestments to the church in his honor.
Fr. Neel attended Nashotah House Episcopal Seminary in southeast Wisconsin near Milwaukee, where he graduated cum laude in 1983. Upon his graduation, he moved to Dallas, where he served as a curate at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church and was ordained a deacon. On May 15, 1984, he was ordained into the priesthood by Rt. Rev. Donis D. Patterson, bishop of Dallas.
“The service of my ordination was absolutely beautiful,” says Neel. “Many of my friends came to participate in the service and the music and liturgy were spectacular. We had a wonderful choir, pipe organ and a brass choir that provided glorious music. My family, including my 90-year-old grandmother, all came to be there to celebrate with me. I’ll never forget it.”
Since that time, Neel has enjoyed the opportunity of serving a number of large and small parishes, including St. Luke’s Episcopal-Dallas, Trinity Church-Carrollton, Texas; Church of the Transfiguration-Dallas; Holy Trinity by the Lake Episcopal Church-Rockwall, Texas; Church of the Annunciation-Lewisville, Texas; and now St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church in Pagosa Springs.
“Every parish has a unique personality, special gifts and talents that come to the surface. Four of the parishes had private schools affiliated with them that took a great deal of energy to maintain. Some were very family-centered with lots of kids, while others had older congregations. But the journey has been one that has been filled to the brim with wonderful people. So many important relationships have been formed over the years. There have been many weddings, births, baptisms, graduations, anniversaries and funerals — celebrations that involve family and community. Really, no amount of seminary training could prepare me for the highs and lows that have all been a part of this journey. But I treasure it all. The journey has brought me here, to this place, a community that I truly love and respect for their ministry and friendship. I am blessed, indeed.”
The community is invited to attend the reception at 11:30 a.m., following the morning service of Holy Communion.