Story by S.L. Hansen
FALLS CITY (SNR) - Father Kenneth Hoesing was recently named dean of the Falls City Deanery by Bishop James D. Conley. He retains his roles as pastor of St. Mary Parish in Dawson and its mission parish, St. Anne in Shubert, and also as teacher at Sacred Heart School in Falls City.
Father Hoesing grew up in Newcastle, Neb., which lies in the northeastern corner of the state. He attended St. Peter Parish there before attending the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in English.
Then he realized something – or Someone – was tugging at his heart.
“I was just noticing other guys my age going into seminary,” he said. “I wondered if I was missing something.”
As it was 1992, the diocese was undergoing a change of leadership. Bishop Glennon Flavin was retiring, and Bishop Fabian W. Bruskewitz was newly ordained.
“I met with both of them,” Father Hoesing remembered.
He completed his minor seminary work at the Oratory of St. Philip Neri in Toronto, then graduated from St. Joseph Seminary in Yonkers, N. Y. In 1997, Father Hoesing was ordained by Bishop Bruskewitz.
Since then, he has served as a parish priest and schoolteacher for the diocese: “Teaching and administration,” he summarized.
Both skill sets are necessary for the diocesan deans.
A dean oversees a deanery, or subdivision of a given diocese, at his bishop’s request. Deaneries are small groups of parishes, typically in a close geographic region.
In a diocese that covers as many acres as the Diocese of Lincoln, deaneries are important. The deans assist the priests in their deanery in various ways, “kind of like their vicar,” Father Hoesing explained.
He may also notice a change in his mailbox. The role of dean means two initials will be placed after his name, “V.F.” That stands for “vicar forane,” from the Latin title for a dean. He will also be addressed in writing as “Very Reverend” instead of “Reverend.”
When he formally becomes dean June 15, Father Hoesing will have five other priests to assist in his deanery, which covers 11 parishes and Sacred Heart School. Among his duties will be arranging and leading deanery days, which are held four times a year. On deanery days, the priests in each deanery gather to receive specific information and teaching from the bishop’s office.
Father Hoesing has been in the Falls City deanery for nine years, so he’s very familiar with the area. He’ll be visiting parishes and priests throughout the deanery as part of his new responsibility.
He’s ready to welcome Father Thomas Dunavan, who is taking over Ss. Peter and Paul Parish and Sacred Heart School for the retiring Msgr. Robert Roh, and Father Craig Clinch, the new pastor for St. Andrew Parish in Tecumseh.
“That’s a big first assignment (for Father Clinch, his first assignment as pastor), and Father Dunavan is taking on a K-12 school and a huge parish,” Father Hoesing noted. “I’ll support them, make sure they are okay.”
He recalled being able to meet with his predecessor, Msgr. Roh, quite regularly.
“I was with him at school every day. If I needed him, he’s always been in the same place I was,” Father Hoesing said.