Meet the Staff

Photo of St. Stephen's Pastor, Fr. Jack LongFr. Jack Long, Pastor

763-421-2471

 

Fr. Jack was born in Minneapolis and shortly thereafter moved to Osseo where he attended St. Vincent de Paul. (They say a priest can never go home but he did and it worked.) He attended the school in first and second grade, then his family moved to Golden Valley where he attended St. Margaret Mary third to eighth grade. After eighth grade his parents moved to Southwest Minneapolis where he attended Southwest High School. He has a fondness for that part of the city especially lakes Harriet and Calhoun. He then went on to the University of Minnesota and earned his BS degree in elementary education. He believes he's a bigger Gopher fan than Father Mike any day.

 

Right after he graduated he entered the St. Paul Seminary and was ordained June 3, 1978.   In 1978, right before his ordination, he made his first visit to St. Stephen’s to lunch with the then parochial vicar Father Tom Krenik. He came up here and got a tour and met for the very first time Father Karl Wittman, the then pastor of St. Stephen’s.

 

After ordination, he served as a parochial vicar at St. Peter’s in North St. Paul for four years and then moved to the neighboring parish, Guardian Angels, and served there for five years. During those years he was assigned part time at Hill Murray High School in Maplewood. In 1986, he went on Sabbatical and attended Seton Hall in New Jersey. There he studied administration with an emphasis on parish ministry. He came back to St. Paul and was assigned teaching full time at St. Thomas Academy in Mendota Heights. For four years he taught senior religion. He used all he learned as an elementary teacher and found out it works. After St. Thomas he started his career as a pastor. He was assigned in 1991 to the Church of St. Joseph in Hopkins and spent 11 happy years there. He was asked to move to St. Vincent de Paul in 2001. He served there for 12 years. And now he's all ours. He looks forward to meeting you and working with you in proclaiming the Good News of Christ.

 

 

Photo of Fr. Evan KoopFr. Evan Koop, Associate Pastor

763-421-2471

 

Fr. Evan Koop was ordained to the priesthood May 26, 2012 and was appointed as Associate Pastor of St. Stephen’s Church June 15, 2012. He graduated with a Master of Arts in Theology degree (M.A.T.) and a Master of Divinity degree (M.Div.), both from the University of St. Thomas in spring, 2012.

 

Fr. Evan is the son of Dr. Steven and Debra Koop of Woodbury. Fr. Evan is the youngest of four children. He has two older brothers, Brendan and Colin, and an older sister Allison, all married.

 

Fr. Evan double-majored in history and biology at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, and earned a B.A. degree in 2004 . After a two-year stretch as a FOCUS (Fellowship of Catholic University Students) missionary, he resumed his studies at the St. Paul Seminary (SPS) School of Divinity, a division of the University of St. Thomas (UST). After he completed the pre-theology program, he spent the next four years, 2008 to 2012, at SPS, and he was awarded a Master of Arts in Theology degree (M.A.T.) with a specialization in Church history, and a Master of Divinity degree (M.Div.), both from UST in spring, 2012.

 

Deacon Evan spent the summer of 2011 with Fr. Greg Schafer at the Archdiocesan mission, Jesucristo Resucitado, in Venezuela. As a newly-ordained deacon, he assisted at Mass, preached, presided for Baptisms, and made sick calls and home visits – all totally immersed in Spanish.

 

Fr. Evan’s mother grew up on a family farm in New Richland, Minnesota, and he enjoys going back to the farm, spending time in the great outdoors, and helping with the chores. He also enjoys playing and watching golf and basketball, and he is an avid reader, particularly historical novels, and he has a large personal collection of books that cover a wide range of topics

 

 

Photo of Fr. Joah EllisFr. Joah Ellis, Associate Pastor

763-421-2471

 

Father Joah Ellis was ordained a priest on May 25, 2013. He is the son of Daniel and Carrie Ellis, and was raised in Blaine, MN. He has four younger siblings—two brothers and two sisters. Although his family has since moved to Saint Cloud, the Church of the Epiphany in Coon Rapids continues to be his home parish. Because he was home schooled for much of his elementary education and all of his high school years, he had many opportunities to be an altar server at Mass, even during the week. He enjoyed being an altar server, and through it began to consider the possibility that God was calling him to be a priest. It allowed him to get to know his parish priests, who further inspired him and helped him hear God’s call.


In both elementary school and high school, Father Joah played softball in the local recreational league. He also learned to play piano and saxophone, and sang in a choir for a few years as well. After his high school graduation, he spent the summer working for the Anoka County Parks and Recreation Department, then entered Saint John Vianney College Seminary at the University of Saint Thomas. There he studied philosophy, Catholic Studies, and computer science, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 2009. That same year he continued his formation at the Saint Paul Seminary, earning his Master of Divinity degree in 2013. During his time in seminary, he spent a summer as a hospital chaplain intern at Resurrection Medical Center in Chicago. He spent another summer in Guadalajara, Mexico learning Spanish. His teaching parish was the Church of Saint Timothy in Maple Lake, MN, and as a deacon he was assigned to Saint Vincent de Paul in Brooklyn Park/Osseo.


In his spare time, Father Joah enjoys bicycling, reading, and making music. He also likes to spend time with family and friends, especially playing board games or card games. Trying different kinds of tea and following the Twins are also among his hobbies.

 

 

 

Deacon Ramon GarciaDeacon Ramón García, Hispanic Ministry Coordinator EMAIL

763-712-7482

 

Prior to his assignment at St. Stephen, Ramón was a consultant for Hispanic Ministry for the entire Archdiocese, and he has worked extensively on family retreats, Marriage Encounter, Provida (pro-life), natural family planning, and domestic violence support groups.  As people observed Ramón’s faith, dedication, and talent, a number suggested that he become a permanent deacon.  Ramón heard God’s call through them and took the classes from 2004 to 2008. He was ordained to the permanent diaconate by Archbishop John C. Nienstedt on September 27, 2008, and assigned to St. Stephen’s in Anoka.   

 

Ramón and his wife Suzanne married in 1997 and have been blessed with two children, a son and a daughter.  Ramón and Suzanne are partners in Hispanic Ministry at St. Stephen’s Catholic Church.  They coordinate the Mass in Spanish celebrated each Sunday at 12:30 p.m. as well as preparing Spanish speaking families for the celebration of sacraments and quinceañeras, leading bible study in Spanish, making pastoral visits to those in need and more.

 

 


Jay GishJay Gish, Parish Administrator EMAIL

763-712-7434

 

Jay became the Parish Administrator in September 2007.  Prior to joining St. Stephen’s, he worked 23 years as an Operations Manager in the textile supply industry, most recently as the Corporate General Manager for a company based in the Midwest. 

 

In Jay's role as Parish Administrator, he represents the Pastor in and has oversight for all the business affairs for the parish and school. The department heads for Administration, Accounting, Pastoral Care, Worship, and Faith Formation report to Jay. 

 

Jay earned his B.A. Degree in biblical studies at North Central University. He enjoys spending time at the lake cabin fishing and is an avid sports fan.

 

 

Lynne PinewskiLynne Pinewski, Business Manager/Controller EMAIL

763-712-7472

 

Lynne holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting with responsibilities to manage the general accounting functions for the parish and school which include preparing financial reports and working in conjunction with the Parish Administrator in budgeting and other financial needs.

 

Lynne is a lifelong resident of Anoka and joined St. Stephen's Church in 1985 through RCIA.

 

 

Monica FreemanMonica Freeman, Office Manager, Accounts Payable EMAIL

763-712-7438

 

Monica holds a B.A. in Legal Studies from Hamline University.  She previously worked as a Litigation Specialist for a national home care company and as a Legal Assistant specializing in contract review for a national insurance provider.  She left the corporate world in answer to God’s call to focus on her primary mission of being wife and mother.

 

In Monica's position, she manages the parish office and membership database and is responsible for proper recording of member contributions, and processing accounts payable. 

 

 

Gerri RoseGerri Rose, Administrative Assistant/Stephen's Marketplace (Gift Shop) Coordinator EMAIL

763-712-7478

 

Gerri joined St. Stephen's Church in 1978 after her family moved to Ramsey. She began working at St. Stephen’s School in 1986 as a baker in the kitchen and continued in that role until 2002.  In 1999, Gerri began working in the parish office part-time as an Administrative Assistant and she continues to serve in that capacity today. She is the staff representative for the parish gift shop, Stephen’s Marketplace.  She assists staff with their office projects and enjoys ministering to the needs of our parishioners.

 

Mary Jane BebergMary Jane Beberg, Administrative Assistant/Calvary Cemetery Coordinator EMAIL

763-712-7479

 

Mary Jane works part-time for the Church as an Administrative Assistant in the parish office and staff liaison for Calvary Cemetery.  She especially enjoys the interaction with parishioners and staff while carrying out her various job assignments.

 

Mary Jane's family joined St. Stephen’s Parish in 1974 when they bought a home in Anoka.  Over the years, Mary Jane and her husband Pete have volunteered in many areas of the parish and school.  Their three children attended St. Stephen’s School and Totino Grace High School.  All three are married and they enjoy spending their free time with their grandchildren.

 

Julie GeradsJulie Gerads, Administrative Assistant/Marketing Coordinator EMAIL

763-712-7485

 

Julie began working at the church as the part-time evening receptionist in September 1995. She then moved into a full-time position in July 1998. Julie's primary responsibilities include coordinating the weekly parish bulletin, updating the parish website, creating/coordinating messaging on the indoor and outdoor electronic signs, assisting in the coordination of parish mailings and marketing pieces, scheduling parish facility use, and assisting staff and parishioners in their ministries.

 

 

Bernie LeachBernie Leach, Worship Director EMAIL

763-712-7435

 

Bernie joined the Pastoral Staff in July of 1990. As Worship Director, she meets monthly with the Worship Commission to hear recommendations for the Pastor about liturgical matters of the parish. In addition she collaborates with the Worship Associates to support the work of hundreds of liturgical ministers who serve the parish’s weekend, holy day, school, and sacramental liturgies through training sessions, scheduling and rehearsal, especially with musicians.

 

Bernie is from the East side of St. Paul, Minnesota where she grew up in a large Catholic family and attended St. Jerome’s Catholic Grade School and Kellogg Public High School. Bernie earned a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education from the College of St. Catherine in 1974. She taught Elementary School (second and sixth grade) in Forest Lake for two years, Community Education classes for preschoolers and guitar players in the Anoka area for 4 years and reading at St. Stephen’s school for 5 years. Bernie earned a Masters Degree in Pastoral Studies, with a focus in liturgy from St. Paul Seminary School of Divinity of the University of St. Thomas in 1992. Bernie and her husband Bill have been parishioners at St. Stephen's for 30 years. They have two married daughters who are graduates of St. Stephen's School, two son-in-laws and three grandchildren.

 

 

Terri RennerTerri Renner, Worship Associate,
School Liturgy Coordinator EMAIL

763-712-7459

 

In addition to preparing St. Stephen’s School students for ministry at weekly Mass on Thursday mornings, Terri also has the privilege of directing four music groups which minister to our community on weekends and Holy Days.  These groups include the Adult Choir, Teen Music Ensemble, Youth Choir and Handbell Choir.  Occasionally, she sings for weddings and funerals, and she also coordinates Liturgy of the Word with Children.

 

Terri joined the Catholic church, the parish of St. Stephen’s, and became actively involved in the music ministry all at the same time in 1978, when she married here.  Terri joined the staff in 1995 as the youngest of her four children entered school. All four children are now grown.  Terri's hometown is Hopkins and she received her Music Education Degree from St. Cloud State University.

 

 

Barbara Ferron photoBarbara Ferron, Worship Associate

EMAIL

763-712-7458

 

Barbara and her husband David have been members of St. Stephen’s and actively involved in the Music Ministry since 2008. They have two adult children: Christopher and Renee. Prior to joining St. Stephen’s, Barbara participated in the Peoria, Illinois Cursillo community as a musician, liturgical planner and speaker; in addition she participated in the Music Ministry and the RCIA program at St. Vincent de Paul Parish - also in Peoria. Her involvement in RCIA was in conjunction with the SPEC (Special Persons Encounter Christ) program for the Diocese of Peoria. Barbara graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Missouri Southern State University.

 

One of Barbara’s favorite scripture passages is “Encourage one another and build each other up (1 Thes 5:11).” Barbara and the Worship Department look forward to working with the many liturgical ministers of this parish in that same spirit.

 

 

Laura Barron photoLaura Barron, Interim Director of Faith Formation, Coordinator of Elementary Faith Formation, First Reconciliation, First Eucharist, Special Needs, and Family G.I.F.T. (Growing in Faith Together)

EMAIL

763-712-7439

 

Laura has been a member of St. Stephen’s Faith Formation staff since August 2011.  She came to St. Stephen’s from the Rochester, MN, area where she was the Coordinator of Religious Education for two parishes west of the city.  Laura has many years experience working in faith formation programs of 100-700 students, and was Coordinator of Catechetical Administration for the Diocese of Peoria, IL, working with and providing training for faith formation directors and catechists from 200 parishes across the state of Illinois.  She holds a Bachelor of Journalism degree from the University of Missouri-Columbia and a certificate in faith formation administration from Paul VI Pontifical Institute, St. Louis, MO.

 

She is the mother of three—daughters in South St. Paul and Peoria, IL, and a son in St. Louis— and has two granddaughters in South St. Paul and two grandsons and a granddaughter in Illinois.  In her free time she loves assisting her parish’s mission garden initiative, traveling and doing handicrafts.

 

 

 

Erica Prond photoErica Prond, Early Childhood and Middle School Faith Formation Coordinator and Middle School Youth Minister EMAIL

763-712-7456

 

Erica is originally from a small farming town west of Rochester, Minnesota called Byron.  She lived there for most of her life with her parents and two younger sisters.  Erica attributes much of her strong faith to her parents who were brave enough to move their family to Rome, Italy for her father's job in 1997.  Erica's family toured as many holy places as possible while living there.   At the age of 10, Erica was exposed to the heart of the Church, incorruptible saints, and Roman/Italian culture.  Her experience abroad greatly shaped her faith in an indescribable way.  Erica loves to travel and has returned to Italy many times in the last 15 years.

 

She is a 2009 graduate of Saint Mary's University of Minnesota in Winona, Minnesota.  She completed her Bachelor's of Arts degree in Theatre Arts with an emphasis in Stage Management.  After graduating Erica was asked to be the Assistant Faith Formation Coordinator at her home parish.  There she helped organize religious education classes for 450 students in grades K-10, recruited and trained volunteer catechists, conducted classes on the Mass and the sacraments, promoted religious vocations with seminarians from Immaculate Heart of Mary Seminary in Winona, made presentations to high school girls on the importance of modesty, maintained the resource library, and managed all of the books and supplies. 

 

Erica loves being involved in the formation of a child's faith, and has a particular passion for teaching young artists about using their gifts for art to glorify God.

 

 

 

David Gockowski, High School Faith Formation and High School Youth Ministry Coordinator and Confirmation Coordinator EMAIL

763-712-7480

 

David has a BA in Catholic Studies from the University of St. Thomas and is working on a Master of Arts in Theology from St. Paul Seminary.  He has studied abroad in England, Jerusalem and Rome, and has, since 2009, been involved with youth at several parishes, leading youth small groups, retreats and mission trips,  working with CORE teams, and giving talks.  Among his many talents is the ability to sing, play guitar and to speak Spanish. 

 

 

 

Pam HavelPam Havel, Coordinator of RCIA and RCIA for Children and Youth

EMAIL

763-712-7437

 

Pam joined St. Stephen's In 1993 after her family moved to Ramsey. She has been actively involved in the parish in many ways, especially during the past ten years. Pam loves working in RCIA because of her love for people, liturgy, sacraments, Scripture, Pastoral Ministry, and passing on the faith. Her responsibilities include preparing and presenting RCIA sessions, supporting young people and adults (and their families) during the RCIA process, and recruiting, training, and supporting volunteer catechists and sponsors. She very much enjoys working with families and considers journeying with each young person and their family an honor and a privilege.

 

Pam grew up in Golden Valley, a (happy) middle child in a large Catholic family. She attended Catholic grade school and public high school. Pam worked as an RN from 1976 – 1987 after which she left the work force to stay home full time with their children. After they were grown, Pam returned to college. She received a Pastoral Ministry Certificate and a B.A. in Theology from the College of St. Catherine, St. Paul in 2008. Pam is currently pursuing a Master of Arts in Theology and a Certificate in Catechetical Ministry at the University of St. Catherine in St. Paul.

 

 

 

 

Photo of Amy Chabot, Pastoral Care DirectorAmy Chabot Pastoral Care Director EMAIL

763-712-7441

 

After graduating with a Masters of Divinity from the Catholic Theological Union (CTU) in Chicago, Amy pursued a three month Chaplaincy internship at Fairview U of M hospital in Minneapolis.  Prior to that, she earned a B.A. degree in Religion and Spanish from UW-Eau Claire.  Between undergrad and graduate school, Amy worked as a Nursing Assistant at a nursing home in Eau Claire, WI.  Before attending UW, she served a year with NET Ministries of Canada.  Amy is no stranger to the greater Anoka area. She attended grade school at Epiphany and graduated from Blaine High School.  During middle school, she worked at Hardee’s in Anoka where a family friend was manager.  On her breaks, she would sneak over to St. Stephen’s for a visit in the adoration chapel. " I am very happy to find myself back at St. Stephen’s, not sneaking a visit, but proudly serving you and supporting you in your relationship with Him."

 

The Pastoral Care department includes many dedicated volunteers in ministries such as WHO group, Bereavement Care, Stephen Ministry, Women of Wonder, Prayer Shawl, Family Table, Ministers to the Home bound and Hospitalized, to name a few. Amy's role is to support and encourage these groups as they support and encourage you.  "I look forward to serving you, with them, through all the mysteries of life."