Welcome Fr. Jonathan Stephanz & Fr. Belisario Riveros

Happy summer days to you all! My name is Fr. Jonathan Stephanz (pronounced: “Stevens”). It is a joy to write to you all so as to introduce myself prior to my arrival on July 1st. I am well aware that for many of you the transfer news of both Fr. Kyle and Fr. Dayan was a shock. Please know that I equally felt the surprise when I received the appointment from Bishop Parkes in April. However, as much as I was surprised by the appointment, I was overjoyed to receive the assignment as Parochial Administrator to St. Mary Catholic Church and Santa Maria Mission (St. Mary).

Fr. Kyle and I entered seminary the same year – 2007. Fr. Dayan was still in his seminary studies (closer to his priestly ordination). Knowing that I am following two incredible priests is exciting just as much as it is a daunting task. I am grateful for the work and pastoral leadership that both Fr. Kyle and Fr. Dayan have brought to each and every single one of you. I know that the shoes that Fr. Belisario (Fr. B) and I are inheriting are rather large in size. Considering this, I ask that you keep both of us in your prayers as we make our transition into the parish family of St. Mary. In speaking with Fr. B over the last couple of months, I can assure you that both of us have been fervent in our prayers for you. We are both extremely excited for the opportunity to serve you all!

For the purposes of this first message I will hopefully give you some idea of who I am. I grew up in Riverview and attended magnet schools in Tampa (alumni of Blake High School, 2007). I was ordained a priest for the Diocese of St. Petersburg on May 21, 2016. My priestly ministry has consisted of the following assignments (from first to most recent): Parochial Vicar at St. Paul, St. Petersburg; Parochial Vicar at Holy Family, St. Petersburg, and Clearwater Central Catholic High School; Parochial Vicar at Our Lady of Lourdes, Dunedin; Parochial Vicar at St. Raphael, St. Petersburg. As you can tell, it has been a bit of time since I have been back to my home county of Hillsborough.

Some of my interests include the NHL (Lets Go Bolts!); Premier League Soccer (Newcastle); playing disc golf in enjoyable weather; working out when I overcome the temptation to a lazier activity; and spending time with my family and friends. Some of the ministries that I have come to love over the course of my priesthood include ministries to our youth (all ages); RCIA (which I believe is now called “OCIA”); marriage preparation; and all of the sacramental functions of priesthood.

There will be plenty of time (I hope and pray) for you to get to know both Fr. B and me. For now, please know of my prayers for you all during this time of transition. Most of all, know that I am absolutely thrilled to have the opportunity to serve you all!

Fr. Jonathan

A Warm Welcome to Fr. Belisario Riveros!  Fr. Belisario (Fr. B), comes from Colombia, South America.  He followed the call to priestly ministry and was ordained on November 29, 1972, for the Archdiocese of  Bogotá, Colombia.  He was incardinated into the Diocese of Engativá, Colombia, upon its establishment in 2003.  He served the community of St. Angela Merici Parish, Cortijo, Colombia, from 2007 to 2016, after which he came to the Diocese of St. Petersburg on a sabbatical leave, during which he served the members of the Hispanic community as a priest in residence at St. Joseph Parish, Tampa, and at Light of Christ Parish, Clearwater.  Fr. Belisario was granted permission to continue his ministry in our Diocese, and in July 2017, was appointed as parochial vicar of Nativity Parish, Brandon, where he spent  the last 7 years.  Fr. B celebrated his 50 year priestly anniversary in 2022.  Welcome Fr. B!  We are blessed to have you. 

Translate »