When the priest at the Catholic grammar school that Justin Kerber, C.P., attended as a child asked the first-grade students who wanted to be a priest when they grew up, Kerber said he raised his hand without hesitation.
“As far back as I can remember, I have always just known that I wanted to be a Catholic priest,” Kerber said. After 48 years of service to the Catholic Church, last week Kerber became the new rector of Sacred Heart Cathedral in Raleigh. He is the first Passionist priest to hold the position of rector at the cathedral, which is a group of 3,000 priests within the Catholic Church who devote their lives to prayer and service.
Kerber grew up in New Jersey and took his vows in 1965. He has held many roles in the Passionist community, including helping teach new priests, working with high school students interested in the priesthood and serving as the superior at the Immaculate Conception Monastery in New York City, which is the largest Passionist community in the U.S. He has spent the last 15 years as pastor of St. Peter’s Catholic Church in Greenville.
Moving from the Northeast to the South was a bit of an adjustment for Kerber.
“I can remember the first night sleeping in Greenville, I couldn’t hear the subways running, and I knew I was I out of New York City, even in the monastery,” Kerber said. But he describes his years in Greenville as a very happy time, and he enjoyed working with the local congregation. “I have been impressed about how faithful Catholics are in this area and how much our numbers have grown in recent years,” Kerber said.
One of Kerber’s roles at Sacred Heart Cathedral will be to help with the opening of the new 2,000-seat cathedral located near the N.C. State University Centennial Campus. Groundbreaking is scheduled for late 2014. The cathedral is being built because Sacred Heart with 325 seats is too small for the number of people wanting to attend. Sacred Heart Cathedral will also be building a new Catholic school in the near future to meet demand as well.
“I came to Sacred Heart Cathedral because God wants me here in Raleigh,” Kerber said. “I have never once asked for an assignment and have never said no as well. I let God put me where he wants me to serve. I want to serve the people, and this is where God wants me to do that. I will do it with all my heart.”
Soup on Sunday
St. Marks United Methodist Church will have its monthly Soup on Sunday meal at 12:15 p.m. Sunday, July 14, at the church, 4801 Six Forks Road, Raleigh. The meal is free, and everyone is welcome. As part of a partnership with The Healing Place of Wake County, church volunteers pick up residents of the men’s and women’s shelters and bring them to the church on the second Sunday of each month for food and fellowship. The July meal is herb-seasoned baked chicken breast, baked beans, cole slaw, green beans niçoise, assorted desserts, lemonade and iced tea. . For more information, call 919-787-0544 or visit www.stmarksraleigh.org.
Paper baby shower
Providence Baptist Church is having a paper shower to bless Christian Life Home at 7 p.m. Thursday, July 11 at the church, 6339 Glenwood Ave. Raleigh. The Christian Life Home provides a loving, family atmosphere for young women in unplanned pregnancies to receive care, counseling and life skills training. Festivities will include fun, food and shower games, followed by a chance to hear more about the ministry and how they are encouraging and supporting young women. Donations of paper products, such as toilet paper, towels and tissues, are encouraged. For more information, call 919-326-3000.
Longview Baptist Church
Longview Baptist Church invites children to the Jeff Slaughter VBS World Tour from 6 to 8 p.m. Sunday-Thursday, July 21-25, at the church, 2308 New Hope Road, Raleigh. Vacation Bible School is for kids who are at least 3 years old to those who have just completed the 8th grade. For more information or to register, call 919-231-3747 or visit www.longviewbaptist.org/vbs.
West Raleigh Presbyterian
West Raleigh Presbyterian is holding God’s Backyard Bible Camp from 9 a.m. to noon Monday-Friday, July 29-Aug. 2, at the church, 27 Horne St., Raleigh. The children will focus on a different hands-on mission each day, such as bagging lunches for the homeless, cleaning up a park and taking appreciation snacks to community helpers at the fire station. The cost is $25 per child, with each additional per family at $20 per child. Scholarships are available. An optional lunch bunch is available until 1 p.m. for $5 per day each day. For information, visit http://www.vacationbibleschool.com/WestRaleigh or call Marietta Wynands at 919-828-5468 x14.
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