Our Pastoral Team
With 2,800 families, it takes a team approach to minister to the spiritual and pastoral needs of Valparaiso's Catholic Community. We're led by two priests and four deacons who partner with a larger staff and so many amazing lay ministers and volunteers who are the heart and hands of Christ to our neighbors.
Fr. Doug Mayer grew up on the family farm in Wisconsin, before his family moved to Hobart. After high school he attended Valparaiso University, graduating with majors in History and Secondary Education. During his teaching career, Fr. Doug began exploring the possibility of priesthood and began his studies at Sacred Heart School of Theology, outside of Milwaukee. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1986 and spent a year at St. John the Evangelist in St. John, before being appointed to shepherd St. Teresa of Avila Catholic Student Center at Valparaiso University. In 1995, he was appointed pastor of Our Lady of Sorrows in South Haven until 2009, when he began his ministry at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton in Valparaiso.
Biography coming soon!
Fr. Jeff Burton was ordained to the priesthood in June 2018. He grew up in Portage and graduated from Valparaiso University, studying New Media-Journalism and Political Science. After a career as a news reporter, Fr. Jeff entered the seminary and studied at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit and the University of Saint Mary of the Lake in Mundelein, Ill. As a seminarian, Fr. Jeff served at Holy Spirit in Winfield, St. Andrew in Merrillville, Sharing Meadows in Rolling Prairie, St. Michael in Schererville, St. Mary of the Lake in Gary, St. Mary in Griffith and St. Mary in Crown Point. Check out his website at comeliveinthelight.com.
Deacon Jim Caristi was ordained to the diaconate in June 2007. He and his wife Martha have two children and two grandchildren, all of whom live in Valparaiso. He is a professor of computer science and mathematics at Valparaiso University, where he has worked since 1980. He is very involved in Hispanic Ministry, and also has much interest in adult faith formation, marriage preparation, hospital ministry, and ministry to people suffering with Alzheimer's. He is also a tournament racquetball player, and hopes to become the world champion in his age group.
Biography coming soon!
Deacon Ken Klawitter was ordained a Permanent Deacon in June 2017. He grew up in Highland and graduated from Purdue University. Having received the Sacraments of Baptism, Holy Communion, Confirmation and Marriage, the laying on of hands by Bishop Donald Hying conferred the gift of the Holy Spirit in Holy Orders and apostolic ministry. Educated in the faculties of Engineering and Architectural firms, he is indebted to the professional practice of building design and makes a living as a custom home designer. The loves in his life are his wife, children and extended family, jazz, baseball, and sharing meals (with a good bottle of wine of course) with friends. His encouragement to all is to live well, love much and laugh often!