Father John Bateman, pastor of St. Patrick Parish in York, was recognized as the Chaplain of the Year during the State Convention of the Pennsylvania Knights of Columbus earlier this month.
The Blessed Michael McGivney Award is annually given to a chaplain of a Knights of Columbus council within the state. The award is named for the founder of the national Catholic fraternal organization and his example of charity, evangelization and empowerment of the faithful.
Father Bateman is the chaplain of Council 11872 at St. Patrick Parish. He was nominated for the award by Council Treasurer Jeffrey Pautz.
“I was very surprised and really honored that I would be nominated for it,” said Father Bateman, who received the award during the Knights’ 125th State Convention in Harrisburg on May 6.
In nominating his pastor, Pautz cited Father Bateman’s ability to “leverage the talent in the parish…bringing new life to St. Patrick’s” since his arrival as pastor there three years ago.
“He brought out the expertise, commitment and devotion of his new parishioners to reinvigorate parish life,” and did so among the challenges and precautions surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic, Pautz noted.
Father Bateman has guided the parish in expanding diversity on the Parish Council, shifting religious education toward a family faith formation model, reinvigorating the youth group, bolstering Holy Trinity Catholic School, and responding intentionally to the Eucharistic Revival.
“We’re doing everything with the real sense of growing as a parish family so that we can grow out into the community,” Father Bateman told The Catholic Witness.
“The parish was ready to have that ‘little Pentecost,’ to re-ignite the fire,” he said of the faithful’s return to the sacraments and parish life after the pandemic had brought things to a halt.
He commended the Parish Council and the Knights of Columbus for their leadership, dedication and action in helping bring a new vision to the parish.
“It’s given a focus for the whole parish,” he said of their efforts. “We need to get people to know their faith, come back to Mass, be part of the life the parish.”
“We are very attuned now to the Eucharistic Revival. We’re looking to ensure that we’re celebrating the liturgy well, bringing reverence and solemnity to it, involving people in the liturgy,” he said. “We are doing things to help people connect to the roots of their faith, get them involved and have them just spend time with the Lord in the Eucharist.”
Father Bateman, who also serves as Director of the Diocese’s Deacon Formation Program and as a Canonical Consultant in the Tribunal, said receiving the Blessed Michael McGivney Award is a testament to St. Patrick Parish.
“Father McGivney wanted every good thing for his parishioners, and that’s what any pastor is going to want, too,” he said.
“As a parish, we need to do things together. The parish community grows together and finds encouragement and strength in one another. It’s about the faith of the people,” Father Bateman said. “I’m very careful never to say ‘my parish.’ It’s our parish. If this is all dependent on the priest, then I’ve not built anyone up. It’s about the people of God being the leaven in the world, living the faith out in the street and in their families. We are a community where we can find support and strength in each other, encounter Christ in one another and then go live it.”
“The Blessed Michael McGivney Award is also an honor for the parish,” he said. “They appreciate the wonderful ways the Spirit is at work in the parish, and they are grateful for the recognition that St. Patrick Parish is alive.”
(Photo by Chris Heisey, The Catholic Witness.)
By Jen Reed, The Catholic Witness