Father Alan Hunter, the new pastor of St. Jerome Catholic Church in Troy and St. Elizabeth in Marine and St. James in St. Jacob, is no stranger to the area.
He served as a pastor at St. Paul and Peter Catholic Church in Collinsville from 1977 to 1981. While there, he also helped oversee the construction of St. John Neumann School in Maryville, which opened in 1978.
Coming full circle, part of his new assignment will also be Hunter will also be the canonical administrator at St. John Neumann.
Hunter was ordained a priest for the Springfield Diocese in 1977. He earlier attended St. Mary College in St. Mary, Ky., and graduated from Kenrick Seminary in St. Louis.
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Hunter, 64, is replacing Father Pat Jakel, who has was appointed the pastor at St. Paul Catholic Church in Highland.
A native of Jacksonville, Hunter had been most recently been serving as pastor of St. Mary in Taylorville, as well as St. Rita in Kincaid and Holy Trinity in Stonington.
Hunter says he enjoys everything about his job, with the possible exception of some of the administrative duties that come long with it.
“It was my decision to become a priest,” he said. “I felt it was my calling.”
His faith has helped Hunter through some difficult times.
He lost both of his parents at an early age. His dad, who was a steam fitter, was only he 44 died from cancer in 1964.
His mom was a housewife. She was only 65 when she suffered a massive fatal heart attack in 1979.
“My mom was always there to support me,” he said.
He has also lost two of his six siblings. One of his brothers died of esophageal cancer in 2000. Another brother died from a massive heart attack 10 years earlier.
Father Alan will now live in the rectory at St. Jerome. He will perform three weekend Masses in Troy including one on Saturday (at 4 p.m.), and two on Sundays (8 and 11 a.m.).
He will also perform Masses in St. Jacob on Saturday (at 5:30 p.m.) and at Marine (9:30 a.m. on Sunday).
Hunter will also be having 8 a.m. Masses at Marine on Tuesdays, St. Jerome on Wednesdays and the first Friday of the month, and at St. Jacob on Thursday.