First-Year Priest Learns to Take Life One Day at a Time – Stuart Crevcoure

2002 News

 Rev. Stuart Crevcoure received a bachelor of arts degree in history from the University of Tulsa, Tulsa, Oklahoma. A native of Green Bay, Wisconsin, he is the son of David and Pamela Crevcoure. He earned a master of arts degree, with highest honor, from Saint Vincent Seminary in 2000, and also received the American Bible Society Award. In 2001 he received the bachelor of sacred theology degree from Saint Vincent Seminary, in affiliation with the Dominican House of Studies in Washington, D.C., with highest honor, becoming the first student to receive the degree since the program was instituted in 2000. He also received the Honorable Judge Bernard F. Scherer Award, given to the student who most exemplifies the qualities evident in the life of Judge Scherer, including a breadth of learning, knowledge which allows one to integrate theology and the life of the People of God with academic areas, wisdom and the ability to see the interconnectedness of all life, the practice of corporal works of mercy, witness to faith and a hope-filled attitude.

This article is from The Eastern Oklahoma Catholic newspaper of the Tulsa Diocese.

By Marty Mitchell

There’s an old joke that goes something like this: If you want to make God laugh, just tell Him your plans.

Perhaps no one understands this adage better than Father Stuart Crevcoure, administrator of Sacred Heart Church in Sapulpa.

The Green Bay, Wis., native is a self-confessed, over-the-top planner, having tidily laid out a career path at a young age. Not only was his life path thoroughly planned and paved, but all off ramps and side roads were spoken for as well.

Nowhere in his plan, however, was mention of a priest.

“I figured I could plan life’s journey by myself. I never really thought to ask guidance from God,” says Father Crevcoure, who recently celebrated his first anniversary as a priest.

You could say his road to priesthood began as a junior at The University of Tulsa, when he became highly involved in activities at the Newman Center on campus.

The more involved he became at the Center, the more he became convinced God was calling him. By the time he graduated with a degree in history in 1995, Father Crevcoure knew his career path had taken a drastic turn and he soon found himself headed to seminary.

During his time at Saint Vincent Seminary in Latrobe, Father Crevcoure says, seminarians received a heads up that priests increasingly were taking on more and more assignments and responsibilities. His experiences during and after seminary reinforced this warning.

“I’ve never had a conventional assignment,” he said.

Serving as a deacon one summer, he split time between two rural parishes, something he says was never attempted before. Father Crevcoure admits it was at times hectic, but the experience helped him to truly begin understanding the scope of the pastoral role and the importance of interacting with parishioners.

“I really got to understand what it’s like to form a bond with your parishioners.”

Upon graduating seminary, Father Crevcoure returned to Tulsa to be ordained and begin his role as assistant pastor at Church of the Madalene.

“It was very much what seminary prepared me for,” he recalls. “The people at Madalene were wonderful.”

It also proved chockful of fist-time and life-lasting experiences. For instance, he faced several funerals just a few weeks into his assignment.

“I know this may sound strange, but for me it was a wonderfully graced moment,” he says.

“Looking back, it should have been difficult for a priest to face. But, I realize whatever good I’m accomplishing is really Christ working in me.”

Father Crevcoure has learned plenty during his first year as a priest, especially the differences between expectations and actually living the life of a priest. For him, the actual experience has far exceeded any expectations he had coming out of seminary.

Father Crevcoure says his first year also has provided a few frustrating and challenging moments — especially when his schedule gets hectic. No matter how much seminary trains you, he says, it cannot give you the experience of being a pastor.

“A lot of it you learn on the job,” he says. “But I see this as an opportunity for God’s grace at work.”Father Crevcoure admits he felt a great deal ofuncertainty going into his role at Sacred Heart last spring. He was, after all, just under 30 and less than a year removed from seminary.

“But the people in the parish have been wonderfully supportive,” he says.

Looking back at his first year, Father Crevcoure says the one thing he would have done differently would be to spend less time worrying about getting everything accomplished and focus more on trusting in God more when it comes to his ministry.

“I’ve only learned that worry avails nothing.”

Asked how it feels coming into your profession amidst a year when the Church, including the Diocese of Tulsa, has been rocked by allegations against other priests, Father Crevcoure replies by saying priests of his generation seem to be more resilient and better equipped to deal with the many circumstances that are the realities of today’s society.

“To be honest, we’ve never seen ourselves on a pedestal,” he says. “We almost expect people to give us a hard time. And I can tell you we draw tremendous strength from the people to whom we minister. I really think our support system is strong.”

Even with negative events crowding headlines, Father Crevcoure believes it’s having the opposite impact than most people might think, with more young men entering seminary than in the past several years and more people signing up for RCIA.

Reflecting on his first year, the many ups and few downs, Father Crevcoure says there is one piece of advice he carries with him at all times:

“If you love the people to whom you minister, don’t worry about anything else. It will come out all right.”

Despite the many curves and detours Father Crevcoure’s life has taken, he wouldn’t have it any other way.

“I would never find true happiness unless I’m doing what God calls me to do,” he says.

“Unless we do what God is willing us to do, it’s an exercise in futility.”