It’s 8 o’clock on a chilly Sunday morning. That alarm clock goes off and it’s time to get up and get ready to go to church. You’re new in the neighborhood and decide to go to St. Joseph’s Catholic Church. Once you get inside and the service starts you start wondering, who is that priest? That priest is Father Paul Ortmeier.
Father Paul was born and raised in a small community, West Point Nebraska. He grew up on a farm where he did typical farm chores like feeding and watering livestock. Some animals he raised were hogs, ducks, and geese.
Besides working on the farm, Paul attended high school at what is now Guardian Angels Central Catholic. In his early middle school years he played basketball. During high school is when he decided to just play football. Father Paul wasn’t just your average player. He commented on how he got offers from surrounding Universities to go play for them including the University of South Dakota, and even the University of Nebraska Lincoln. He said that Bob Devaney asked him to walk on but he said no. Paul had the calling to become a priest.
Growing up he never imagined becoming a priest. After high school, he went into the seminary. He attended college at St Paul, in Minnesota, where he studied theology, the nature study of God and religious belief. Eight years later he earned his doctoral degree.
Father Paul moved back to Nebraska to spread the word of the Lord. He has been a priest at a couple different churches and parishes. Today he resides at his home next to St. Joseph’s Church where he has been preaching since 2007. In addition to preaching at Lyons, he also preaches in Bancroft.
Father Paul talked about how he enjoys helping and being around people. He is a strong leader and speaker. One of his weaknesses is that he doesn’t have much patience. Paul’s hobbies include golfing and watching sports. He really enjoys the Nebraska Cornhuskers. If he doesn’t have service on a Saturday night, you more than likely can find him in the sea of red at Memorial Stadium. He said how his dream vacation would to be able to go down to New Orleans to the Sugar Bowl again, because he really enjoyed the atmosphere there.
Father Paul definitely has had a strong impact on the Lyons community. He feels that we have an overall well-established community, but would like to see a few more businesses. He thinks that Lyons needs to not be so independent. Paul believes that people need to just get out and talk with other people in the community more.
Paul’s advice to me was to just enjoy life and have fun and to continue my knowledge of the Lord by attending church. Father Paul is truly an inspirational man and has had a strong impact on this community. It was a pleasure to interview him and learn his amazing lifelong story.