“Can I get an Amen?” Is a phrase not often heard during a Catholic Mass… until Father Stephen Jones arrived. Interjecting a fiery spirit into the Helias community, Father Jones has been an enthusiastic change. As a priest, father, husband, and new president of Helias Catholic High School, Father Jones has a lot on his ciborium.
The presidency was a surprise to Father Jones. He recieved the call asking him to take on the role of president from Bishop Gaydos while vacationing with his family in Disney World. The mere thought of slipping into Mr. Aur’s, the former president, shoes had never crossed Father Jones’ mind. “Both of us (Father Jones and his wife) were shocked at the request… It was as much as a surprise to us as to anyone else,” Father Jones said. After much prayer and discussion, Father Jones accepted the offer.
Starting in June, Father Jones took a three-week crash course on ‘How to President’ with Mr. Aur. Father Jones was shown the ropes and introduced to important people. Mr Aur had many traditions that Father Jones has kept this school year such as saying hello to students as they enter school in the morning and mission trips. “I believe it is important to make a connection between parent, student, and me,” Father Jones said.
Father Jones likes to refer to himself as “the person who drives the ship making sure it doesnt hit any iceburgs.” He acknowledges the many people who “make the ship run” and that without them, he could not do the job.
Now, Father Jones’ day starts early at 5:45 A.M. answering emails, greeting students as they enter Helias’ hallowed halls, and performing a Mass every other day. The rest of the day is followed by meetings and meetings and more meetings with phone calls squeezed in-between. Father Jones leaves Helias around 3:00 P.M. to pick up his three children from St. Joseph Catholic School and then usually returns to Helias for more meetings or to do other work. Father Jones admits that the balance between his two lives can be stressful, especially with another baby girl on the way, but he is up for the job.
“Faith can be exciting. Faith can be joyous. Faith can be exuberating,” Father Jones said. This attitude is what inspired the infamous ‘amen’. It was a spontaneous animation. Father Jones was thinking, ‘what can I do to liven the place up?’ and out came a powerful ‘Amen!’ to the congregation. The goal is for the students (and faculty) to transfer their enthusiasm to every ‘amen’ they say.
If one would ever like to have the full Father Stephen Jones experience, one can find him every Sunday at St. Michael in Russellville, at 9 A.M. Mass.
The Crusader Raid, Vol. 6, Num. 1
The “Home” coming for the Holidays Issue
Mary Kate Hafner