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  PARISH PRIESTS

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FR. ROBERT J. JOHNSON, SVD
            Fr. Robert “Bob” Johnson was born in Detroit, Michigan, and attended St. Sebastian’s School, graduating in 1977.
            In 1977, he attended Divine Word High School in Perrysburg, Ohio staffed by the Roman Catholic Missionary Order of Religious Men known as the Society of the Divine Word (Divine Word Missionaries) and graduated from there in 1981.
            Fr. Johnson went onto Divine Word College in Epworth, Iowa spending his junior year abroad at Nanzan University in Nagoya,  Japan.  He graduated from Divine Word College in 1985, cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in English.
            Fr. Johnson entered his religious community’s novitiate of St. Augustine’s Seminary at Bay St. Louis, Mississippi and studied there for the academic year of 1985 until 1986.  This training involved working on the Addiction Unit of the Biloxi Veterans Hospital.
            In 1986, Fr. Johnson went onto Chicago to begin his Master’s degree program in divinity, and graduated with his Master’s degree in June, 1992.  During this time as part of his community’s formation program he completed Clinical Pastoral Education program at Harper-Grace and Children’s Hospitals in Detroit, Michigan.  He also completed the two year Overseas Training Program during this time in Antigua, West Indies.  It was also during this time that Fr. Johnson studied voice, piano/organ, music theory and ear training at St. Joseph’s College Summer program in Rensselaer, Indiana.  Fr. Bob was ordained a Roman Catholic priest on March 28th, 1992.
            Fr. Johnson was assigned back to Antigua in 1992, where his major focus was education. 
            In 1999, Fr. Johnson became the regional superior of his community, responsible for fifteen priests, brothers, and seminarians living and working throughout the Caribbean.  It was this year also that he became the performance examiner for the regional C.X.C. music exams where he examined various music students throughout the various government schools of Antigua.
            In 2008, Fr. Johnson also became one of the founding members of the Antigua State College music department in the Teacher Training Division where he taught music theory and functional voice for the classroom.
            In his musical career, Fr. Johnson (known as “Fr. Bob” throughout Antigua) developed the Christ the King High School Choir which became known throughout Antigua.  Under his direction, the choir went on several performance tours throughout the Caribbean, and to the United States which included New Orleans, Vicksburg, Chicago, Indianapolis, Trenton, and Detroit.  He has produced three CDs involving the school choir and other performers, including some of his own compositions.  “Excelsior Nativitatis” in 1998; “Excelsior: Faith and Roots” in 1999, and is presently getting ready to release his most recent CD: “My Mother’s Prayerbook” which will be released in November 2010.
           Fr. Bob became the parish priest in Sint Maarten on January 15th, 2010.
  
 
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FR. YOHANES BALLY, SVD
I was born in Flores, Indonesia March 8th 1977 and raised in a loving, Christian home. I was baptized and confirmed, at a very early age. My parents loved the Lord and while growing up, we had nightly devotions and prayer. Later when I started junior high, I had to go far from home from 1989-1992. Going to a boarding school has been one of the best experiences of my life. I started high school at the minor seminary in 1993. The minor seminary is similar to other Catholic boarding schools for boys. The rhythm of life was so familiar to the one I had before. I was not a stranger. The seminarians have a regimented life, which includes daily Mass and prayer, academics and recreation. The studies encompass the regular high school courses in theology, math, science, history, foreign language and physical education, with a special emphasis on Latin and choir. On August 15th, 1998 I was officially accepted to be one a Divine Word Missionary novice. August 15th , 2000, was really a precious moment given, for at that time I professed my first wows as a new SVD member. (Societas Verbi Divini/Society of the Divine Word) I made a good decision for the next step. I really enjoyed the atmosphere at the major seminary where I had spent my life for 6 years there. What a happy day! On August 15th 2006, I was one of 32 SVD’s seminarians who were standing in front of the public and my superiors professing perpetual vows for life as a Divine Word Missionary. At the same time, it was announced that the Chicago Province of the United States would be my first assignment. Praise the Lord! Finally, I fully answered the call of God in order to be ordained as an SVD priest on July 4th 2007. In 2008, I was given a chance to go to Ireland where I had longed to be and did my English Course for 4 months. I also had a wonderful experience for 5 months in a parish that was 120 miles north of Dublin. In 2009, I moved to Jamaica for my first assignment as a priest. Having finished my first contract in Jamaica for 3 years (2009-2012), the Caribbean District Superior and his council decided to move me to St Maarten. Now I am happy to be here to continue God’s wonderful blessings in my daily ministry. May God bless my ministry and those people who I am serving here in St Maarten.
 
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FR.MIGUEL LOPEZ, SVD
Living My Ministry Every Day
"Prior to my ordination in May 2008 , I served in pastoral ministry in Oaxaca, Mexico, working with family groups in Bible studies. I was happy to see people sharing in these studies. I was also happy to see people sharing their faith and finding ways to sharing their faith with others, especially in transmiting this faith to their childern. After completing a year of English studies at our SVD college in Iowa, I then went on my overseas training program to Antigua, West Indies where I was involved in various pastoral and educational ministries preparing for ordination. But for me, ministry is not just a destination. I am living my ministry each day as an SVD priest, no matter where I am. Ministry is being with people, sharing our lives and our faith in Jesus as we grow together. I try to let God direct my life and I know I will be happy wherever He sends me."
 
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