We first met Fr. John Hoffman when he was studying at the seminary. He came to a parish that we were involved in starting. Through the years we kept in touch and to our delight, when we moved back to Illinois, we found that he had been assigned to our parish as an assistant. Move forward a few years and Fr. Hoffman found that the time had come to become a pastor.
He loved being a priest but was not sure of the role of pastor. His mentor from the seminary was on the priest’s personnel board at the time. John received a call from him saying, “I have the perfect place for you and they really need you.” Fr. Noone had just died and the St. Teresa Community was in mourning. Fr. Hoffman basically, without seeing St. Teresa, said “yes”. What an adventure that started. Although the times were not easy, the people and their uniqueness were, and Fr. Hoffman fell in love with this plucky little faith community “that flew under the radar”.
As time went on, there were some difficult decisions to make and some joyous ones to make. The most difficult decision was the one to close the school in 1996 after over a hundred years. The enrollment had fallen to 88 students of which only 4 were the children of parishioners. The most positive decision was the one to start a capital campaign to tear down the old Parish Center and build a new one in 2001. His 14 plus years as pastor made it difficult to be moved to a new place and leave behind this community. We followed Fr. Hoffman to St. Teresa’s and have never regretted our decision.