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11/27/2013 11:00:00 AM
Mount Angel faculty member celebrates 50 years of priesthood
Fr. Richard Keolker
Fr. Richard Keolker

MOUNT ANGEL — In December, Father Richard Keolker, a faculty member at Mount Angel Seminary, will celebrate the 50th anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood.

Father Keolker was born in 1938 in Kennewick, Wash. Growing up in Kennewick with his parents, older sister and younger brother, he attended St. Joseph Church.

After discerning a call to serve, he entered high school at St. Edward Seminary in Kenmore, Wash., and was enrolled from 1952-'58. Upon graduation from the minor seminary, and continuing to feel a vocation to priesthood, he then attended St. Thomas Seminary in Kenmore as a college philosophy student 1958-'60. He was sent to Rome to complete his education and priestly formation at the Pontifical North American College from 1960-'64. Father Keolker completed his theological studies in Rome, earning a license in sacred theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University.

He was ordained as a priest for the Diocese of Yakima in 1963.

Since his ordination, Fr. Keolker has served in a number of ministries, including parish work in the Yakima diocese. He has taught English, Latin and religion to high school students, served on the faculty at St. Patrick’s College in San Francisco, and served as the director of the Institute for Continuing Theological Education at the Pontifical North American College from 1980-'83.

Father Keolker first came to Mount Angel Abbey and Seminary in 1991 as a formation director and pastoral supervisor. He currently teaches a course on Vatican II and serves as a spiritual director for seminarians. He also serves as a chaplain to the Benedictine Sisters at Queen of Angels Monastery in Mount Angel. He has traveled the world to experience the Church in India, Thailand, the Philippines, Vietnam, the Holy Land and parts of Africa.

Fr. Keolker will celebrate his golden jubilee of ordination in the Abbey Church on Monday, Dec. 3, at 7 p.m. with a reception to follow at 8:30 p.m. All are invited.

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