PIQUA — The Rev. Fr. Tom Bolte of the St. Mary and St. Boniface Catholic Churches is saying goodbye to his local parish family and Piqua community this month after receiving a new assignment to serve at two parishes in Brown County.
Bolte was appointed pastor of the St. Mary and St. Boniface Catholic Churches in 2012, serving approximately 600 families in each of the parishes.
“It’s been a wonderful time,” Bolte said. “I’ve enjoyed all of the activities and all of the people and also being part of the Piqua community.”
Bolte noted a number of local groups he has appreciated serving with in addition to his local parish families, including the Piqua Association of Churches, Piqua Catholic School, Piqua Compassion Network, and others.
“Piqua’s a very vibrant area,” Bolte said.
He also served on the board of Lehman Catholic High School.
“I’ve enjoyed being a part of the Rotary group and the Kiwanis group and Knights of Columbus and Knights of St. John,” Bolte said, adding, “All of these groups have been wonderful.”
Bolte said that it has been “a very fulfilling and joyful thing” for him to be involved with the local parishes, Catholic schools, and community, also noting his time with parishioners, teachers, and everyone in Piqua.
“We started the preschool program at (Piqua Catholic School) … and that’s been a great thing,” Bolte said. “The Piqua Catholic School enrollment has increased.”
At the parishes, Bolte said, “We started the first Monday of the month Mass with prayers for healing, we pray over people for healing in the charismatic tradition … which was for people of all faiths to come and be prayed over.”
Bolte said that they also try to help those in need in the local community, such offering help to pay utility bills. “We try to respond as generously as possible,” he said.
Bolte also has enjoyed working with the youth, noting retreats and spiritual programs in which he has worked with youngsters, and he has also enjoyed the Christ Renews His Parish retreats for adults. Bolte also expressed his appreciation for the twinning relationship that the St. Mary and St. Boniface Catholic Churches have with the St. John and St. Lewis Catholic Churches in Portsmouth of the Commonwealth of Dominica.
“Over these six years … it’s been a very special time for me,” Bolte said, noting the many baptisms, weddings, and funerals that he has been a part of to help and be present for those people. “It’s been a joy and a privilege to be the pastor here at the parishes for the last six years,” and to also participate in the local community.
Bolte has been a priest for 38 years. After graduating from high school in Indiana, he earned a degree in business administration from Ball State. He worked in Kroger’s management division for two years before attending seminary at Mount St. Mary’s Seminary in Cincinnati. He was ordained as priest on June 14, 1980, by Archbishop Joseph Bernardin.
Bolte served a number of parishes in Cincinnati for approximately seven years prior to serving at the St. Mary and St. Elizabeth parishes in Brown County. Bolte then served at the St. Ignatius of Loyola parish in Cincinnati for 13 years and St. Teresa of Avila parish in Cincinnati for six years prior to coming to Piqua.
He will be leaving at the end of June to serve two parishes in Brown County, including St. Angela Merici of Fayetteville and Mt. Michael of Mount Orab. Fr. Dan Hunt will be coming to Piqua to serve at St. Mary and St. Boniface Catholic Churches.
Bolte has 10 nieces and nephews he has enjoyed taking on trips to King’s Island. He has three sisters, including one who lives in Cincinnati and two who live in Indiana.
Bolte has also connected with other local priests. “As priests, we get together for rest and relaxation,” he said.
Bolte also enjoyed time with 99-year-old Fr. Angelo Caserta, who he calls “a true inspiration.” Bolte also enjoyed his time with the late Fr. Tom Grilliot, who passed away in September 2012.
“It’s been a wonderful six years,” Bolte said.
Bolte said that he will miss the local parishes and community, adding that he plans to visit during festivals and that he will “continue to pray for everyone.”
The parishes are hosting a farewell ice cream social from 1-3 p.m. June 3, in the cafeteria at Piqua Catholic School, located at 503 W. North St.
Reach Sam Wildow at email@example.com