Name: Fr. Bob Striegel
Years ordained: 35
Current assignment: Full-time chaplain at the VA Hospital in Iowa City and canonical pastor for Ss. Joseph & Cabrini Parish in East Pleasant Plain.
How did you know you were being called to priesthood?
It’s something I started seeking an answer to back when I was in sixth grade. I’d inquired about the Holy Cross order of priests and Brothers. When I told my parents about that, Dad’s response about that was, “Good. Have you ever thought about going all the way?” That gave me encouragement to think about the priesthood.
Aside from your ordination Mass, what was your most memorable Mass?
The one that comes to mind was at St. James Parish in St. Paul, Iowa. We were celebrating the 150th anniversary of the parish. The original church was out in a cow pasture. A couple of days before, I took students from one of the grades, maybe sixth or seventh, out to the cow pasture and we picked up cow pies. They were all agreeable. Some came with gloves, others bare-handed it.
Parishioners put up an altar … people rode out to the site on hayracks and the sun was setting at the time of the Mass. The Knights of Columbus were there. Bishop Maurice Dingman, who was retired at the time and in a wheelchair, was living with his sister in St. Paul. He was brought out to the site and concelebrated Mass from the wheelchair. I kind of remember in the midst of the Mass a cow lowing in the background. The Mass was a reminder of all the people who had lived there … all the faith that people had nurtured through the years.
What is most rewarding about being a priest?
The wonderful people you come to meet. People who open their lives to you and talk to you about things that are extremely personal to them and yet entrust those things, in faith, to your care.
What is most challenging about being a priest?
In the midst of all of the activity, taking time to be reflective and to pray about what is taking place in your life and around you.
What is your favorite Scripture passage?
The first would be from the First Letter of John, Chapter 4, verse 10, which goes something like this: “It is not that you have loved God, but rather that God has loved you and therefore you are able to love one another.”
The other one would be from Romans, Chapter 8: This is a translation from J.B. Phillips; it goes like this: “When you want to pray, but you can’t quite find the right words, then it is the spirit who takes that inner groaning to the presence of the Father in words far more eloquent than any that you could utter.”
What is your hobby?
A mixture of reading, playing around with the computer and, when I get a chance, doing construction work.