Former Elkhorn pastor grateful for ministry
Editors note: Seven archdiocesan priests retired this year, each after decades of service. Links to each story are at the bottom of the webpage.
After 45 years of priesthood, Father Gary Ostrander said it’s time to slow down.
The 71-year-old priest, most recently pastor of St. Patrick Parish in Elkhorn, said that in retirement he hopes to assist at urban and rural parishes, but looks forward to getting away from the pressures and worries of being an administrator. An avid golfer, he also plans to make a couple of golf trips every year, he said.
"I look forward to doing more ‘priestly’ activities – celebrating the Eucharist, hearing confessions, doing adult education, helping folks in the annulment process," said Father Ostrander, who in retirement will live at the Elkhorn parish’s rectory. "Most priests want to ‘die with their boots on’ and that is my intention."
The Lincoln native attended St. John Seminary near Elkhorn – now Mount Michael Benedictine High School – and St. Thomas Seminary in Denver before being ordained in 1971 by the late Archbishop Daniel E. Sheehan.
Father Ostrander began his priestly service as assistant pastor of Sacred Heart Parish in Norfolk and served as associate pastor of three Omaha parishes. He was pastor of three rural parishes and two Omaha-area parishes, including St. Patrick. He also was an archdiocesan consultor and served on the priests’ council.
Deacon Bud Simmonds, who served with Father Ostrander at St. Patrick, said the priest is an excellent homilist and teacher.
"Speaking for my fellow deacons at St. Pat’s, we’ve learned a great deal about Mass, conducting meetings and how to engage those who are in need," he said.
Father Ostrander said he feels extremely blessed to be a priest of the Archdiocese of Omaha and celebrate the sacraments.
And he is grateful for the people he served.
"In every parish there were wonderful, faith-filled Catholics who have supported me and helped me grow in my priesthood and my spiritual life."
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