First Friday Club Thursday, July 6, 2017
Father Bob Stec
Born to Frank and Rita Stec, Father Bob is the third of six children. He always felt a calling to serve the Lord throughout his years at St. Charles Borromeo Grade School and Padua Franciscan High School. He graduated as ‘Mr. Padua’ in 1979 and followed his calling to Borromeo Seminary.
He graduated from St. Mary Seminary in 1988 and was assigned to St. Gabriel and later St. Richard Parish. He was appointed Vocation Director of the Diocese of Cleveland, a position he held for eleven years. During this time, The FEST, an annual Catholic Family Festival, became a reality, and is now in its l7th year.
The FEST (www.TheFEST.us) began as a follow up to World Youth Day in Rome and had about 1,500 people in attendance its first year. It has since grown into the highlight of the summer for thousands of people from across the region, attracting 39,000+ annually for a day of faith, family, fun and music – all for free!
In December 2005, Father Bob was appointed Pastor of St. Ambrose parish in Brunswick. In his first year at St. Ambrose, he began Mission Possible, a mission outreach program to the Dominican Republic (www.MissionPossible.us). Over 200 missionaries have since made the annual trip to Higuey, Dominican Republic to build homes, introduce others to Christ and change lives. In addition to the homes, a Church, school, medical/dental clinic, community center, baseball field and job training center have all been built under the guidance of Father Bob.
His humanitarian efforts are also very visible in the Greater Cleveland area where a west side effort – Alpha Village – was established. Residents, many of them refugee families, are helped with every day necessities and time is spent distributing winter clothing, food for the holidays and an annual spring clean up and home repair day.
In 2014, St. Ambrose was nominated as one of the ‘top 12’ Catholic Parishes in North America at creating Disciples. Under the leadership of Father Bob, St. Ambrose continues to grow in size and service to the Lord with over 5,200 families and 150+ parish ministry groups.
With heroine use touching the lives of greater Clevelanders in epidemic proportion, he felt compelled to do something. In 2016 he brought together parish leaders of all faiths, community leaders and law enforcement. In this regard, the Greater than Heroin Campaign was launched.
With the death of Father Thomas Dunphy, the Diocese of Cleveland recently appointed Father Bob as the Administrator of Saint Martin Parish, Valley City. This is in addition to his responsibilities at Saint Ambrose. Father Bob will continue in this role until such time as a new pastor is named.
As a well -known community leader, he has been the recipient of many prestigious awards…Catholic Man of the Year; Med-Wish International Humanitarian Award; Medina County Distinguished Citizen Award and the Key to the City of Brunswick….just to name a few!
With his hectic schedule, and community efforts, he still finds time, on occasion, to enjoy ATVing, snowmobiling, rock climbing, and even a great bonfire!