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Getting to Know ... Fr. Andy Gonzalez, Lake Catholic Chaplain

September 28, 2023
By Lake Catholic

This is the second in a series introducing new members of the Lake Catholic community.


When Bishop Edward Malesic celebrated the school year-opening mass at Lake Catholic, he made two important announcements – one that received loud cheers and applause from the students and one that will have a more lasting impact on the students.

As he typically does when he visits, Bishop Malesic let everyone know that the students, faculty and staff can have a day off of school/work on him. Mr. McKrill, after conferring with members of the senior class, announced that day would be October 16.

That day will come and go though.

But it was the second announcement that will have a more lasting effect on the students. Bishop Malesic made public that Fr. Andy Gonzalez, the newly appointed vicar at St. Gabriel Parish, will also serve as chaplain here at Lake Catholic.

“Once my move was announced to St. Gabriel Parish (from Holy Family in Stow, Ohio), I was asked if I would be willing to be a regular presence here at Lake Catholic,” Fr. Andy said. “It’s very open-ended from my perspective. My main mission is to offer mass, but I could be present in other ways too.”

Fr. Andy has already started celebrating mass every Thursday morning at 715a in the school’s chapel. He might also be spotted in a few theology classes or the Campus Ministry office.

“I have two older brothers and 10 nieces and nephews, who range from preschool to college,” he said. “Those experiences have helped me with my work with kids and teens. I’m comfortable with them and I hope they’re comfortable with me.”

Working with kids and teens, or even being a priest for that matter, is a far stretch from where Fr. Andy was 10-15 years ago.

After graduating from Olmsted Falls High School in 2002, Fr. Andy (or just Andy at that point) enrolled at Baldwin Wallace University, where we would earn his undergraduate degree in computer information systems.

He even had a job after college at a software company in Westlake. He worked in that industry for six years. But in 2013, he made the decision to leave that world and entered St. Mary Seminary and Graduate School of Theology.

“I was just in a job and a place in my life where I knew I needed a change,” he said.

So there he was, a 29-year-old entering the seminary to become a priest.

“Moving from one point in my life to this one wasn’t easy,” he said. “There was a lot of formation. I created a lot of strong relationships. They taught me how to be a priest.”

While in the seminary, he did help support Campus Ministry at St. Edward for a semester. And he said he sees similarities between that brief time and how he views his role here at Lake Catholic.

“I can be on the ground, in the field, wherever there are needs,” he said. “How can I help have Jesus enter these halls.”

He’ll continue to have his “normal priestly duties” – saying mass, confession, etc. – at St. Gabes. But both there and here, he said he’s going to continue to find his way and see how he best fits.

“There’s something oddly freeing about it, about being new,” he said. “There’s no hardened fast rules or expectations. I can just go where my attention needs to be.”

Quick Hits
  • Enjoys exercising and working out. Enjoys the outdoors. He is a part of the Holy Hiking club at St. Gabes.
  • Loves reading. He’s currently in the middle of five different books, including working through Dante’s Divine Comedy.

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