As Deacon Tom moves on to new adventures, SVdP Indy welcomes another friendly face. Father Jeffrey Godecker, or Father Jeff as he’s fondly called, is now serving as the Spiritual Advisor to the SVdP Indianapolis Council.
We hope you’ll have the opportunity to meet him. Keep reading to learn more about his background, experience and role with SVdP.
- Hometown: New Albany, Indiana
- Seminary and ordination: He attended Saint Meinrad Seminary and School of Theology in Southern Indiana. He was ordained in 1969.
- First assignment: Roncalli High School – “To be honest, I was disappointed at first. I wanted to be at a parish. But I ended up loving it! I was there for 10 years and taught religion, too,” he recalls. “At the time, religion was serious and solemn. That’s not high school students, though. I worked to bring joy to religion and a sense that it was not only for our salvation, but for being with and helping others.”
- Educational focus: While it wasn’t Father Jeff’s plan to be involved in education, almost all of his assignments had some educational element. In addition to teaching at Roncalli, he served in campus ministry (IUPUI and Butler), youth ministry and even an administrative role with the Archdiocese.
- Parish assignments: He also served at St. Andrew and Immaculate Heart of Mary, both in Indy.
- Outreach: Wherever he was, Father Jeff was interested in outreach and encouraged others to join his efforts. From a canned food drive at Roncalli, to a Honduras mission trip and community garden at Immaculate Heart, Father Jeff was always outwardly focused on helping those in need. “Advocating for the poor has always been a characteristic of my ministry, wherever I’ve been,” he says.
- SVdP connection: Father Jeff, retired for nine years now, first became connected with SVdP Indy during the pandemic. He was concerned about food and hunger in the community. He read about SVdP and some of the creative ways it was still reaching people. “The poor and those living on the margins have always been a priority for me,” Father Jeff shares. “When Paul Ainslie called to ask me to serve as Spiritual Advisor, it didn’t take long for me to say yes. This role fits well with my interests. I have high respect for the work and attitudes of SVdP staff and volunteers. They really care and respect those they serve.”
- Ministry of availability: As Spiritual Advisor, Father Jeff attends SVdP Indy Council meetings and is also charged with training any Spiritual Advisors to the district councils. “I try and spend a few hours when I go,” he explains. “Any ministry is really about being present—being around and available to pray or help in whatever way is needed.”