Four priests of the archdiocese retiring in 2018

Father Ardel Barta, sacramental priest for the Heart of Mary Cluster (St. Mary Parish in Urbana, Sacred Heart Parish in Walker and St. Mary Parish in Vinton), was born Aug. 20, 1937, to Omer and Bertha (Brecht) Barta of Fairfax.

He graduated from Loras College and completed his theological studies at Mount St. Bernard Seminary, both in Dubuque.

He was ordained March 9, 1963, at Immaculate Conception Church, Cedar Rapids, by Bishop George Biskup.

His first assignment was as an associate at St. Cecilia Parish, Ames, 1963-66.

He served as an associate at Nativity, Dubuque, 1966-71; St. Columbkille’s, Dubuque, 1971-74; Blessed Sacrament, Waterloo, 1974-80; and St. Pius X, Cedar Rapids, 1980-84.

He was pastor of St. Thomas Aquinas, Webster City, 1984-89; St. John’s, Independence, 1989-95; and All Saints, Rowley, 1994-95.

He served as dean of the Eagle Grove Deanery, 1984-89, and the Independence Deanery, 1989-95.

In Dubuque, he was sacramental priest at St. Patrick’s from 1997 and at St. Mary’s from 1999 until 2008. He also served as master of ceremonies for the archbishop.

He has served as sacramental priest in Urbana, Walker and Vinton since 2009.

To celebrate Father Barta’s retirement, there will be an open house for the Heart of Mary Cluster on Sunday, July 8 from 3-5 p.m. at St. Mary’s hall in Urbana.

Father Joseph Hauer, pastor of Resurrection Parish in Dubuque, was born Jan. 20, 1951, in New Hampton to Gregory and Bernice (Bodensteiner) Hauer.

He graduated from Loras College in Dubuque in 1973 and completed his theological studies at The Saint Paul Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota.

He was ordained on May 23, 1981, at St. Raphael’s Cathedral by Archbishop James J. Byrne.

He was associate pastor of St. John’s in Independence and All Saints in Rowley and a member of the faculty of St. John’s High School in Independence, 1981-84.

He was associate pastor of St. Joseph’s in Marion, 1984-86. He was in graduate studies, 1986-88, earning a license in canon law.

He was pastor of St. John’s in Placid, 1988-2000.

He was director of the Permanent Diaconate Program, 1988-93; associate director of vocations, 1988-89; and defender of the bond, 1988-91.

He was director of vocations, 1989-91, and director of seminarians, 1991-2000. He served as director of continuing formation of clergy, 1989-97.

He continued graduate studies in Rome, 2000-2003, completing a doctorate in canon law (JCD) at the Angelicum (University of St. Thomas).

He was judicial vicar, 1991-2000, and archdiocesan chancellor, 1994-99.

He has been pastor of Resurrection Parish in Dubuque since 2002.

He has served on a variety of archdiocesan boards and commissions, including the Archdiocesan Pastoral Council, 1986-88; the Seminary Board, 1988-2000; and the Continuing Education Board, 1989-97. He has also served on the Permanent Diaconate Board.

As he reflected on his years in the priesthood, Father Hauer expressed gratitude.

“I’ve had a wide variety of experiences which I would never have had in any other profession, including five years studying in Rome, but beyond a doubt my service at St. John’s in Independence, St. Joseph’s in Marion, St. John’s in Placid and the Church of the Resurrection in Dubuque has been the most life giving experience because of the pastoral ministry and the people I’ve encountered,” said Father Hauer. 

A retirement celebration is planned for Sunday, July 8 at Resur­rection Parish after all Masses. 

Father John O’Connor was born March 21, 1933, at Dougherty, Iowa, to Everett and Mary Bertha (Merfeld) O’Connor.

He graduated from Loras College and had his theological training at Mount St. Bernard Seminary, both in Dubuque.

On Feb. 1, 1958, he was ordained at St. Raphael Cathedral in Dubuque by Archbishop Leo Binz.

He served as an assistant pastor at St. Anthony Parish, Dubuque, 1958-63, and Immaculate Conception Parish, Cedar Rapids, 1963-68.

He was appointed to the teaching staff of Wahlert Catholic High School, Dubuque, 1960-63 and 1968-84.

During this time, he also served as dean of discipline, director of development, and had care of the physical plants at Wahlert, Regina Convent and Vianney House.

From 1984-88, he was director of development for the Archdiocesan Office of Catholic Education.

Father O’Connor was appointed pastor of St. John Parish, ­Placid, 1985-88, and St. Joseph Parish, Key West, 1988-96.

He was the pastor of the parishes of St. Boniface, New Vienna, and SS. Peter & Paul, Petersburg, from 1996 through 2017. On Jan. 1, 2018, he became the sacramental priest for the two parishes and will serve in this role until his retirement next month. 

A retirement celebration is planned for Father O’Connor for Sunday, July 15. Mass will be held at 10 a.m. at St. Boniface Parish, New Vienna, followed by a reception at the New Vienna Hall.

Father Joseph Schneider, pastor of ­Blessed Trinity Cluster, was born April 27, 1948, in Dubuque and grew up in Cedar Falls, son of John and Elsie Schneider.

He graduated from Loras College and took his theology training at The Saint Paul Seminary, St. Paul, Minnesota. He was ordained at his home parish, St. Patrick’s, Cedar Falls, on May 25, 1974, by Archbishop James J. Byrne.

His first assignment was as associate at St. Patrick’s, Cedar Rapids, and to the faculty of LaSalle High School.

In 1979, he was appointed associate pastor of St. Mary’s, Cascade, and also served at Aquin School of Religion and as administrator of Immaculate Conception, Sand Springs.

He was named associate pastor of Assumption Parish, Cresco, and to the faculty of Notre Dame High School, 1982-1985; St. Mary’s, Manchester, 1985-1988; and St. Paul School of Religion, Manchester, 1985-1991. He accepted pastorates at St. Joseph Parish, Greeley, in 1988; and to St. Patrick’s, Cedar Rapids, in 1991.

He served as pastor of Visitation, Stacy­ville; St. Ansgar’s, St. Ansgar; and Sacred Heart, Meyer, 1996-2002; and St. Mary’s, Dorchester; St. Mary’s, Hanover; and St. Patrick’s, Waukon, 2002-2013. He is pastor of Blessed Trinity Cluster — Manchester, Masonville and Ryan — and pastoral coordinator of St. Paul School of Religion in Manchester.

As he prepares to retire from active ministry in July, he reflected on his time serving the Lord. 

“I have 44 years of priesthood,” said Father Schneider. “My plan never matched God’s plan, but his plan always turned out better than mine.”

The priest will retire to a home he owns in Minnesota by the water. “I have the best view of any part along the Mississippi, from Lansing to La Crescent,” he said.

Father Schneider believes saying goodbye to his current parish will be a challenge, but he is hopeful for the future. 

“All through our lives, we have death experiences, but death experiences are always followed by resurrection,” said the priest. “God has always shown his love and care for me and other people. I’ve had so many God moments in my priesthood.”

St. Mary Parish will host a reception to celebrate Father Schneider’s retirement June 24 after a 10 a.m. Mass until 2 p.m. Cards can be sent to PO Box 324, Brownsville, MN, 55919.