Father Chad Wahl is looking forward to his first harvest festival.
That’s the annual two-day event later this month at St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church as well as its major fundraiser.
For Wahl, this is his first assignment as pastor in his eight years with the Stockton diocese.
“I’m familiar with the festival,” he said Wednesday from his office in the parish building.
Wahl was previously at St. Bernard’s in Tracy. In recent years, both parish festivals have been held on the same weekends, where most folks do attend both events.
The new pastor at the Manteca parish is originally from Ohio. He was born and raised in Zanesville area, where he and his family – included are his two brothers Rob and Aaron – were active in St. Nicholas parish.
Wahl also attended elementary school and Bishop Rosecrans High, graduating in 1993.
He studied fine arts, majoring in graphic design and ceramics. After high school, Wahl went to Ohio University for two years and later entered the Legionary seminary in Cheshire, Conn.
He earned a degree in philosophy and theology in Rome at the Regina Apostolorum University.
It was also in Rome in 2006 that Wahl was ordained into the priesthood.
This was all part of his 20-year journey that finally brought him to Manteca. “I never expected to come to California,” Wahl said.
He’s been heavily involved in youth ministries throughout the state, including various camps.
In Santa Cruz, for example, he inherited a surf camp.
“Before that, I had never been on a surf board,” said Wahl, who braved the waters with other young people in places such as Huntington Beach, outside Paso Robles, and Santa Cruz.
Fr. Chad, as he’s known to parishioners, will continue to focus on the youth as well as his other responsibilities.
“I’ve been busy learning the ropes and a few new things since I arrived here (on June 1),” he said. “So I came in at mid stride.”
To contact reporter Vince Rembulat, e-mail email@example.com.