Bishop announces changes in parish, diocesan personnel

Most changes in May 3 decree to take effect July 1


Bishop W. Shawn Mc-Knight has issued a decree appointing several priests to new assignments in parishes and in the Chancery Offices of the Jefferson City diocese.

Most of the changes will take effect July 1.

Priests taking up new parish assignments announced the news to their parishioners at Mass the weekend of May 6-7.

Father Joseph Luzindana, associate pastor of St. Thomas More Newman Center Parish in Columbia, has been appointed associate pastor of Cathedral of St. Joseph Parish in Jefferson City and moderator of Youth and Young Adult Ministry for the diocese.

Father Paul Clark, currently serving as moderator of Youth and Young Adult Ministry, will continue in his other roles as diocesan vocation director, director of seminarians, and chaplain at Helias Catholic High School in Jefferson City.

Succeeding Fr. Luzindana as associate pastor of St. Thomas More Newman Center Parish in Columbia will be Father Andrew A. Auer, a priest of the Archdiocese of St. Louis.

Father Derek J. Hooper and Father Philip M. Kane will switch assignments.

Fr. Kane, currently parochial administrator of St. Joseph Parish in Martinsburg, Sacred Heart Parish in Vandalia and the Mission of St. John in Laddonia, will become associate pastor of St. George Parish in Hermann, Church of the Risen Savior Parish in Rhineland, Immaculate Conception Parish in Owensville and St. Alexander Parish in Belle.

Fr. Hooper, currently associate pastor of the parishes in Hermann, Rhineland, Owensville and Belle, will become parochial administrator of the parishes in Martinsburg and Vandalia and the Mission in Laddonia.

Father Paulinus C. Aneke, PhD., currently temporary associate pastor of Ss. Peter & Paul Parish in Boonville and St. Joseph Parish in Pilot Grove, will become parochial administrator of St. Anthony Parish in Camdenton.

He will succeed Father Daniel L. Vacca, a priest of the Diocese of Wichita, Kansas, who will return to his home diocese after serving in Camdenton for four years.

Father Simeon A. Etonu, pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Edina, St. Aloysius Parish in Baring and St. John Parish in Memphis, has been granted a leave of absence to complete studies in canon law at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., from May 15 until Aug. 31 of this year.

Father Walter Kispotta, currently associate pastor of St. Andrew Parish in Holts Summit, having recently provided temporary coverage at Holy Rosary Parish in Monroe City and St. Stephen Parish in Indian Creek, will serve as temporary administrator of the Edina, Baring and Memphis parishes during Fr. Etonu’s absence.

Father Colin Franklin, pastor of St. George Parish in Linn and Our Lady Help of Christians Parish in Frankenstein; and Father Mark Smith, pastor of Ss. Peter & Paul Parish in Boonville and St. Joseph Parish in Pilot Grove, have returned to their assignments from health leave.

Father Jason T. Doke will step down as moderator of the curia for the Chancery offices and will continue as pastor of St. Martin Parish in St. Martins, dean of the See City Deanery, and chairman of the Diocesan Building Commission.

A successor as moderator of the curia will not be appointed at this time.

Bishop McKnight in July 2019 appointed Fr. Doke to serve as full-time moderator of the curia, but later added pastor of St. Martin Parish, chairman of the Diocesan Building Commission and dean of the See City Deanery to Fr. Doke’s list of responsibilities.

At the same time, Fr. Doke noted, “the Chancery has added many new staff members and we have developed standard operating procedures to serve Bishop McKnight’s vision for the diocese.”

As such, the majority of his duties in the Chancery offices will be taken up by other Chancery personnel.

Titles and ongoing pursuits

Under Church law, each parish is entrusted to a pastor who “exercises the pastoral care of the community entrusted to him under the authority of the diocesan Bishop, whose ministry of Christ he is called to share, so that for this community he may carry out the offices of teaching, sanctifying and governing.” (c. 519)

A parochial administrator possesses the same rights and responsibilities as a pastor, though in certain cases his authority can be more clearly defined by the bishop.

An associate pastor cooperates with the pastor and under his authority shares his labor of pastoral ministry. (cf. c. 545)

This Decree of Appointments — dated May 3, 2023, signed by Bishop McKnight and authenticated by Benjamin Roodhouse, chancellor of the diocese — reflects the bishop’s and his advisors’ best efforts to build up the Church and promote the sacramental life throughout these 38 counties.

Bishop McKnight made the appointments following extensive consultation with the diocesan Priests’ Personnel Board and his cabinet of advisors.

His objective was “to provide the most effective pastoral care for the Diocese of Jefferson City.”

The full Decree of Appointments can be found online at