Father Lou Turcotte (left) joined St. Stephen Catholic Church to support the parish and share the good news. Father Joshua Hare (right) is looking forward to sharing his love for Jesus and serving at St. Stephen Catholic Church.

St. Stephen Catholic Church welcomed two new parochial vicars, Fathers Lou Turcotte and Joshua Hare, to its parish on July 1.

Turcotte has served as a priest for five years now, with former assignments in Lutz and St. Petersburg. At St. Stephen, his role as a parochial vicar or associate pastor, like Hare, will be to assist the parish’s pastor, Father Dermot Dunne.

“This is one of the largest churches I’ve ever been a part of, both as a priest and during my time in studies. But there is a wonderful spirit here that makes it seem smaller and more welcoming than at first glance,” said Turcotte.

The Clearwater native attended the University of Florida before pursuing his ordination. While not working, Turcotte enjoys watching soccer or playing disc golf.

“My hopes and goals will really come from the heart of the people here as I learn what makes this faith family tick. In the meantime, I plan on preaching Jesus and the incredible love He has for each of us,” said Turcotte. “I’m expecting God to show me what the next step is going to be.”

Hare was born in Florida and graduated from Hernando High School. He attended nine years of seminary education before being ordained in 2019.

“There are two main areas that I am eager to focus on: youth ministry and RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults). RCIA holds a special place in my heart because, like many others, I wasn’t born into the Catholic faith,” said Hare.  “… Additionally, I have a great love for youth ministry. … I look forward to sharing my zeal for helping our young people grow in their knowledge and love for Jesus Christ.”

Hare enjoys smoking meat and fishing when he is not offering mass. He also enjoys trying new things and is looking forward to his new experiences in Riverview.

“I am overwhelmed with joy to have been assigned to St. Stephen’s. In just three weeks, the warm hospitality shown by everyone in the Riverview area has made me feel truly welcomed,” said Hare.

Turcotte and Hare were welcomed after Fathers Izzie Hernandez and Anthony Ustick left, following assignments to different parishes. Turcotte admitted he has big shoes to fill, but, alongside Hare, he looks forward to their future at St Stephen.

St. Stephen Catholic Church is located at 10118 St. Stephen Cir. off Boyette Road in Riverview. For more information on St. Stephen, visit https://ststephencatholic.org/staff or call the church office at 813-689-4900.

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Lily Belcher
Lily Belcher is a writer for the Osprey Observer. She started as an intern in the summer of 2020 and has continued to write for the Osprey Observer since completing her internship. Lily is majoring in mass communications at the University of South Florida and is a staff writer for the university’s paper, The Oracle. She enjoys writing about local nonprofit organizations and community role models who have made an impact on her hometown.