Father Bill McNeeley, Pastor
Fr. Bill McNeeley is the youngest of six children of Gene and Madeline McNeeley of Norris, TN. After high school, he spent several years as a navy hospital corpsman. After that, he completed pre-med studies at U. T. Chattanooga, but when it was time for a career decision, he believed he would be a better physician of souls than of the body. During his senior year of college he married his wife, Sherri.
Fr. Bill received a Master of Divinity degree and was ordained a priest in the Episcopal Church in 1985. Bill and Sherri have two grown children, Luke and Kate. Fr. Bill says that when he signs a letter or an email to his children, he likes to sign it “Father Dad”.
After fifteen years as an Anglican priest, Fr. Bill started reading and learning about the Catholic Church. A friend loaned him a copy of The Catechism of the Catholic Church. After 15 minutes, he looked over to his wife, Sherri and said, “Hey! This is what they were supposed to teach us in seminary.” He read the whole Catechism and was hooked. In October 2000, he resigned from his parish in middle Tennessee and came home to Knoxville. He was received into the Catholic Church at the Easter Vigil in 2001, and over the next several years, he continued his studies and pursued the “Pastoral Provision” a process for ordained ministers of protestant churches to be reconciled with the Catholic Church. On March 21, 2005, his petition for ordination was presented by Cardinal Ratzinger to Blessed John Paul II on their last work session before the Holy Father died. The petition was approved, and Fr. Bill was ordained a Catholic priest on June 3, 2007.
Father Bill states that there is nothing as wonderful as being able to say “I am a priest in the church of God, without having to explain, qualify or clarify what I mean.” As the scripture says “You are a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek of old.”
Father Michael Hendershott, S.T.L.
Father Michael Hendershott was born in Johnson City, Tennessee, and he grew up in Farragut with his five sisters and two brothers. St. John Neumann Catholic Church was his home parish. In the Fall of 2007, he entered the seminary for the Diocese of Knoxville. The then-Bishop Joseph E. Kurtz sent him to study philosophy at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. After four years of college seminary, he earned his Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy.
Then Bishop Richard F. Stika sent him to Kenrick-Glennon Seminary in St. Louis for one year of theology and then to the Pontifical North American College in Rome, Italy for four more years of theology school. In June 2014, he completed a Bachelor of Sacred Theology (S.T.B.) and then in June 2016 he completed a Licentiate of Sacred Theology (S.T.L.) with a specialization in Dogmatic Theology.
Father Michael Hendershott is assigned full-time to Knoxville Catholic High School as a Religion teacher, is a Priest in Residence at Holy Ghost Catholic Church, and serves part-time as an associate vocations director for the Diocese of Knoxville.
Deacon Gordy Lowery
Deacon Gordy Lowery and his wife, Fran, are natives of Geneva, NY. He was transferred to Tennessee in 1995 with Philips Consumer Electronics. He converted to the Roman Catholic faith in 2001. Deacon Gordy was ordained on June 9, 2007. Before his transfer to Holy Ghost Church in August 2014, he served at Holy Trinity Church in Jefferson City, TN
He graduated from Rochester Institute of Technology with a Bachelor of Science Degree. He later went on to the University of Tennessee and received a Master of Science degree in Human Resource Development.
Deacon Gordy and Fran have been married 47 years. They have two children and one grandchild.
Deacon Gordy and Fran are coordinators for the Enthronement of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Deacon Gordy is the spiritual director of the Legion of Mary both for the adults of Holy Ghost Church and the children at St. Joseph School. Deacon Gordy and Fran are also involved in RCIA, visiting newly weds, visiting recent widows/widowers. Deacon Gordy is currently leading the Hispanics in Exposition and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament on the 4th Tuesday of each month.
Deacon Gordy and Fran are so happy to be part of the spiritual family at Holy Ghost Church.
Deacon Scott Maentz
Deacon Scott was raised in Holland, Michigan. Career moves brought him to many places around the country and he settled in Tennessee in 2001 with his wife Christine. They have five children and fourteen grandchildren.
Assigned to Holy Ghost in 2016, he was transferred to Our Lady of Fatima in 2018 and re-assigned to Holy Ghost in 2020. He is excited to be back!
Deacon Scott assists the Diocese of Knoxville with communications and video production. He was ordained a permanent deacon in June 2016 at Sacred Heart Cathedral by Bishop Richard F. Stika.
His primary ministry is to the homeless, heading up the Knoxville Bridge Ministry for the diocese, which serves a hot lunch monthly at the Knox Area Rescue Ministries (KARM) outdoor courtyard in downtown Knoxville. You can learn more about Deacon Scott at his website, deaconscott.com, where he publishes his homilies and other items of interest to him.