Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Father Bernie Etienne Wins National Recognition

Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Father Bernie Etienne Wins National Recognition

Article excerpt

The Rev. Bernard Etienne didn't start out to be a priest. But, in retrospect, he knows God was calling him from a very early age. "I felt the call as early as when I was five years old, but I ran from it I (developed a lifestyle) to move away from it," he said. "But (that calling) kept coming back."

The 54-year-old native of Tell City, Ind., now serves simultaneously as pastor at Holy Rosary Catholic Church in Evansville, dean of the Evansville East deanery and Vicar General of the Evansville Diocese. He recently was named

Distinguished Pastor of the Year by the National Catholic Education Association.

The Distinguished Pastor Award was implemented in 2008 to honor pastors who have given outstanding support to Catholic education, said Daryl Hagan, superintendent of Catholic schools for the Diocese of Evansville.

"Pastors are chosen on how well they lead their elementary and high schools, and how well they keep Christ at the center of that leadership," Hagan said. "NCEA is the largest private professional education organization in the world, representing 200,000 Catholic educators serving 7.6 million students in elementary and secondary schools, in religious education programs, in seminary, and in colleges and universities."

Etienne got a late start in the priesthood. He earned a degree in marketing from Indiana University in 1981 and began a successful career in medical surgical supply sales, covering a territory in Virginia and West Virginia.

Five years later. he was back in the Tri-State, selling orthopedic supplies. He became active in his parish, St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Newburgh, serving as a lector and member of the parish council, founding and leading a youth group and teaching freshman religious education classes there.

He bought a house, had a girlfriend.

"And then I blew out a knee," he said. …

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