Very Rev. Fr. John Lankeit, the youngest of three children from a devout Catholic family, first began sensing a call to the priesthood in 1989, shortly before graduating from Seattle University. After earning a degree in marketing and with a minor in psychology, he pursued a career in professional sports marketing with the Seattle Mariners. He later worked in the coffee industry, with a couple of stints in the high tech field sprinkled in. Toward the end of his pre-seminary career he began taking voice-acting lessons and dabbled in voice-overs, being featured in radio commercials and radio dramas. Despite enjoying financial and career success for a dozen years after college, he frequently asked himself, “Is this all there is to life?”
In the summer of 1997, three years before moving from Seattle to Phoenix, he made a 30 day silent retreat in the cloister of a Trappist monastery in Oregon. This encounter with profound silence established the seedbed for deeper discernment of the call to priesthood. Fr. Lankeit made a
work-related relocation to Phoenix in 2000, and during Lent of that year, began to have profound emotional experiences at Mass. One evening, while attending Mass with a group of young adult Catholic friends, one of these friends asked him, “Why is it that every time I’m at Mass with you, they’re talking about vocations to the priesthood?” That question unlocked the mystery of these mysterious spiritual “touches” he was receiving from the Lord at Mass, and helped him recognize that he was being called to the Catholic priesthood.
After five years of formation at St. Meinrad Seminary in Indiana, he was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Phoenix, on June 3, 2006, the Feast of St. Charles Lwanga and Companions, Martyrs. He was assigned as Parochial Vicar of St. Anne Catholic Church in Gilbert, where he served just under a year and a half before being named Pastor of Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church in Tolleson. He served at Blessed Sacrament for two-and-a-half years. On June 1, 2010, he began his current assignment as Rector of Ss. Simon & Jude Cathedral.
Fr. Lankeit feels immensely privileged to be a priest and loves the fact that priesthood involves him every day in what is truly most important in human life. Having discovered his vocation to follow Jesus Christ as a priest, he no longer asks, “Is this all there is to life?”
What’s a “rector?”
In the life of the Church, the priest designated by the bishop to head up a parish community is commonly referred to as the “pastor.” The proper pastor of a Cathedral parish is the bishop himself. Ordinarily, though, he appoints a priest to head up the Cathedral parish and to carry out the normal parish operations… this priest is known as the “rector’.
Who have been rectors here at Ss. Simon & Jude?
Fr. Paul Smith founded Ss. Simon & Jude Parish in the early 1950s and guided the parish for decades… even when it was elevated to the rank of Cathedral in late 1969. Fr. Michael McGovern served a brief stint as the Rector. Msgr. Richard Moyer was named the Rector in the late 1980s. Msgr. Michael O’Grady served as the Rector here from 1990-2005. Fr. Rob Clements was assigned as Rector in 2005, and served the Cathedral parish until June 2010, when Fr. John Lankeit was named to his current position as Rector of Ss. Simon & Jude Cathedral.