Rev. Stephen M. Cook, Pastor
Our Pastor, Fr. Steve Cook, has been leading St. Peter’s Parish since 2009. The 13th of 15 children, Father Steve grew up on a farm in Clinton, Missouri. After high school, he entered the seminary at Conception Abbey in 1987. He also studied for the priesthood in Rome for five years, earning his canon law degree and traveling extensively throughout Europe, Africa and Asia. His travels took him to Jerusalem as well, where he spent a summer studying Hebrew at the Hebrew University.
Father Steve was ordained a priest in 1997. Since then, he has served as Associate Pastor of Visitation Parish in Kansas City, Pastor of St. Patrick’s Parish in Holden, Missouri, and Director of Vocations for the Kansas City-St. Joseph Diocese. Now, in addition to serving as Pastor for St. Peter’s, he is also Pastor of St. Therese Little Flower Parish and is serving as the Judicial Vicar for the diocese.
During his time in Holden, Father Steve worked with other area churches to start a program for at-risk youth. As Vocation Director, he helped create a program for seminarians to assist at the Bishop Sullivan Center and the Seton Center, both social service agencies devoted to helping the disadvantaged. At St. Peter’s, he has continued his commitment to service and community outreach by working with parish volunteers to form Urban Village, a ministry dedicated to improving social and economic opportunities for all who live within our parish boundaries and the community at large.
Rev. Bryan Amthor, Assistant Pastor
The road to the priesthood began for our Associate Pastor, Fr. Bryan Amthor, in the small town of Tarkio, Missouri. Although he and his brother were born to a farming family, Fr. Amthor felt a different call. With the encouragement of his parish priest and the loving support of his parents, he left home and attended Missouri’s only remaining seminary high school, St. Thomas in Hannibal. St. Thomas closed after only one year so Fr. Amthor returned to Tarkio to finish high school, but he was so anxious to get back to the seminary that he graduated a year early.
Fr. Amthor continued his education at Conception Seminary College in Conception, Missouri and Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas, where he received a degree in philosophy. After working for two years in Wichita, Kansas he returned to the seminary, first at St. Gregory the Great Seminary in Seward, Nebraska, and finally Pontifical College Josephinum in Columbus, Ohio. Fr. Amthor describes his unusual journey to the priesthood as providential, allowing him to see God’s grace in a wide variety of people and experiences.
After his ordination in May, 2015, Fr. Amthor came to St. Peter’s Parish, where he leads the Respect Life Committee, bringing issues of respect and reverence for all life to the forefront of the parish, and the RCIA program, for adults and families interested in becoming Catholic. He is a familiar presence in our school, and he also appears in a series of fun and informative videos called “Ask Fr. Amthor.” Watch “Ask Father Amthor” and “Ask Father Amthor about the Season of Lent.”
Rev. Terry Bruce, Retired Priest in Residence
Our senior priest in residence, Fr. Terry Bruce, is a proud graduate of St. Peter’s School. He attended Hogan High School and St. John’s Seminary in Kansas City before entering the seminary at Conception Abbey to study for the priesthood. He will celebrate the 50th anniversary of his ordination in 2017.
Fr.Terry celebrated his first Mass at St. Peter’s on Pentecost Sunday in 1967. Since then, he has served as Associate Pastor in four parishes and as Pastor in six, including Holy Trinity in Weston, St. Ann’s in Independence, St. Gregory’s in Maryville, St. Cyril’s in Sugar Creek, and Holy Cross and St. Elizabeth’s in Kansas City. He also spent a year and a half working as a missionary in Bolivia.
Throughout his priesthood, Fr. Terry has championed programs that encourage faith formation and offer assistance to the marginalized. He was instrumental in bringing Engaged Encounters marital preparation program to the Kansas City-St. Joseph Diocese, as well as Christ Renews His Parish (CRHP), a spiritual renewal retreat now offered at St. Peter’s and several area parishes.
Although he retired in 2013, Fr. Terry has since then served as Parish Administrator at St. Mary’s Parish in St. Joseph and currently at St. Margaret of Scotland Church in Lee’s Summit. Since his retirement, he has devoted much of his time to prison ministry. He frequently visits the incarcerated and actively supports Journey to New Life and Catholic Charities’ Turnaround, programs which assist men and women returning to the community from prison.