Valley Catholic photo
Fr. Jeff Meeuwsen blesses students and staff during a school Mass at Valley Catholic. The school later surprised him and named him distinguished alumnus for the year.
Valley Catholic photo
Fr. Jeff Meeuwsen blesses students and staff during a school Mass at Valley Catholic. The school later surprised him and named him distinguished alumnus for the year.
BEAVERTON — On a morning early this month, Father Jeff Meeuwsen came to Valley Catholic to preside at Mass and deliver a homily about hope, gentleness and love at an all-school Mass during Catholic Schools Week.

At the end of the Mass, Father Meeuwsen asked everyone in the Valiants Gym to take a seat for final remarks by Bob Weber, president of Valley Catholic School. Father Meeuwsen believed the remarks would focus on the rest of the school day and other Catholic Schools Week activities.

Instead, Father Meeuwsen heard the surprise announcement that he would receive the 2016 Valley Catholic Distinguished Alumni Award. The gym erupted with applause.

Weber described Father Meeuwsen as “someone who truly exemplifies all that we strive to be on this campus and beyond.  He has dedicated his life to serving others and carries out the mission of the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon in his daily life.”

Father Meeuwsen was a member of the first coed class at Valley Catholic High School. He spent summers doing farm work to pay for his high school tuition and graduated in 1995.

Ed Braun, chair of the religion department, has taught at Valley Catholic since 1992. “Jeff was a great guy,” he said. “I don’t think I ever heard him say anything bad about anyone. I think that’s one of the reasons everyone liked him.”

Krista Jacobson, principal of Valley Catholic Early Learning School, was a classmate. “Jeff valued the opportunities Valley Catholic offered him — a strong education, extracurricular activities such as basketball and glee club, supportive teachers who pushed him to be his very best and friendships that have lasted more than 20 years,” Jacobson explains.

“I’m very humbled by this honor,” Father Meeuwsen said. “I’m just happy to follow God’s call and do the ministry of the church.”

Born in Hillsboro, Father Meeuwsen is one of four children born to Allen “Sam” and Kelleen Meeuwsen. His childhood home was next door to St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Roy, where he attended grade school before going on to Valley Catholic.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in religious studies from Gonzaga University in 1999. In fall 2001, he entered Mount Angel Seminary. He was ordained a deacon in May 2006 and ordained a priest on June 9, 2007.

His ministry across Oregon has included service at Sacred Heart Elementary School in Gervais, St. Joseph the Worker Parish in Portland, Blanchet High School in Salem and St. Cecilia Parish in Beaverton.

At the urging of Archbishop John Vlazny, he earned his license in Canon Law from the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas in Rome in June 2015. Father Meeuwsen also has served at St. Edward Catholic Church in North Plains, St. Anthony’s Catholic Church in Forest Grove, and Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Medford.
 
To see a video from the event, go to www.youtube.com/watch?v=zrYKruNnkSU