Published On: Fri, Sep 21st, 2012

Randolph native celebrates 20 years in priesthood

RANDOLPH — A Randolph native who is using his talents to help others on the path of their faith. recently marked an important anniversary.

Fr. David Korth recently celebrated 20 years of being in the priesthood.

Korth, a 1984 Randolph High School graduate, is the son of Margaret Korth, Randolph, and the late Leonard “Butch” Korth.

Growing up, Korth was a member of St. Jane Frances de Chantal Catholic Church, Randolph. After his high school graduation, he attended Mount Marty College, Yankton, S.D.

He then went to Conception Seminary College in Conception, Mo. Graduating from here in 1988, Korth then went to graduate school at Saint Paul Seminary School of Divinity, located in St. Paul, Minn.; he graduated from here in 1992.

Fr. David Korth was ordained a Catholic priest June 6, 1992, at St. Cecilia’s Cathedral, Omaha.

Korth was not attracted to the idea of becoming a priest until he was enrolled in the seminary.

“I felt God’s calling since I was in junior high, but I didn’t think I wanted to become a priest. Once I was enrolled in the seminary, I noticed it was right for me,” he said. “When I look back, I know God was preparing me to do this throughout high school.”

One of the ways he was prepared was through the help of one of his high school English teachers, Tom Barlow. Korth read the books, “Black Elk Speaks” and “I Heard the Owl Call My Name.” “Black Elk Speaks” covered Native American spirituality, which intrigued him.

“I Heard the Owl Call My Name” covered a priest who gave his service to a reservation in Canada. These two books would later lay the foundation to his service as a priest.

After he was ordained, he was named an associate pastor at St. Leo’s Church, Omaha. He served there for three years before becoming the associate pastor at St. Patrick’s Church, Fremont. During his three years of service there, he also taught high school religion classes at Fremont’s Archbishop Bergan Catholic School.

He was soon named pastor of St. Stanislaus Church, Duncan, and St. Lawrence Church, Silver Creek. During his five years there, he also served as the campus minister at Columbus Scotus High School.

An opportunity was soon available for Fr. Korth to go to Winnebago. He applied for the assignment and was granted the opportunity.

This was the first assignment to which he decided to go. He began his service in 2003, serving as pastor of four parishes: St. Augustine’s, Winnebago; St. Joseph’s, Walthill; St. Cornelius, Homer; and Our Lady of Fátima, Macy.

He also served as associate director of the St. Augustine Indian Mission School for two years.

Before long, the director of the mission school was named the executive director of Boys Town. This promoted Fr. David Korth to director of the St. Augustine Indian Mission School in 2005. To this day, he is still a pastor and the director of the mission school.

Korth noted how being a priest has changed him as an individual for the better.

“Since becoming a priest, I have always been mindful in my teachings. I am always first preaching to myself,” he said. “I know I am not perfect, and I am, just as everyone else is, striving for heaven.”

He said he has a profound responsibility to help all people get to heaven.

By being a priest on a Native American reservation, Fr. Korth has learned a lot about the culture of the Native American people. He said the Catholic faith is a wonderful thing to Native American spirituality. He appreciates how the Native American people are so tuned into their culture, as well as being good Catholics.

He touched on some of the cultural traits.

“Native Americans have a lot to teach each and every one of us in regards to the value of family. They also find God in all things, seeing all things as sacred. Sharing is also a fundamental part of the Native American culture,” he said.

Korth said the greatest challenge about being a priest is knowing he is making a difference.

“I often sow the seeds, but I do not always see the harvest. I have to have trust,” Korth said.

Fr. Korth enjoys bow hunting deer and turkey and pheasant hunting with his dog, Duncan, who was a going-away gift from his parish in Duncan. He also enjoys riding his bicycle and motorcycle.

He has had several highlights over his years as a priest. After doing a cartwheel during Mass, he was mentioned on the Paul Harvey show. He has also recorded Native American flute music with two albums now available on iTunes.

Fr. Korth is grateful for the opportunity every day to lead people closer to God.

“I could not be happier right now,” he said.

He says that after 20 years of service, he is still passionate about continuing his service.