Monsignor Lewis Gaetano was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Steubenville on May 18, 1973. Originally from Canton, Monsignor Gaetano has served many roles in his half-century as a priest, including pastor, missionary and teacher.
After earning his bachelor’s degree at Mount St. Mary’s Seminary in Cincinnati, he took a year off for further discernment and felt he was being called to the Diocese of Steubenville. He accepted a job teaching religion at Steubenville Central Catholic High School and decided to enter St. John Vianney Seminary in Bloomingdale a year later.
Steubenville Bishop John Mussio ordained him in 1973. For the Diocese of Steubenville, Monsignor Gaetano served in various parishes, in addition to teaching at St. Joseph Preparatory Seminary in Vienna, West Virginia, in the diocesan deacon and lay formation program and in campus ministry at Bethany College in Bethany, West Virginia, and he served as administrator at Steubenville Central Catholic High School. He also served as the director of the diocesan Office of Diaconate and Ministry Formation for the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, where he traveled throughout West Virginia, creating pastoral centers.
He was named a prelate of honor in 1990, receiving the title “Monsignor.”
He received permission to return to Canton in 1998, to be near his ailing mother, and began teaching at Walsh University. There, he created the master’s program in theology, becoming the chair of the department. He also started an urban outreach program with his students and began offering Spanish Masses at the Hartville Migrant Center.
Bishop George V. Murry, S.J., incardinated him into the Diocese of Youngstown in 2008, where he went on to serve as pastor at Christ the Servant Parish until his retirement last year. Other roles he has held over the years include director of the Diocesan Initiatives Program for the Diocese of Youngstown and president of the Stark County Regional Catholic School System.
About his retirement, Monsignor Gaetano, who stays busy teaching at Walsh and traveling, said, “I am happy that I have been able to take a deep breath and able to slow down a little. The priesthood continues to be an enchanted journey … and it has made all the difference.”