Monsignor Kenneth W. Roeltgen, 54, pastor of St. Stephen Martyr Catholic Church in Northwest Washington, D.C. since June 1997, died April 7 after an unexpected recurrence of cancer.
Msgr. Roeltgen served as rector of Mount St. Mary's Seminary for nine years, from 1988-1997. Upon learning of Msgr. Roeltgen's death the day after he visited with him, Fr. Kevin Rhoades expressed gratitude to God for Msgr.'s priestly life and ministry, especially at the Mount. "Msgr. Roeltgen was a good and holy priest. His wonderful priestly ministry touched the lives of hundreds of our alumni and countless lay people as he imitated the example of Christ the Good Shepherd in such a beautiful way."
Ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Washington in 1979, his first assignment was as associate pastor of Church of the Little Flower in Bethesda, Md. from 1979-1984. He then served as assistant director and then director of vocations for the Archdiocese of Washington until 1987.
In those positions, he assisted men discerning a vocation to the priesthood and oversaw the formation and evaluation of seminarians preparing to become priests.
Msgr. Roeltgen also served as an advocate on the Archdiocesan marriage tribunal, was an elected member of the Archdiocesan Council of Priests from 1982-1985, the director of continuing education for clergy and a member of the Priests' Personnel Board for many years. Recently named pastor of Annunciation parish in Northwest Washington, he was to have started in that post in April.
He was born on December 22, 1947 in Irvington, N.J., where he attended St. Leo School and Archbishop Walsh High School. He received a B.A. in history from The Catholic University of America in 1971; a master of education from Massachusetts State College in Worcester, Mass. in 1975; a master's degree in psychology and counseling from Assumption College in Worcester, Mass. in 1975; and degrees in theology from the University of St. Thomas in Rome, Italy in 1978 and 1979. He was a member of the Xaverian Brothers from 1965-1976 and taught at St. John's High School in Shrewsbury, Mass. from 1971-1976.
He is survived by his mother, Madeline Roeltgen of Morganton, N.C., and by two siblings, David J. Roeltgen and Karen Yuschak.
A vigil was held April 11at St. Stephen Martyr in Washington, D.C. The funeral was held April 12 at the Church of the Little Flower in Bethesda.