The Very Reverend Joseph M. Mele, rector of the Saint Paul Seminary in the Diocese of Pittsburgh, will speak at the 167th annual commencement of Saint Vincent Seminary. He will receive an honorary doctorate and give the address. The commencement ceremony will take place on Friday, May 10, at 5 p.m. in the Archabbey Basilica.
Father Mele, a native of Pittsburgh, studied at Saint Francis College and Saint Francis Seminary in Loretto, where he graduated with a master of divinity degree. In 1973 he was ordained to the priesthood at the Saint Paul Cathedral. He earned a master of arts in formative spirituality in 1980, a master of arts in communication and rhetoric in 1999, and a doctorate in communications and rhetoric in 2008, all from Duquesne University.
He served as a parochial vicar at Our Lady of Fatima Parish in Hopewell, Saint Michael the Archangel Parish in Butler, Saint Malachy Parish in Kennedy Township, Saint Sebastian Parish in Ross Township and Saint Catherine of Siena Parish in Beechview. His first assignment as pastor was at Christ the King Parish in Ambridge (1987-1991). He also served as pastor at Saint John the Baptist Parish (1991-1999) and Saint Sebastian Parish (2001-2008). He is a well-known preacher. From Spring 2003 through Spring 2010, he also taught homiletics at Saint Vincent Seminary.
From 2009 to 2011 he served as the vicar general for the Diocese of Pittsburgh and the vice rector of Saint Paul Seminary. From 2008 to 2011 he served as the director of spiritual formation and as the director of the department for post-ordination formation at the seminary. In 2011, he was named rector at Saint Paul Seminary and the head of the Secretariat for Leadership Development for the Diocese of Pittsburgh.
Father Mele’s other responsibilities include serving as the spiritual director for both Saint Paul Seminary, Saint Vincent Seminary, and for the Diocese of Pittsburgh’s diaconate program. He is also a member of the diocesan college of deans, the advisory board for Diocesan Institute for Lay Ministers, the advisory board for diocesan family life and family concerns. He also serves on a number of administrative boards for the Diocese of Pittsburgh. He is the chaplain for the Pittsburgh Serra Club and the Pittsburgh Legatus Society.
His recent book, The Sacred Conversation: The Art of Catholic Preaching and the New Evangelization, will be published this spring by Emmaus Road Publishing. The work focuses on the importance of “sacred conversation” as the heart of the Sunday homily. It is an invitation to the Christian faith, to renewal, and to a grounded life situated within the Trinity, the noble institution of the Church, and the ordinary practices of the Christian life.
The Seminary will award 13 master of divinity degrees, four master of arts degrees, and two bachelor of sacred theology degrees. Graduates are from the Archdiocese of Atlanta, Diocese of Covington, Diocese of Erie, Diocese of Harrisburg, Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, Conception Abbey, the Monastery of Christ in the Desert, and Saint Vincent Archabbey.