Born in 1949 and a native of Royersford, PA, Fr. Sylvester Peterka, C.M. graduated magna cum laude from Niagara University in 1972. After attending Mary Immaculate Seminary in Northampton, he was ordained in 1976 by Bishop Joseph McShea as a member of the Congregation of the Mission.
In 1990 Fr. Peterka became Pastor of St. Cecelia and immaculate Conception Parishes in Baltimore. He is a founding member of Mission Baltimore, a group concerned with the welfare of “unchurched” youth in the city. He is a member of the Priests Council, having been elected by his fellow priests in his region, and serves as an active member of the lnterdenominational Ministerial Alliance and is respected for his great sensitivity to racial and cultural issues. He studied for five summers at the Institute for Black Studies at Xavier University.
Prior to 1990, Fr. Peterka taught at Archbishop Wood High School in Warminster, was Director of Students at St. Joseph’s Prep Seminary in Princeton, and involved in Campus Ministry in Auburn, Alabama. “Father Sy”, as he is known, is also a consultant to the church in Ethiopia and an advisor on formation to the Vincentian Province in Nigeria.
Fr. Joe is a native Germantowner, born and raised in Immaculate Conception Parish. After attending the Immaculate grammar school he entered the Vincentian minor seminary then located around Princeton, New Jersey. He was ordained in 1972. Since then he has taught high school for a couple of years at St. Thomas More in Philadelphia, worked in various places in Panama for 25 years as a parish priest and seminary formator. Upon his return to Philadelphia in 2000 he began work with the Hispanic Evangelization Team, attending the Spanish speaking members of diocesan parishes with no Spanish speaking priest. Fr. Joe was part of the Team until the beginning of 2012 when he as assigned to St. John the Baptist Parish in Brooklyn, New York, a bi-lingual parish in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section. After 4 years he was assigned to St. Vincent de Paul. He is especially interested in his work with the New Sanctuary Movement of the Parish.
Corbin Gardner is a Philadelphia transplant from Iowa. After attending Creighton University, he came to Philadelphia as a Mercy Volunteer, working with death-row exonerees. He stumbled upon St. Vincent’s in 2013 and it was love-at-first-Mass. Corbin is also a law student at Temple University.
Born and raised in Seoul, South Korea, Grace Yi moved to Honolulu, Hawaii when she was 10 years old. Here she began to appreciate God’s beautiful creations, and studied Environmental Science at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska. She moved to Philadelphia as a Mercy Volunteer, and served preschool children and elderly adults at a family center in Tioga-Nicetown community. After her year of volunteering, Grace continues to work at her service site as a Head Start teacher.