Parish Priests

As the Father has sent me, even so I send you

John 20:20

“A shepherd after the heart of God has a heart sufficiently free to set aside his own concerns. He does not live by calculating his gains or how long he has worked: he is not an accountant of the Spirit, but a Good Samaritan who seeks out those in need,”
Pope Francis, June 3, 2016 homily

Father Gregory Baxter

Father Gregory Baxter joined the long line of esteemed pastors for St Patrick in October 2019. He came from St Margaret Mary Parish in Omaha, where he spent 13 years. He was blessed to assist in the 100 year anniversary celebration of that parish in 2019.

Father Matthew J. Gutowski


Father Matthew Gutowski assumed the role of pastor for St Patrick in the summer of 2017.  He came from nearby Springfield, Nebraska and St Joseph Parish there.  He continued to lead the parish through recently implemented programs such as Christ Renews His Parish (CRHP) as well as assisted in helping plan for the future and a potential Catholic elementary school.

Father Michael W. Grewe


Father Michael Grewe joined St Patrick in the summer of 2005.  He was instrumental in expanding the church footprint to include the education and parish center.  His leadership also oversaw the beginning of the Christ Renews His Parish program among others.  Father Mike was a wonderful shepherd to our parish and we are honored that his next role was to shepherd the St Cecilia Cathedral Parish and School.

Father Daniel Soltys

Father Dan shepherded our parish through the largest expansion in our history, taking the church from seating 250 to seating almost 900.  Father Dan began the tradition at St Patrick of having a children’s collection, where the youngest of our families bring forward their coins to hand directly to Father.  At the building of our new church, this collection was put toward the statue of Jesus and the children that stands outside our Parish Center.  The tradition continues today with great enthusiasm from our young people.

Father Thomas Hitch

Father Hitch came to Gretna from Dixon, NE.  The parish had 135 families when he took over, and 309 when he departed.  He oversaw the acquisition of the old public school building, gym, and property across the street.  He converted this gym to the religious education building.  He organized the first parish council, revitalized the Catholic Youth Organization, commenced the Knights of Columbus, and enhanced the CCD and adult education programs. 

Msgr. John L. Zaplotnik

Msgr. Zaplotnik came to America from Slovenia, Yugoslavia in 1902 as a 17-year-old.  He received his doctorate in Canon Law in 1927 from the Catholic University in Washington, DC.  He came to Gretna in June 1954, and served the community until 1966.  During his tenure, he introduced the new liturgy approved by the Vatican Council.

Father Joseph T. Bernauer

Father Bernauer came to Gretna in 1953.  He was already in failing health and had requested the transfer to a parish near Omaha.  Under significant work and strain from Gretna’s Forty Hours Devotion the fall of that year led to a heart attack and his passing away.

Father Paul E. Schneider

While Father Paul only served three years at St Patrick he had many great contributions.  He was passionate about young parishoners and promoted many sports such as baseball, basketball, and ping pong.  He was instrumental in leading the charge to repair and secure all of the stained glass windows.  He also helped organize the Gretna Medical Association whose purpose was to secure a physician for the community.

Father Jeremiah J. O’Sullivan

Father O’Sullivan came to Gretna in May 1943.  He oversaw the redecorating of the church in 1944, installation of insulation and venetian blinds in the rectory in 1945, and the celebration of the Golden Jubliee of the church in Gretna.  Perhaps his greatest contribution, however, was the purchase of a new steel tabernacle in 1947.   He departed St Patrick in 1949.

Father O’Sullivan was succeeded by Father Daniel P. Twohig, who only served for seven months.

Father James J. Morrin

Father Morrin contributed greatly during his time to the care and condition of the church, rectory, and grounds.  He encouraged and paid parishoners to clean the grounds.  He had the rectory updated and decorated. 

Father John J. O’Flynn


Father Patrick W. Burke


Father Thomas J. Fortune


Father Patrick J. Moran


Father John V. Wallace