ABOUT Paul D. Ward
Paul D. Ward
I am originally from Upstate New York, where I was born on December 25, 1963. When I was 16 years old, I had what I would consider to be a profound conversion experience to Christianity – and became actively involved with a small country evangelical Christian community. It was at this time, that I began to feel that God was calling me to some kind of full-time ministry.
After graduation from high school, I attended trade school for Tool and Die and worked in that trade until I could begin studies in pastoral ministry at a small bible college in Lima, N.Y, where I complete a three-year certificate program. This is where I met my wife of 33 years. We have six children and five grandchildren, and our second oldest son was recently ordained a Priest for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Steubenville.
Going back to my own spiritual journey, upon completion of the program in Lima, N.Y., I became a United Methodist and took a position as Associate Pastor and Youth Minister at Trinity United Methodist Church in Annapolis, MD. After serving in this capacity for a few years, I returned to college to complete my undergraduate studies at Roberts Wesleyan College in Rochester, NY, earning a B.A. degree in Philosophy and Religion – a preparatory degree for Seminary. It was in my senior year at Roberts that I began to feel God drawing me to the Catholic Tradition. As a part of that journey of discernment, my wife and I started to attend an Episcopal Church, where we worshipped for a few years until making the decision to finally convert to Roman Catholicism, and I entered the Catholic Church on the eve of the Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul in 1992!
After entering the Catholic Church, we made the decision to move to Steubenville, Ohio, so that I could begin graduate studies in Theology and Christian Ministry at Franciscan University. After graduation in 1994, I began my career (now 25 years) as a Catholic educator, teaching High school theology, becoming a Principal, and eventually accepting the superintendent’s position as the Director of Christian Formation and Schools for the Diocese of Steubenville, almost 12 years ago. I am currently in this position, and it is what I do when I am not working as a Part-time Associate chaplain here at Trinity.
The next major stage in my spiritual journey began in December of 2016. In that year, by the grace and mercy of God, I was ordained as a Permanent Deacon for the Diocese of Steubenville, fulfilling at long last the call to ordained ministry that I received at the age of sixteen (even if my understanding of that calling was to change over the years)! I am currently assigned as Deacon to St. Agnes Church in Mingo Junction.
Finally, I began my ministry as a part-time chaplain at Trinity in the spring of 2019. I consider my work as a chaplain to be a wonderful extension of my diaconal ministry. You sometimes hear people talk about how they can “look back” on their Christian journey and see God’s hand in preparing them for some purpose, and I very much feel this way about the chaplaincy work I do at Trinity. My exposure to various ministry experiences and to a broad spectrum of Christian faith traditions has been a great blessing in my life, and I believe it has truly prepared me to serve and minister as a hospital “Spiritual Care” provider to people of all kinds of faith backgrounds.