A resurrection story
By Michael Bednar

Father Steve Hohman blesses the eucharist during service at St. Paul Catholic Church. Father Steve has been active in reaching out to Catholics in the county to grow his congregation and enrollment at an affiliated school.

At his core, Father Steve Hohman is an educator. He taught middle school long before becoming a priest. So when he got his first appointment to lead a parish, he asked to come to the 210-year-old St. Paul Catholic Church in Grayson County.
It had a school. But the school was in trouble.

St Paul Catholic School had been a hub for the community since 1906, but enrollment had dwindled to as low as 17 students. The archdiocese voted in 2010 on whether to close the school — and the vote was evenly split. The priest at the time didn't want to cast the deciding vote, so he decided to give the school one more year. Enter Father Steve, who had been an assistant at Holy Spirit Catholic Church in Bowling Green.

He was determined to keep the school open, so he reached out to Catholic families in the county to find out why they weren't sending their kids to St. Paul — and to get them to return.
Father Steve, the school staff and the parents of the few students remaining began raising money to improve the facilities. A new gymnasium, cafeteria and playground. He also worked on mending fractures in the community and bringing parishioners together again.

His faith and hard work began to pay off as enrollment increased. Then when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, public schools were heavily restricted or closed. As a private school, St. Paul’s had more flexibility, and enrollment rose to as high as 90 students. It is down slightly this year to 80 after a few families left for personal reasons, but Father Steve believes it will grow over time as the school improves.

"It truly is a Lazarus story of resurrection,” he says.

The parish has purchased the lot next to the school and is preparing to construct a second, much-needed classroom building.

“This school would not be here if it were not for Father Steve," Principal Todd Johnston says. "It is as simple as that. Period.”

Father Steve leaves the rectory and makes his way across the road to St. Paul Catholic School to begin his day. The school was about to close because of low enrollment when Father Steve became the parish’s priest. He has grown the student body to about 80 children.

Father Steve entertains seniors at St. Elizabeth of Hungary Catholic Church during a luncheon by performing a joke magic trick. Father Steve puts a lot of effort into reaching out to Catholics throughout the county.

Father Steve plays a game of red rover after mass with students. They asked him to play with them after he mentioned the game in his homily.

Principal Todd Johston shares a moment with Father Steve in the principal’s office at the school.

Father Steve teaches Spanish to third and fourth graders. He was an educator before becoming a priest.

Seventh grade teacher Ashley Powell teaches math to her students in the hallway as Father Steve leaves a classroom after greeting students there. The school is constructing an additional classroom building because it needs more space.

Father Steve leads the girls basketball team in prayer before practice.

Father Steve leads the girls basketball team in practice drills. He is involved in all aspects of the school and loves working with the students.

Father Steve helps David Grant back to his residence after a seniors luncheon in Clarkson. At left is Tim Barton.