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Rev. Steven P. Wetzel

Obituary for Rev. Steven P. Wetzel

March 15, 1958 - April 27, 2022
| Age 64


Rev. Steven P. Wetzel OSFS, professed member of the Wilmington-Philadelphia Province of the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales for 41 years, died on April 27, 2022.

Father Wetzel was born on March 15, 1958, to Frederick Wetzel and Caroline (DiPretoro) Wetzel. Steve always had a very strong connection with his grandparents; the late Amedeo DiPretoro and Jennie (nee Cosenza). He was the loving brother to Donna LeBresco (James) and Deborah Wetzel and will be greatly missed by his niece Danielle Wenk (Mark) and his nephew Nicholas Bruno (Kimberly nee Murphy).

Father Wetzel attended St. Timothy Grade School and graduated from Father Judge High School in 1977. Following graduation from Fr. Judge, he joined the Oblates and made his first profession of vows as a Lay Brother on August 9, 1980 and made perpetual profession on October 9, 1988. He received a certificate in Pastoral Ministry from De Sales University in 1982 and received his Hospital Chaplaincy Certification from the National Association of Catholic Chaplains in 1987. From 1982 – 1985, he served as Pastoral Associate at St. Francis Hospital in Wilmington, Delaware and Chaplain at Sacred Heart Hospital in Allentown, Pennsylvania from 1985 – 1986.

From 1987 to 1995, Father Wetzel served as Pastoral Associate at St. Thomas More Parish in Allentown, Pennsylvania. During this period, he also served as Chaplain – and subsequently, Vice Principal - at St. Thomas More Parochial School. In addition to ecclesiastical ministry during this period, Fr. Wetzel served as both Chaplain and a firefighter for the Upper Saucon Fire Department in Center Valley, PA. In 1990, he became certified as a Level-1 Firefighter in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

In 1996, he resumed studies in Graduate Theology and was ordained to the Permanent Diaconate on May 11, 1996. He served as a Deacon at St. Cecilia Parish in Fort Myers, Florida from 1996 – 1997 and from 1997 – 2001 at St. Joachim Parish in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. From 2001 – 2003, Fr. Wetzel served as Chaplain at Holy Redeemer Health System's St. Joseph Manor. On October 11, 2003, he was ordained to the Priesthood. Following ordination, Fr. Wetzel served as Parochial Vicar at Our Mother of Consolation Parish in Chestnut Hill and was named Pastor of St. Joachim in 2005. In 2013, Fr. Wetzel was assigned as Parochial Vicar at Our Lady of Good Counsel Parish in Vienna, Virginia.

During his time Deaconate at St. Joachim Parish, Fr. Wetzel became involved with the Police-Clergy Program in both the 2nd and 15th Districts of the Philadelphia Police Department and actually served as local President of this association for two years. With the closing of St. Joachim, Father Wetzel was able to refocus his ministry with the Philadelphia Police. In January of 2014, Father Wetzel helped to found the Michael the Archangel Ministry Program FOP Lodge #5 where he assumed the role of full-time Chaplain to 14,000 active and retired Philadelphia Police and their families. Father Wetzel will also be greatly missed by the Custodes Pacis community and the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania Sons and Daughters of Italy.

Visitation will take place of Thursday, May 5th at St. Matthew Catholic Church (3000 Cottman Avenue) from 5PM to 8PM. On Friday, May 6th, Visitation will be held at the Cathedral Basilica of Sts Peter and Paul (1723 Race Street) from 9AM to 11AM, followed by the Mass of Christian Burial beginning at 11AM.

On Monday, May 9th family and friends are invited to gather at Our Lady of Light Chapel of the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales beginning at 11AM, (1120 Blue Ball Road, Childs, MD) with interment to follow in the Oblate Cemetery at 12PM.

In memory of Fr. Wetzel's life and legacy, donations may be made to the Oblate Development Fund, P.O. Box 87, Childs, MD 21916-0087,, or St. Michael the Archangel Ministry Program, 11630 Caroline Rd #3, Philadelphia, PA 19154.

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Suggested Memorial Donations

  • St. Michael the Archangel Ministry Program
    11630 Caroline Rd #3
    Philadelphia, PA 19154

Arrangements By

John F. Givnish Funeral Home

10975 Academy Road
Philadelphia, PA 19154
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