Fr. John Paul Mary Zeller, MFVA

Skateboarding Priest Spreading Faith and Fun

Father John Paul Mary Zeller, MFVA, born on May 7th, 1976, in New Freedom, Pennsylvania, is more than the conventional image of a priest. Growing up in Pennsylvania, he reveled in the thrill of skateboarding and rollerblading. Despite his busy schedule, his passion for skateboarding persisted.

Post high school, Father John Paul Mary delved into the realm of engineering, earning an associates degree from DeVry Institute of Technology in 2000. His journey took a significant turn when he felt the calling to priesthood, becoming a seminarian for the Diocese of Harrisburg, PA. His path eventually led him to the Franciscan Missionaries of the Eternal Word, where he embraced his vocation with dedication.

His theological studies at Mount St. Mary’s Seminary culminated in a Masters in Divinity, marking significant milestones in his pursuit of priesthood. Ordained as a deacon on June 2, 2012, and later as a priest on June 22, 2013, by Bishop Robert Baker, Father John Paul Mary continues to serve as the EWTN Employee Chaplain, a role he fulfills with unwavering devotion.

Amidst his commitment to priesthood, Father John Paul Mary's love for skateboarding remains an integral part of his life. While his skating repertoire has evolved since his teens, he still finds joy in performing kick flips and shove-its, reliving the youthful exhilaration on his boards, Agnus Dei and Virgo Potens.

His favorite skate spot, a backyard basketball court, echoes the simplicity and joy he finds in skateboarding. Notably, his skateboarding experiences have transcended borders, sparking engaging conversations during his travels, including a memorable encounter at the International Eucharistic Congress in Budapest.

Father John Paul Mary Zeller's unique blend of priestly devotion and skateboarding passion embodies an inspiring balance of faith and recreation. Connect with Father John Paul Mary and follow his remarkable journey via Instagram: @FranciscanMissionaries, Facebook: MFVA Friars, Twitter: MFVA Friars, TikTok: @franciscanmissionaries.