STAFF

Fr. T.J. Fleming

PASTOR

989-317-4858

Fr. T.J. grew up on a beef cattle farm in Merrill, MI, which is about 10 miles south of Midland. His home parish was St. Patrick in Ryan, MI on Meridian Rd., but he attended Sacred Heart Catholic School in Merrill for grades 1-4. When the school closed, Fr. T.J. attended Merrill Public Schools for grade 5 through high school graduation in 1976. It was during the fall semester of his senior year that he decided to study for the priesthood.

Bishop Reh sent Fr. T.J. to St. John Vianney Seminary at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, MN, from where he graduated in 1980 with a BA in history and a minor in philosophy. Bishop Reh then sent him to St. Meinrad School of Theology in St. Meinrad, IN for his first year of theology. During that year, Bishop Reh retired and Bishop Untener was ordained as the fourth bishop of the Diocese of Saginaw. He asked Fr. T.J. to transfer to St. John Provincial Seminary in Plymouth, MI where Bishop Untener had served as rector. There, Fr. T.J. spent three years studying to earn his Master of Divinity degree in 1984. On August 10, 1984 he was ordained a transitional deacon and then was ordained a priest on April 28, 1985.

Fr. T.J. loves serving as a priest; he celebrated his 32nd anniversary of priesthood this year. He served as an associate pastor for 7 years and a pastor for 24 years in many parishes in the Diocese of Saginaw. For the last 26 years, Fr. T.J. has signed Mass for the deaf and hearing impaired. He is very happy to serve at St. Mary University Parish and looks forward to getting to know students, parishioners, and others, and to work, minister, and pray with them.

Scott Opperman

DIRECTOR OF STUDENT OUTREACH

989-317-4680

Born and raised in Monroe, MI, which is located between Detroit and Toledo on Lake Erie, Scott earned a BA in philosophy and religious studies at John Carroll University in Cleveland and an MA in theology from the University of Notre Dame. Afterwards, he joined the Society of Jesus, the Jesuits, which is the largest religious order of Catholic brothers and priests in the world. During his seven years with the Jesuits, he received formation in ministry, spirituality, and communal life; experienced ministry in the areas of healthcare, secondary education, social justice, spirituality, and young adult ministry; and earned  a Master of Religious Education degree from Loyola University in Chicago. After discerning his vocation lied elsewhere, he pursued doctoral studies in theology at Durham University in North East England, during which time he also taught philosophy and theology at St. Cuthbert’s Roman Catholic Seminary (Ushaw College) and worked in student life at the university. After returning to the US, he has taught theology and has worked in residential life and campus ministry at the University of Dallas, the University of Notre Dame, and the University of Saint Francis in Fort Wayne, IN. He is elated to be back in Michigan and serving the Church at Central Michigan University.

Jennifer Brittain

DIRECTOR OF ADMINISTRATION & ADVANCEMENT

989-317-4674

Jennifer was born and raised in Michigan and has lived most of her life in the Clare area, though she and her family have recently moved to Mount Pleasant. Jennifer and her husband, David, have five children together. As her children are all getting older and are moving off to college or marrying, she is happy to start a new chapter in her life at St. Mary University Parish. Before joining the staff here in July 2017, she worked in business office operations and risk management and compliance, including at non-profit organizations. As an extrovert, she enjoys networking and connecting persons, which makes fundraising and event planning pleasurable for her.

Cory Noeker

CAMPUS MINISTRY INTERN

989-359-0888

Cory grew up in the small town of Westphalia, MI, just northwest of Lansing. He graduated from Central Michigan University in 2014 with a major in entrepreneurship and a minor in professional sales and marketing. Cory is also an alumnus of CMU’s varsity Track and Field program, and he continues to enjoy competition of all sorts. After graduation, he stuck around Mount Pleasant and became a licensed real estate agent, buying and selling properties in the surrounding area. Cory is currently pursuing theological and ministerial formation in the Diocese of Saginaw’s Lay Ministry Formation Program, which he is expected to complete in 2021. Being a strong believer in and doer of the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy, he plans on using his theological and ministerial formation and background in real estate to help the needs of the Church. Cory’s favorite saint is St. Thomas More, and in his spare time he enjoys reading in the areas of theology, philosophy, and psychology. Cory is excited for the opportunity to be involved with campus ministry at St. Mary University Parish and looks forward to working with the staff and students.