Spirituality

Benedictine Monks

Fr. Frank Ziemkiewicz, O.S.B.

Headmaster
Fr. Frank Ziemkiewicz, O.S.B., is a retired U.S. Army Colonel and Prior of Benedictine Priory in Savannah. His previous experience includes serving as Dean of Students at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, Pa. and as pastor of St. Mary’s Parish in St. Mary’s, Pa. His service term at St. Mary’s was interrupted as he had to serve as a chaplain in the U.S. Army during a tour of duty in Afghanistan and Iraq.

He received a commission in the Army’s engineer branch in 1971 and through the ROTC was on active duty in Germany from 1972-74. His military service included having a company command for the 3rd Engineer Battalion while in Fort Stewart, Ga. from 1975-78. The Reverend Colonel’s final assignment was with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Savannah District. While in Savannah, he became acquainted with the Benedictine community and pursued a calling to the priesthood.

Leaving active duty in the military, he went to the Saint Vincent Seminary in Latrobe. Father continued his military career following his ordination as a priest, later attaining the rank of Colonel before retiring in February 2007. He has a B.S. degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Pittsburgh and master of divinity degree from Saint Vincent Seminary.

Fr. Ronald Gatman, O.S.B.

Campus Ministry
Fr. Ronald Gatman was born Jan. 27, 1943, in Laconia, Ky. He graduated from Holmes High School and graduated from the University of Kentucky with a bachelor of arts degree in education and French.

At age 24, he enlisted in the Navy and was sent to California for nine months, followed by Texas for an additional three months of schooling. He served in Scotland for a year, followed by isolated duty for nine months in Turkey. Due to budget restraints, he was released early after serving in the Navy for three years and seven months.

Upon returning to the United States, to become fluent in French, he enrolled at the University of Geneva in Switzerland, and attended for two semesters. He went into the seminary studying theology in Fribourg, Switzerland, and continued his pastoral studies at St. Vincent Archabbey in Latrobe, Pa.

In 1974, he became a novice, accepting his simple vows. In 1977, he professed his solemn vows, and on May 19, 1979, he became an ordained priest. For the next 36 years, he taught at Benedictine Military School, teaching religion, until he retired from teaching in 2007. Since his retirement, he serves more as a priest, being called upon by former Cadets’ families to make presentations, for hospital visits, to perform sacraments of baptisms, weddings, and anointing of the sick.

Fr. David Klecker, O.S.B.

Benedictine Prior / Computer Science Teacher / Mathematics Teacher / Media Center
Fr. David Klecker, who is from Minnesota, earned a bachelor of science degree in 1997 from Purdue University, West Lafayette, Ind. He has done graduate work at the Angelicum in Rome, the Aquinas Institute of Theology, St. Louis, and at Holy Apostles College and Seminary, Cromwell, Conn.

He completed his master of divinity degree at Saint Vincent Seminary in 2016. He was ordained a deacon in the spring of 2011. At the Archabbey, his assignments have included work in the Archabbey Public Relations Office; assistant to the monastic community in computer technology and as a videographer.

Fr. David professed solemn vows on July 11, 2018, in Latrobe, Pa. He was ordained a priest Sept. 22, 2018, in Latrobe, Pa. He received his master's degree in computer science from Georgia Southern University in May 2019.

Br. Matthew Hershey, O.S.B.

Theology Teacher
Br. Matthew Hershey, a native of State College, Pa., earned a degree in special education from Franciscan University of Steubenville in 2008. In addition to teaching, he has coached club soccer, and been a high school boys junior-varsity soccer coach and varsity assistant.

He became a novice of Saint Vincent Archabbey on July 1, 2013, and professed simple vows on July 10, 2014.

He began studies at Saint Vincent Seminary in the fall of 2014. His assignments have included assistant director, Archabbey guests and guest facilities; assistant, college athletics; assistant to the director of vocations, and miller, Saint Vincent Gristmill.

Fr. Maximilian Maxwell, O.S.B.

Benedictine Sub-Prior / Theology Teacher
Fr. Maximilian Maxwell, O.S.B., of Philadelphia, Pa., is the son of the late Robert Luke and Susan Maxwell. He is the youngest of four siblings, Susan, Catherine, Mary, and Robert.

Fr. Max is a 1992 graduate of West Philadelphia Catholic High School. He earned a bachelor of arts degree in communication and religious studies from Saint Vincent College in 2007. He began studies at Saint Vincent Seminary in 2008 and earned a master of divinity degree from the seminary in 2014.

Fr. Max entered the novitiate at Saint Vincent Archabbey in July, 2007 and professed simple vows the following year. On July 11, 2011, he made solemn profession of monastic vows. He was ordained to the diaconate on April 14, 2012 by Most Rev. Lawrence E. Brandt, Bishop of Greensburg, in the Archabbey Basilica. His deacon assignment was at Saint Richard Parish, Gibsonia, effective Aug. 19, 2012. He was ordained to the priesthood on Dec. 7, 2013 at Saint Vincent Archabbey by Bishop Lawrence E. Brandt of the Diocese of Greensburg.

Following his ordination, Fr. Max was assistant campus minister for athletics (2008-2009); assistant director of Archabbey guests and facilities (2008-2013); associate director of vocations (2013-2014); assistant director, campus ministry (2014-2017); director of vocations (2014-2020); master of ceremonies (2010-2020); associate director of sacristies (2017-2020); and assistant to the archabbot (2009-2020).

On July 13, 2020 he was assigned at Benedictine Priory, Savannah, Ga., and to the faculty of Benedictine Military School.

Prior to entering the monastery he worked for the Boy Scouts of America with the Cradle of Liberty Council, formerly the Philadelphia Council. During the school year, he worked in the BSA program Learning for Life, working in inner city schools, and during the summer, served as a Director of C.O.P.E. and High Adventure as well as program commissioner at Treasure Island Scout Reservation, the oldest Boy Scout camp in the United States.

Fr. Max then took his camping experience into the private sector, working as a senior camp director for ESF (Education Sports and Fun) Summer Camps. After working for the camp industry, he worked for corporate security for Mellon Bank at the Mellon Bank building in Center City, Philadelphia. Along with being director of Corporate Security Operations, he also worked for Kelly and Partners as an account manager for several law firms in Philadelphia.

Fr. Max was a parishioner of Saint Andrew The Apostle Parish, before moving to Saint Vincent. He enjoys running, and has participated in Pittsburgh's half marathon.