Meet Father Michael Stalla: “Listen to the voice of the Lord.”

September 8, 2023

Father Stalla – Missionary

Father Michael Stalla

Fr. Michael Stalla is originally from Holy Trinity Parish in Avon where he was educated, along with his six siblings, by the Sisters of Notre Dame.  He was ordained for the Diocese of Cleveland in 2003 and served at St. Mary Parish in Painesville, St. Francis Parish in Cleveland, and St. Raphael Parish in Bay Village.

Father Michael was sent to the Cleveland Diocesan Missions in El Salvador in 2009 where he served as pastor of Santo Domingo Guzman, Chiltiupan and, eventually, as pastor of San Pedro, Apostol, Teotepeque.

In July of 2015, Fr. Stalla returned to the Diocese of Cleveland and served eight years as the pastor of SS. Cosmas and Damian Parish in Twinsburg.  In 2022, Fr. Stalla achieved a Doctor of Ministry from St. Mary Seminary and Graduate School of Theology.  His doctoral focus was on collaboration, clusters, and evangelization.  In July of 2023, he was appointed as the full-time Coordinator of Pastoral Formation at St. Mary Seminary.  In August of 2023, Fr. Stalla was named the Presbyteral Moderator for St. Anthony of Padua Parish in Fairport Harbor.  He has served on the Clergy Personnel Board since 2018.  Fr. Stalla has offered conferences, parish missions, prayer services and formation topics throughout the diocese, and internationally.  His motto is: “Today, listen to the voice of the Lord!”

I know that my assignment to the seminary was a direct appointment by Bishop Malesic,” Fr. Stalla recalls.  “It is the bishop’s hope that my experience as both a missionary and a seasoned pastor will be beneficial for the formation of the seminarians.  Yet, it seems clear that the hand of God is guiding these events for reasons we can only partially understand.  Is it for building community among the faculty and staff?  Has our Lord fixed His attention on the new Plan for Priestly Formation the USCCB has asked us to implement in the next few years?  Does Christ see my gifts as a spiritual director something to offer some of the permanent deacon candidates?  Does the Divine Will call me as a contributor for the Doctor of Ministry Program?  Is there a plan to influence the greater diocese through the Field Education opportunities of the seminarians?  Am I called to plant the seeds in the hearts of seminarians who will, one day, be called to be missionaries, themselves?  Or is there something else yet to come?  I suppose time will tell.  As I told the bishop, ‘If Mother Church sends me to the seminary, know that I will accept it and do my best.’”

Father Stalla was recently interviewed on EWTN for his work as spiritual director to the women and families of Hope’s Garden ministry. https://hopesgarden.com, for his missionary work in El Salvador and the story of his own vocation to the priesthood.  These interviews were aired on EWTN Global Catholic Network on Wednesday, September 20, 2023 and Thursday, September 21, 2023 at 1:30 P.M. We rejoice that Father’s pastoral heart and experience have a global audience!  Welcome to Saint Mary Seminary, Father Stalla!