NORTH BALTIMORE — Pastor Ralph J. Mineo of St. Luke’s Evangelical Lutheran Church of North Baltimore and the Church Council of St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church of McComb will retire next week.
Nov. 8 will be his last Sunday in ministry at St. Luke’s and St. John’s. Due to the coronavirus, there will be a single online worship service at 10:15 a.m. @ www.facebook.com/ralph.j.mineo.
Due to the COVID-19, the congregations will celebrate his retirement with a car parade on Nov. 8 at 2 p.m. in North Baltimore.
Mineo has been the solo pastor of St. Luke’s Church for 32 years. He took on the shared pastor role with St. John’s Church in 2014.
He holds a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Niagara University and a Master of Divinity and a Master of Theology from Mary Immaculate Seminary.
He was ordained a Roman Catholic priest on March 19, 1977. In early 1980, Mineo began his journey in the American Lutheran Church and was accepted on the clergy roster of the ALC on Aug. 1, 1981. Mineo served churches in Toledo and Lakeside-Marblehead prior to coming to North Baltimore. He was instrumental in his early years at St. Luke’s in making renovations to the church and changes in the programs that have done well for the church.
Kathy Eninger said Mineo and the Vacation Bible School experience has been instrumental in her family’s lives.
“When my boys were 3 and 4 years old I needed some calmness and peace in my life so I decided to go back to church,” she said. “We went somewhere else for a few years but I made sure my boys went to VBS at each church in NB. St. Luke’s VBS and Pastor Ralph made a difference in my sons’ lives. He was always the biggest kid there and that kept the kids coming back. St. Luke’s VBS has drawn so many kids over the years because of him. VBS brought us to St Luke’s but Pastor Ralph, Jo, and the entire church family, embraced us and touched us with their love.”
Tracey Pritts said Mineo has a way of reaching everyone.
“Pastor Ralph has touched thousands of children (even multiple generations) through music, puppets, stories and prayers through Vacation Bible School. He has touched so much of the community — far beyond the congregation,” she said.
Through the pandemic Mineo and his wife, Jo, have maintained worship and communication with the congregation through Facebook worship services and posts, email communications and phone calls. He enjoys writing liturgies and composing music for worship services.
Dana Bourne, church secretary for the past 3 years, said Mineo’s energy will be missed.
“It has been and honor and a blessing to have ministered to the people of St. Luke’s and St. John’s alongside Ralph,” she said. “He has an energy that is unstoppable and a genuine care for the people of his flocks. It is my hope that I can carry some of his energy and dedication forward as we transition though these already challenging times.”
Following retirement, the Mineos will continue organizing and packing their home in North Baltimore and eventually move to Erie, Pennsylvania, to be nearer to family.