A 1985 graduate of , Stephen Fichter has absolutely gotten the most out of his time there. The Tenafly native is the current pastor at Sacred Heart Parish in Haworth.
Fichter was the Salutatorian of his class and was very involved. Wrestling, Soccer, intramural Basketball, student government, the school newspaper, and Crusaders for Christian Action were among his extracurricular activities at the school.
It was after his time at BC that Fichter had realized what direction his life was going.
“One of my best friends at Bergen Catholic had told me during senior year that he was thinking of becoming a priest," said Fichter. "I told him that while I admired those who committed their lives to God, I thought he was crazy. Little did I know that only a few months later, I would receive the call from God.”
It was a long but interesting road to the priesthood that started right after Bergen Catholic.
“I entered the seminary at age 19, the year after I graduated from Bergen Catholic, and was sent over to Europe for most of my 13 years of training," said Fichter. "I lived in Ireland for four years, in Spain for one, and in Italy for seven. I was ordained in Rome on the very first day of the new Christian Millennium, January 1, 2000. It was an exciting day not only because it was Y2K but also because it was my father’s 60th birthday.”
Fichter returned to the U.S in the year 2000 and after already earning masters’ degrees in Theology and Philosophy, Fichter went on to get his masters in Social Work and Sociology. Fichter then went on to become a sociologist research associate for the Center of Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University. That job then led to his first parish assignments.
“I served as their interim executive director which meant that I spent half of each week in Washington and half here in Haworth where I have been serving as the pastor since July 2008," said Fichter. "My first parish assignment was as parochial vicar at Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Ridgewood. My second parish was Saint Gabriel the Archangel in Saddle River.”
Childhood friend Maria Brockmeier remembers Father Stephen baptizing her daughter and remembers how much those at St. Gabriel’s loved and enjoyed Father Stephen’s masses.
“They loved his warmth, his homilies that hit home with his own personal anecdotes and his wit," said Brockmeier. "He also revitalized the Youth Group there and took them on many service trips”
Father Stephen attributes his time at Bergen Catholic for helping him through times and making him into the man that he is today.
“Bergen Catholic gave me the solid foundation that I needed to embrace this life of service to which God has called me," said Fichter. "I strongly encourage parents to send their sons to Bergen Catholic so that they may continue to grow both academically and spiritually. At the end of the day, I can think of nothing more important than an individual’s personal relationship with God and at Bergen Catholic that has always been given top priority.”