Rev. Steven P. Wetzel

  • Born: March 15, 1958
  • Died: April 27, 2022
  • Location:

John F. Givnish Funeral Home

10975 Academy Road
Philadelphia, PA 19154

Tel. (215) 281-0100

Tribute & Message From The Family

Rev. Steven P. Wetzel OSFS, professed member of the Wilmington-Philadelphia Province of the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales for 41 years, died on April 27, 2022.

Father Wetzel was born on March 15, 1958, to Frederick Wetzel and Caroline (DiPretoro) Wetzel. Steve always had a very strong connection with his grandparents; the late Amedeo DiPretoro and Jennie (nee Cosenza). He was the loving brother to Donna LeBresco (James) and Deborah Wetzel and will be greatly missed by his niece Danielle Wenk (Mark) and his nephew Nicholas Bruno (Kimberly nee Murphy).

Father Wetzel attended St. Timothy Grade School and graduated from Father Judge High School in 1977. Following graduation from Fr. Judge, he joined the Oblates and made his first profession of vows as a Lay Brother on August 9, 1980 and made perpetual profession on October 9, 1988. He received a certificate in Pastoral Ministry from De Sales University in 1982 and received his Hospital Chaplaincy Certification from the National Association of Catholic Chaplains in 1987. From 1982 – 1985, he served as Pastoral Associate at St. Francis Hospital in Wilmington, Delaware and Chaplain at Sacred Heart Hospital in Allentown, Pennsylvania from 1985 – 1986.

From 1987 to 1995, Father Wetzel served as Pastoral Associate at St. Thomas More Parish in Allentown, Pennsylvania. During this period, he also served as Chaplain – and subsequently, Vice Principal - at St. Thomas More Parochial School. In addition to ecclesiastical ministry during this period, Fr. Wetzel served as both Chaplain and a firefighter for the Upper Saucon Fire Department in Center Valley, PA. In 1990, he became certified as a Level-1 Firefighter in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

In 1996, he resumed studies in Graduate Theology and was ordained to the Permanent Diaconate on May 11, 1996. He served as a Deacon at St. Cecilia Parish in Fort Myers, Florida from 1996 – 1997 and from 1997 – 2001 at St. Joachim Parish in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. From 2001 – 2003, Fr. Wetzel served as Chaplain at Holy Redeemer Health System's St. Joseph Manor. On October 11, 2003, he was ordained to the Priesthood. Following ordination, Fr. Wetzel served as Parochial Vicar at Our Mother of Consolation Parish in Chestnut Hill and was named Pastor of St. Joachim in 2005. In 2013, Fr. Wetzel was assigned as Parochial Vicar at Our Lady of Good Counsel Parish in Vienna, Virginia.

During his time Deaconate at St. Joachim Parish, Fr. Wetzel became involved with the Police-Clergy Program in both the 2nd and 15th Districts of the Philadelphia Police Department and actually served as local President of this association for two years. With the closing of St. Joachim, Father Wetzel was able to refocus his ministry with the Philadelphia Police. In January of 2014, Father Wetzel helped to found the Michael the Archangel Ministry Program FOP Lodge #5 where he assumed the role of full-time Chaplain to 14,000 active and retired Philadelphia Police and their families. Father Wetzel will also be greatly missed by the Custodes Pacis community and the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania Sons and Daughters of Italy.

Visitation will take place of Thursday, May 5th at St. Matthew Catholic Church (3000 Cottman Avenue) from 5PM to 8PM. On Friday, May 6th, Visitation will be held at the Cathedral Basilica of Sts Peter and Paul (1723 Race Street) from 9AM to 11AM, followed by the Mass of Christian Burial beginning at 11AM.

On Monday, May 9th family and friends are invited to gather at Our Lady of Light Chapel of the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales beginning at 11AM, (1120 Blue Ball Road, Childs, MD) with interment to follow in the Oblate Cemetery at 12PM.

In memory of Fr. Wetzel's life and legacy, donations may be made to the Oblate Development Fund, P.O. Box 87, Childs, MD 21916-0087,, or St. Michael the Archangel Ministry Program, 11630 Caroline Rd #3, Philadelphia, PA 19154.


Condolence & Memory Journal

I was at padre pio today and the mass was for him. I was drawn to his story. Little did I know we were the same age, and from the same neighborhood, although I was a St Leo's girl. I will pray for you, and I hope you will guide me in my faith.

Posted by Barbara McStravick - Pennsburg, PA   June 16, 2022

I just found out that my dear friend in the Lord passed away tonight . May 4,2022 .
I am in shock . Rev Steve and I helped each other in the ministry even though I am not a Catholic. Rev Steve called me many times as I also called him concerning help with our ministries. We knew there is only one God. He will be missed. My deepest sympathy to his family and friends .

Posted by Evangelist Ruth Sledge - Philadelphia, PA - Coworker   May 04, 2022

Father Steve was always a comfort to anyone to whom he spoke. His soothing voice and manner, as well as his openness to all people made him as easy friend. He was also my fellow lover of snow (a mostly rare find). Know that you will be greatly missed, it was my pleasure to share a small part of your amazing life.

Posted by Kathleen Hurst - Friend   May 04, 2022

Father Steve was such a good friend and mentor. It was a privilege to assist him with Mass every Sunday morning. He truly exemplified the teachings of St. Francis de Sales and Saint Padre Pio.
Father Steve has been a friend of the family for many years. He did ride-alongs with me when I was in the 15th District while he was a member of the Police-Clergy. He did my brother's funeral Mass when he passed away in 2006. He has always been there for me.
Being on the Michael the Archangel Ministry Program with him has been nothing short of an honor. Father Steve exemplified what it was to be an Oblate of Saint Francis de Sales. A famous saying of Saint Francis de Sales is, Be who you are, and be that well. Well Father, you knocked that one out of the park. You took a small group of police officers from the 15th District, who sat at your kitchen table in St. Joachim's rectory, and turned it into a ministry program providing multi-denominational pastoral care, crisis ministry, and spiritual enrichment opportunities to over 14,000 active and retired members as well as their families. With the great assistance from the FOP and President John McNesby, your ministry program reached countless people. As you would say, you had the biggest parish in the city.
Job well done my friend! Rest easy and continue to look after us all! Your ministry program will continue on! To his mother Carol, and his sisters Donna and Debbie, thank you for sharing Father Steven P. Wetzel, OSFS with us. We are all better people because of him.

Posted by John Moroney - Philadelphia, PA - Friend   May 04, 2022

May God and the blessed mother guide you to everlasting rest and warmth at the side of Jesus Christ ❤ you will be missed on earth . Please hug and kiss my loved ones especially my Michael who will meet you at the gates of heaven. One day I pray u will meet me also. Thank you fr. Steve you will never be forgotten love Betsy and children

Posted by Elizabeth Strange - Palm Beach Gardens, FL - Friend   May 04, 2022

I am so sorry to hear That Steve left this world to be with God.He was a great person .I will miss him at our police functions.I am also a graduate of Father Judge 1964 class.God brought home a great person to be at his side! He will always be in my prayers,We lost a great Man but he will be at Gods side forever!

Posted by Chris Gural- retired Philadelphia Police officer - Other   May 03, 2022

Dear Carol,Donna and Debbie,so sorry to hear about Fr.Steve. I will try and be there Thursday night. "cousin Bill Varra .

Posted by Bill VARRA - Phila., PA - Family   May 03, 2022

So saddened to here of Father Steve's passing. We attended both St. Tim's and Father Judge together. As the son of a Phila. Policeman, I am thankful for his work with the Police community. I will keep him in and his family in my prayers during these difficult times. He will be missed by many in the community.

Posted by Jules Senske - Lake Hopatcong, NJ - Classmate   May 02, 2022

I knew Fr Steve outside of the church setting. I always enjoyed chatting with him. He remained strong in his faith and had such a comforting way about him, even if you weren't looking for it! Thoughts and prayers are with his family at this difficult time. He will be missed by many.

Posted by Denise Smith - Glen Mills, PA   May 02, 2022

Father Steve, was a great friend, a dedicated Oblate of St. Francis de Sales, his service to hospital ministry was exemplary as was his service to the Philadelphia Police Department will be remembered for years to come. God bless you Steven and may you know the fullness of life in Christ Jesus who is risen from the dead. You will be remembered fondly - Fr. Rich Clement (Diocese of Allentown)

Posted by Richard Clement - Boyertown, PA - Friend   April 30, 2022

We always enjoyed our virtual Masses from the FOP that Father Steve celebrated it kept us connected to our roots in Philly since our move to North Carolina . You will be missed by so many. May you walk with the Lord !

Posted by Ronnie &Ed McCafferty - Carolina Shores, NC - Friend   April 29, 2022

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