Pastoral Staff & Lay Leadership


Rev. Paul Asoh, MSP, Pastor

Fr. Paul Asoh is a priest of the Missionary Society of St. Paul of Nigeria. Ordained a priest in 2002, he has ministered in Africa, Europe and North America, serving as assistant director of seminary formation, a college chaplain, and director of a retreat center. Prior to his assignment to St. Mary’s he served for two years as parochial vicar at St. Therese parish in Mooresville, NC.

Rev. Mr. Matthew Newsome

Deacon Matt was born in Charlotte, NC, and moved to Sylva after high school. He attended college at Warren Wilson College and Western Carolina University, where he graduated in 1999 with a degree in English Literature. He earned a Masters of Theology degree from Holy Apostles College in 2008 and was ordained to the diaconate in 2018. He is an adult convert, having been baptized at St. Mary’s in 2000. He has been serving as the Catholic campus minister at Western Carolina University since 2008. He and his wife, Joannie, have six children.

Rev. Mr. John Szarek

Deacon John is from Chicago, IL, where he attended Catholic schools and served as an altar boy and lector since his youth. He was ordained a deacon for the Archdiocese of Chicago in 2006, and served for 13 years at St. Ansgar parish in Hanover Park, IL, where his main areas of ministry were to the homebound and those in nursing homes, hospitals and rehabilitation centers. Since retiring from a career in nursing, Deacon John and his wife Sue have lived in in Franklin, NC. He has been assigned to St. Mary’s parish since February 2020.

Parish Staff & Volunteers:

  • Executive Assistant to the Pastor: Susie Bryson
    Phone: (828)586-9496 ext. 101
  • Director of Religious Education: Luci Castillo
    Phone: (828) 586-9496 ext. 103
  • Parish Council Chair: Rick Beauchemin
  • Finance Council Chair: Robin Starrs
  • Bookkeeper: Ellen Miller
  • Receptionist: Sheila Painschab
  • Office Assistant: Casey Epinoza
  • St. Mary’s Bookstore: Mary Ann Kuehl
  • Music Director: Joe Conway
  • Organist: Kenneth Fischer
  • Altar Guild: Sue Szarek
  • Youth Ministry Coordinator: Dcn. John Szarek
  • RCIA Coordinator: Mike Ensley
  • WCU Campus Minister: Dcn. Matt Newsome
  • Small Group Bible Studies: Tom Asbury
  • Respect Life Committee Chair: Sue Szarek
  • Knights of Columbus: Jonathan Fischer, Grand Knight
  • Lay Carmelite Director: Jane Sullivan
  • Food Pantry: Jenny Sanchez
  • Prison Ministry: Steve Keuhl
  • Website & Social Media Administrator: Dcn. Matt Newsome

Parish Commission Chairs