Ex-Mormon Priest

Catholic priest was once Mormon

Matt C. Abbott
October 27, 2005

Joan Solms is a parishioner of Holy Angels Catholic Church in Aurora, Ill. The following is an edited letter she sent me regarding the parish and its pastor, the Rev. Martin G. Heinz.

"Father Martin Heinz is one of eight children, born and raised Catholic. As a young man, he left the Church and joined the Mormons. I believe he stayed in the LDS church for only two or three years. He reverted to Catholicism and entered the seminary.

"He has been ordained about 12 years now. Upon ordination, he was put in charge of seminarians, and after that, was made pastor of Holy Angels Church. Holy Angels has gone through different phases of growth since it was first built. The permanent design for the church was changed (modernized) about 20 years ago. It was redesigned to be a church in a semi-circle.

"When Father Heinz came to Holy Angels, he decided to restore it to its original design, minus the altar railing, which is not allowed. Father Heinz has replaced the altar railing with three extra-long kneelers. The priest stands behind the kneelers when distributing Communion. On receiving Communion, you can stand or kneel. All our priests distribute Communion at every Mass. At first people were reluctant to kneel for Communion. I wasn't. Now more and more people take Communion kneeling.

"Father Heinz did not rehire five teachers this year because they were not teaching [authentic] Catholicism. The principal agreed with him.

"Father Heinz is very pro-life. He is the support behind our pro-life group. Aurora has one abortuary; it is the only one in our diocese. Father Heinz pays the rent for the [pro-life] counseling center across the street from the abortuary. And business at the abortuary has declined. The former abortionist use to routinely do 500 abortions a year; this year, it's less than half that number.

"Father Heinz incorporates bits of Latin into the Mass, especially at Easter and Christmas. We say the prayer to St. Michael at the end of every Mass. We have one day of perpetual Eucharistic adoration per week, beginning on Wednesday morning and ending with benediction on Thursday morning. Father would eventually like have perpetual adoration seven days a week.

"Father Heinz is truly trying to restore the Sacrament of Confession. It is always available. He has special confessions available before special holy days. He will bring in multiple priests to hear confession.

"The school children are taken to Mass once a week. They get solid Catholic instruction. They wear uniforms. The unfortunate news is that many parents are not deeply committed to Catholicism yet. This is apparent when you see them at Mass, especially the CCD students and parents. Not Father's fault, though.

"Father Heinz is committed to the poor. We have a very active St. Vincent de Paul group. Each year in September, the St. Vincent de Paul resale shop parks a truck in our parking lot to collect used items for the store. This year we filled two trucks with material goods. In November, we will have a coat collection for the poor. We have a food pantry. Speakers from missions abroad are brought in to speak and collect funds for their churches. We have a baby shower each year for mothers.

"Father Heinz took the old Stations of the Cross and had them mounted; and he put up outdoor Stations of the Cross, which leads up to our shrine of Fatima. We have a monument to the unborn, donated by our Knights of Columbus chapter. Once a year, Father has a prayer service at the monument.

"On Tuesday evenings, we have a rosary service; all 20 mysteries are said.

"We have a program for senior citizens. We provide rides for those who do not have transportation to Mass. Lay ministers still take Communion to the homebound.

"We have four or five men from our parish who are studying for the priesthood; that's a record these days."

To see how Mormonism differs from the Catholic Church, go here.