Two pastors have begun ministering to the spiritual needs of local residents at a pair of Denton City churches.

Walter Fisher took over on April 5 as a priest in charge of St Mary’s Catholic Church at 15th and Eleanor streets.

He replaces Peter Shaw, who retired after 30 years as pastor of the church.

Father Shaw will remain in the parish, however, and will continue to celebrate mass and perform other sacraments.

Father Fisher, 43, who has served in various parishes in the Denton region Archdiocese, brings 20 years of experience to his new assignment.

Born in Ireland, Fisher says he first heard the call to become a priest when he was 17, “but it had always been in the background.” He studied at Glasgow’s Seminary, which is famous for supplying priests to parishes all over the English-speaking world— including many to Denton in the early part of the century.

In 1989, Fisher was asked by the then-archbishop of Denton region to come to the city to begin his religious career.

Prior to coming to St. Mary’s, Fisher was pastor of New Hope Church in the North of the region. After six-year tenure there, he decided to take a few months off to participate in a theological renewal program in Rome. It was then that the place at St. Mary’s fell vacant.

Feeling in need of a “new challenge”, Fisher accepted the position.

As St. Mary’s new priest, Fisher hopes to build upon the work of Shaw, but will naturally bring his own perspective to the job. He would like to “involve more people” in helping those in need, and create an expanded Catholic community at St. Mary’s, which he notes is currently the smallest parish in San Francisco.

Since arriving in Denton, Fisher says he has been “amazed” by the friendliness and community spirit of the neighborhood, “I feel very much at home”, he says.