Parish Staff


Father Ray Powell, Pastor Phone: (865) 482-2875


Father Neil  - Associate Pastor Phone: (865) 482-2875  nblatchford@


Deacon Gary Sega, Pastoral Associate - Phone: (865) 482-2875


Deacon John DeClue, Pastoral Associate - Phone: (865) 482-2875

Fr. Ray was born and raised in east-central Iowa where he spent most of his life. He is a graduate of The University of Iowa with a Computer Science degree, and worked for 20 years as a Software Engineer and Systems Analyst. In 2004, at the age of 39, he completed RCIA and converted to Catholicism. Then in 2005, he moved to Chattanooga to be closer to his two older brothers and their families. While living in Chattanooga, he was called to the priesthood and in 2010 was accepted as a seminarian for the Diocese of Knoxville. Fr. Ray spent five years of priestly formation at Sacred Heart Seminary & School of Theology in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, completing his formation and theological studies in May 2015. He was ordained on June 27, 2015, and spent the first year of his priestly ministry as a Pastoral Associate at OLPH in Chattanooga.

Coming soon

Deacon Gary has been serving at Saint Mary Parish since his ordination in June 2007. He ministers to new adult Catholics, assists at daily Mass and other liturgies, helps with Baptismal classes and assists those seeking annulments.

Deacon John was ordained in 2016 and has served at Saint Mary Parish since his ordination. His responsibilities include marriage preparation and enrichment, serving as Chaplain for the St. Vincent de Paul, serving on Divine Liturgy Committee, and assisting at Masses in English and Spanish including nursing homes, and visiting the sick.

Deacon David Duhamel Pastoral Associate-Phone: (865) 310-2163

Deacon Dave Duhamel, Pastoral Associate - Phone: (865) 310-2163 dcn.dave@


Deacon Joe Armento - In Memoriam 1940-2017 Ordination: June 9th, 2007


Deacon Agustin Ortega



Kathy Mesmer, Parish Director of Liturgical Music Phone: (865) 482-2875

Deacon Dave has been a member of St Mary Parish since 2005. He was ordained in 2022 and is serving the parish in various roles. He has a heart for serving the poor, the new evangelization, the youth, veteran and public service outreach, and family ministry. Deacon Dave is married to Anna and together they have seven children. Dcn. Dave loves answering any questions about the faith or the Church - so don't hesitate to ask

Deacon Joe was ordained in June 2007, he served first at Our Lady of Fatima in Alcoa, TN. He was transferred back to Saint Mary Parish in Oak Ridge, his home parish since 1962, in March 2010. His primary duties included assisting in the Liturgy and ministry to the sick and infirm.

Deacon Agustin was ordained in 2022 and served for one year at St. John Neumann Parish in Knoxville. He has been married to his wife, Veronica, for more than thirty years. Together they have a son who serves in the Air Force. Deacon Agustin is very happy to have been assigned to this parish where he hopes to work for the community and in the service of our Lord.

Kathy Mesmer has been an active member of the Saint Mary Parish music ministry since the early 2000’s. She currently serves as the Director of Liturgical Music and coordinates choirs, cantors and musicians for all parish masses and events. Kathy resides in Oak Ridge with her husband and three children.

George Golightly, Facilities Supervisor - Phone: (865) 482-2875                                                (865) 361-2702    facilities@

Karen Wilkins-Butz - Lay Pastoral Associate Phone: (865) 482-2875 pastoralassociate@


John Proteau - Parish Bookkeeper - Phone: (865) 482-2875  bookkeeper@


Cyndi Panter, Director of Religious Education - Phone: (865) 482-2875

George Golightly has a degree in engineering from the University of Portland (run by the Congregation of the Holy Cross).  George worked at several nuclear power plants and ALCOA before coming to Saint Mary Parish.

Karen Wilkins-Butz has been a familiar face at St. Mary’s for 35 years. Her background in art and special education gave her experiences useful for the many years she volunteered in the parish religious education program.  As the Director of Religious Education, she was privileged to work with many dedicated volunteer teachers, children, youth, and parents. After receiving a MS in Pastoral Studies from Loyola University in 2008, she assumed the additional role of Pastoral Associate. Retired as Director of Religious Education in 2015, she continues as Pastoral Associate and also volunteers in the parish office. She enjoys traveling to different countries with husband Todd, as well as spending vacation time with their three adult children and three grandchildren.


John Proteau is the Parish Bookkeeper.  He received his Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from Florida Atlantic University.   He has worked in management for over 30 years during his time in the South East and South West Florida. John has been a parishioner at Saint Mary Parish since 2012. He is married to Lisa, with two children and four grandchildren.

Cyndi has been a parish member since 1994. She joined the office staff in 2001. Cyndi has been married to her husband John for many years, and they have been blessed to raise their two amazing children Zach and Meghan at Saint Mary Parish and look forward to the same with their precious granddaughter, Hope.


Diane Wright -  Parish Secretary Phone: (865) 482-2875


Diane was born in Upstate New York and has lived in several different states as well as Saudi Arabia and Trinidad. She has traveled extensively throughout the world.  Diane moved to Oak Ridge in 1984 when she joined the St. Mary’s Parish family.  She is married to Tony Wright and together they have 4 children and 4 grandchildren.  She graduated from the University of Tennessee and has worked in the field of aging for over 30 years.  She has facilitated caregiver support groups in the area including the group at St. Mary’s Parish.   Diane failed retirement, and currently is working at St. Mary’s as the Parish Secretary.


Kristen Walsh, Director of Youth Ministry - Phone: (865) 482-2875

I am a graduate of Alfred-Almond Central School in Almond, NY, and I have an associate degree in social sciences and liberal Arts from Alfred State College (class of 2012) in Alfred, NY.  I returned to College at Franciscan University of Steubenville in the Fall of 2013 and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Theology in 2015. I love working with Youth, and love helping them grow in their faith. As the Youth Minister I get walk with them on their journey, whether that is in Youth Ministry, or Sacramental Prep for those in 7th thru 12th grades.

Selene Mayorga - Communications  Phone: (865) 482-2875

Selene has been a member at St. Mary Parish since she was a little girl. She is the newest parish office staff member and is fluent in Spanish. Selene oversees the weekly printed bulletin, the bulletin blast, the Vermont Avenue sign, and the parish social media accounts, just to name a few things. Selene will soon be working to update/manage the parish website! She enjoys teaching 2nd-grade Religious Education and is slowly picking back up her long-lost hobby of flute playing by joining in the 10:30 am Mass choir. Selene and her husband keep busy with their three beautiful sons. For ideas or suggestions, please email Selene directly or call the parish office to speak with her. For bulletin entries, you may send an email to

Sister Mary John, O.P.- School Principal - Phone (865) 483-9700

Sister Mary John, O.P. - School Principal - Phone (865) 483-9700

I am a native of Minster, Ohio and have been a member of the Dominican Sisters for 30 years.  During this time, I have worked with students as teacher and principal in elementary schools in the Dioceses of Nashville (TN), Charleston (SC), New Orleans (LA) and Richmond (VA). I have graduate degrees in School Administration, Curriculum & Instruction, Speech and Hearing Pathology and Theology (Early Church History). I have also worked in the Vocation Office of the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia. I am happy to be a part of the St. Mary Parish Family in the beautiful surroundings of East Tennessee.

Allison Hatton- Director of Admissions Phone: (865) 483-9700 admissions@

Allison Hatton may be new to Admissions at St.Mary’s, but she has almost a decade of previous admissions experience! Her first calling is that of Mother to her three boys, who all attend St. Mary’s, and a wife to her supportive husband. She also has the enormous blessing to being a teaching assistant in the P-3 classroom. Allison is an optimistic person who truly values her connections with God and the people around her. In her spare time, you can find her spending time with her family and dog, baking, and enjoying the outdoors!


 Michel Goldman - Director of Development Phone: (865) 483-9700



Michel joined the SMS family in March 2021 and looks forward to sharing her experiences in higher education, private secondary school and nonprofit environments as a fundraiser and volunteer manager. She welcomes anyone interested in helping with fundraising, volunteering and alumni efforts to please reach out to her. She lives in West Knoxville with her husband, Phil , two daughters, three cats and dog.  Both daughters attended St John Neumann Catholic School, K-8. Their oldest daughter, Megan is studying Musical Theatre in New York and youngest daughter, Molly is attending Knoxville Catholic High School. They are members of All Saints Parish and enjoy traveling, gardening, attending musical theatre and concerts and spending time with friends.


Laura Palacios - School Administrative Assistant - adminassist@

Megan Kupfer- SMS Office Manager - Phone: (865) 483-9700

Mrs. Megan Kupfer currently serves as the Office Manager at Saint Mary’s School.  She brings to the organization 5+ years of experience in business management, operations, and startups.  She is a member of Saint Mary’s Parish. Prior to being employed at Saint Mary’s School, Megan served as a volunteer in the school’s cafeteria for 3 years . Megan relocated to Oak Ridge, TN with her husband and son in 2017 from her hometown of Weirton, WV. She is a graduate of West Liberty State University, as well as a third-generation alumni of the Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ohio. Outside of the school office, Megan enjoys cooking, landscaping, and spending time with her family on the lake.

Denise Miller - Safe Environment Coordinator SEC@

Denise Miller was initiated into the church at St. Mary’s Parish in April of 1990. She and her husband Dennis were founding members of All Saints Parish in 1994 and attended there until they returned to St. Mary’s in 2003. Their 3 children, James, Sarah, & Mary are all graduates of St. Mary’s School and Denise worked as a full-time teacher there for four years. Denise currently serves as a substitute teacher at the school and is the Safe Environment Coordinator for the Parish.

Mrs. Bailey Broussard recently joined the St. Mary’s office staff as the assistant bookkeeper. She has many years of experience in sales, bookkeeping, and education. Bailey recently relocated to the Knoxville area with her husband, Beau, and their 3 children. Her oldest attends Knoxville Catholic High School and the two younger children attend St. John Neumann Catholic School. They are partitioners at SJNCC and enjoy expanding their minds to different aspects of the Catholic faith and exploring God’s creation of the outdoors.