Parish Staff


Father Brent Shelton, St. Mary's Pastor - Phone: (865) 482-2875 Ext. 1


Father Pontian Kiyimba, A.J. - Associate Pastor Phone: (865) 482-2875 Ext. 2 parochialvicar@


Deacon Gary Sega, Pastoral Associate - Phone: (865) 482-2875 deacon1@


Deacon John DeClue, Pastoral Associate - Phone: (865) 482-2875 Ext. 9

Father Shelton grew up in East Texas. He is a graduate of Conception Seminary College (BA 1996), Saint Meinrad School of Theology (MA 1999, MDiv 2001), and the joint Pastoral Leadership Institute of Mundelein Seminary and Northwestern University (CPL 2017).  Bishop Kurtz of Knoxville ordained Father Shelton to the Order of Deacons in 2000 and to the Order of Presbyters in 2001.  Father Shelton has been pastor of Saint Mary Parish since 2015.

I was born in Uganda. I’m a religious and missionary priest belonging to the order of the Apostles of Jesus. After high school (minor seminary) in Uganda I went to Kenya and joined the Apostles of Jesus scholasticate; an institute affiliated to the Urbaniana university in Rome for philosophy and Theology. I went to Tanzania for Novitiate. I was ordained to the priesthood in Uganda on August 6 2005. After ordination I worked in Kenya in the minor seminary and at the Apostles of Jesus generalate(headquarters). I’ve been working in the diocese of Knoxville since November 1, 2012.

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
Deacon Dave Duhamel, Pastoral Associate - Phone: (865) 310-2163 deacon3@

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


Kathy Mesmer, Parish Director of Liturgical Music Phone: (865) 482-2875 Ext. 7


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

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.

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


John Proteau - Parish Bookkeeper - Phone: (865) 482-2875 Ext. 4 bookkeeper@


Andrea Orton

Assistant Bookkeeper - Phone: (865) 482-2875 bookkeeperassist@

Kristen Walsh, Director of Youth Ministry - Phone: (865) 482-2875 Ext.6    youth@

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.

Andrea has been a parishioner at St. Mary’s since moving to the region in 2016.  She has a Masters degree in Biological Sciences specializing in arachnology and animal behavior from the University of Cincinnati.  She and her husband have three daughters and is excited to assist the parish bookkeeping office after being a stay-at-home mommy for several years.

I was born in Gainesville, Florida and lived in that area until I was 10. At this time my Dad moved us to Jacksonville, Florida for work. Two years later my Dad moved us (my Mom, and us 6 kids) to the town of Hornell in NY to be closer to family. Over the course of several years another 6 siblings joined my family, bringing our total to 12 kids in all. Yes, it’s a lot I know, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything! The age difference between the oldest and youngest is 24 years! I am a graduate of Alfred-Almond Central School in Almond, NY, and I have an Associate’s 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 took a full-time position for 2 parishes in Rochester and Brighton NY as the Director of Youth, and Young Adult Ministry, but also doing Safe Environment for the School, Scouts, Visitation Ministers, and CYO Basketball teams. I also oversaw the Sacramental Preparation for First Reconciliation/First Communion, and Confirmation.


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


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

Pedro Palacios - Director of Hispanic Ministry - ministeriohispano@

Laura Palacios - School Administrative Assistant - adminassist@

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

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.

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

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

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

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


Megan Kupfer- SMS Office Manager - 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 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 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.

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@

Cyndi Panter, Director of Religious Education - Phone: (865) 482-2875 Ext. 3


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.

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.