A native of Quincy, Illinois, Fr. Daren J. Zehnle was born to the late George William "Bill" and late Patricia Ann "Pat" Szarka Zehnle in 1978.
He served as Parochial Vicar at St. Anthony of Padua Parish in Effingham, Illinois from July 2005 through September 2009, where he taught at St. Anthony High School and was assistant coach to the boys' soccer, wrestling and track teams.
From September 2009 through January 2011 he served as Pastor of Sacred Heart Parish in Virden, Illinois and of St. Patrick Parish in Girard, Illinois. From July 2010 through January 2011 he served as Pastor of Holy Cross Parish in Auburn, Illinois.
Since January 2011 he serves as Episcopal Master of Ceremonies and the Associate Director of the Office for Vocations.
After completing his studies and preparation for the priesthood at the University of Saint Mary of the Lake/Mundelein Seminary, he was ordained a Roman Catholic priest in service of the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois by the Most Reverend George J. Lucas, D.D. on May 28, 2005. (You may read about his call to the priesthood here.)
Fr. Zehnle holds a Bachelor of Arts (in history) from Quincy University (2000), a Baccalaureate in Sacred Theology from the University of Saint Mary of the Lake/Mundelein Seminary (2005), and a Master of Divinity (Summa cum laude) from the University of Saint Mary of the Lake/Mundelein Seminary (2005).
He is currently pursuing a Licentiate of Sacred Theology in sacramental theology from the Liturgical Institute of the University of Saint of the Lake/Mundelein Seminary.
He graduated from Quincy Senior High School in 1996 and from Blessed Sacrament Grade School - then St. John the Baptist grade school - in 1992.
While in high school and college, he worked as a sales associate for KB Toys and as a customer service representative for the Quincy Herald-Whig. He was also involved in Great River Teens Encounter Christ and Quincy University Campus Ministry. He served as a Resident Assistant in Quincy University's North Campus
Dormitory as well as secretary to the Spiritual Director of the Secular Franciscan Order of the Province of the Sacred Heart.
Fr. Zehnle is a Fourth Degree Knight of Columbus, a member of the International Arthurian Society/North American Branch, a member of the Medieval Academy of America, an Associate Member of the Society for Catholic Liturgy and a member of the Society of Catholic Scholars.
Fr. Zehnle has also authored several published articles on both youth ministry and suffering.
In his free time, he enjoys reading, writing, swimming, playing video games, visiting with friends and family, and researching his genealogy. He also enjoy Star Wars, The Lord of the Rings, and anything and everything involving King Arthur. His theological interests include the place of play in Christian discipleship, the Liturgy
and the sacraments, and the Easter Vigil.