• July 2, 2020

The Rev. Hayter leaves ranch for priesthood - Odessa American: People

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The Rev. Hayter leaves ranch for priesthood

Fort Stockton native’s ranching family dates to early 20th Century

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Posted: Saturday, June 27, 2020 3:30 am

MIDLAND Born into a ranching family that goes back 110 years, Father Timothy Hayter was supposed to be a cowboy.

Everything he’d done pointed to that, but God sent him in another direction and starting July 1 he will become the parochial vicar at St. Ann’s Catholic Church and School at 1906 W. Texas Ave.

The Rev. Hayter (pronounced High-ter) has served the past two years as parochial vicar, or assistant pastor, at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church in Odessa and before that had the same role at St. Stephen’s Catholic Church in Midland.

After graduating from Fort Stockton High School, he went to Howard College in Big Spring on a livestock judging scholarship and then earned a bachelor’s degree in food science at Texas Tech.

Hayter, 37, was with a food company in Arlington for two years and returned home to work at a bank and be business manager for Longfellow Ranch Partners south of Fort Stockton. His parents Bob and Nancy own the Hayter and Lethco cattle ranches in Pecos and Reeves counties. He has two brothers and a sister.

“I grew up on the ranch 40 miles southwest of Fort Stockton,” he said. “On weekends and in the summers and on Christmas breaks, I was always out there. It’s part of who we are.”

Asked how he decided to enter the priesthood, Hayter said, “It was God himself.

“I was trying to figure out what the Lord wanted of me in life and I was doing different things at church with youth groups and choirs and taking high school kids to retreats. I had plenty of time to pray and I realized that something was missing.

“I was dating at that time and had a whole different track or plan in mind. I didn’t feel worthy and it took a while to deal with all those things. I eventually knew without a doubt that this was what God was calling me to do and that he would give me whatever I needed to do it.

“This whole thing allows me to be there for people when they need me the most, when I can actually help them.”

Hayter enrolled at St. Mary’s Seminary in Houston at age 27 and after ordination was assigned to St. Stephen’s. He also serves on the San Angelo Diocese boards governing the priests’ pension fund, the charitable foundation and the priestly life and formation group.

One of the most meaningful Scriptures to him is Isaiah 41:10, which says, “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

Hayter also cited Second Corinthians 12:10: “For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

Bishop Michael Sis said St. Ann’s Parish “is a vibrant community with many active families who will greatly appreciate Father Hayter’s youth and energy.

“St. Ann’s is building a multi-million-dollar youth activity center to better serve young people,” the bishop said. “Because Father Hayter connects so well with youth and young adults, he is a very good fit for St. Ann’s, which has our largest Catholic school.

“The teachers and students will benefit tremendously from his joyful demeanor, his theological wisdom and his generous heart.”

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