Attending a Friend’s Wedding Sets the Course for Father Andy Garner’s Destiny

Melissa Owens

The Ashland Beacon

   As a second grader, Andy Garner attended a friend’s wedding with his family at Holy Family Catholic Church. After the ceremony, he vividly remembers the priest at the time, Fr. Ted Keller putting his hand on his head and saying, “I want you to keep your spiritual ears of your heart open because God may call you to be a priest. And when he does, you want to hear Him with the ears of your heart.”

   Today, The Very Reverend D. Andrew Canon Garner, KHS (Knight of the Holy Sepulchre) and Priest of the Diocese has answered the call and has been serving Holy Family Catholic Church since June 15. Coming to the parish, he has 17 years of experience.

   Garner was born at Kings Daughters Hospital and attended Charles Russell Elementary until the fourth grade. While waiting on his parents to build their house in Boyd County, he lived with his grandmother on Hampton Street and would have to catch a bus on Skyline Drive for an hour-and-a-half ride to attend Cannonsburg Elementary. He would attend Cannonsburg until the eighth grade and graduated from Boyd County High School.

   Leaving the area to attend the University of Kentucky, Garner received his undergraduate degree in marketing. From there he worked for the Hyatt Corporation in hospitality. Next, he would become an Associate Dean for the University of Kentucky Medical Center.

   In 1995 Garner began his Seminary studies. These included St. Meinrad in Southern Indiana, Benedictine House of Studies, Benedictine Monks, Biblical School in Jerusalem; Rome, Italy, and the Cirimex Institute in Guadalajara, Mexico.

   Garner has both a helpful and unique outlook on Christian daily service by saying, “I’m rarely overwhelmed. In July 2010 I attended a 30-day silent retreat by applying Ignatius of Loyola spiritual exercises with a 12-step approach. I came to the realization that we don’t do things for the Lord. We do things with the Lord. If we do them for Him, it’s like we’re in a boxing ring and we get beat up. With the Lord, it’s His ministry.”

   Garner says, “The things that bring me the greatest joy are celebrating sacraments with people and celebrating confession. At first, I couldn’t do absolution without crying.”

   In November Garner and his parish will get to experience something else amazing together by traveling to the Holy Land – 26 pilgrims in all!

   Never underestimate the powerful words of a wise priest to a young child willing to listen with his heart rather than just his ears. God bless Fr. Andy for choosing the journey that God had in store for him.

   Holy Family Catholic Church is located at 900 Winchester Avenue, Ashland. Mass is offered Monday – Friday at 7:50 a.m. On Saturday confessions are offered at 3:00 p.m. and Mass is at 4:00 p.m. On Sunday Mass is offered at 9:00 a.m., 11:15 a.m., and Spanish Mass is offered at 4:00 p.m.

   At 3:00 p.m. on Saturday confessions are offered at the St. Lawrence Mission located at 799 State Highway 1947, Greenup, KY.

If you would like to contact the Church, call the office at 606.329.1607 Monday – Friday 8:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. or email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..