Rev. Steve Carretto was born in Beatrice, Neb., the son of an LCMS pastor. While the family members moved three times when Carretto was a child, they never ventured out of the state of Nebraska.
Carretto attended Concordia University Nebraska, Seward, from 2001-05, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in geography and a minor in pre-seminary courses. He also played basketball and tennis for the Bulldogs.
Soon after graduating from Concordia University, Carretto married Jessica Otte and the couple moved to St. Louis while he attended Concordia Seminary from 2006-10 and earned his Master of Divinity. At the Seminary, Carretto said community and joy came together and came to life for him.
“The brotherhood I felt at the Seminary through classes and basketball, the incredible relationships that I found in the professors and the love and passion for the Word of God was a gift to me that I will always cherish,” he said.
Carretto has a specific memory about embracing the joy of forgiveness in Christ. As a fourth-year student meeting with Dr. Bruce Hartung, now an emeritus professor. “I remember leaving his office one day, passionately filled with the joy of forgiveness that I couldn’t wait to take and proclaim to the congregation I was called to and live it out joyfully with them!” he recalled.
Carretto served his vicarage year at St. Paul Lutheran Church and School in Boca Raton, Fla., where he was later called as associate pastor in 2010 and remains there today with his wife and their three sons. In 2015, Carretto was called as St. Paul’s senior pastor.
He said living out the community and joy in the congregation comes in a variety of ways. One way, he said, is quite practical. The congregation has started a fund at St. Paul based around the joy of forgiveness.
“We see the burden of student debt that piles up for pastors,” Carretto said. “We want to alleviate that as best we can so that pastors and their families are free and joyous in their congregations without worrying about the weight of finances and debt. We have wiped clean two pastors’ debt so far this year and what a joy it was to see their faces and feel the weight being lifted off their shoulders!”
St. Paul in Boca Raton started its debt removal fund with the hope that more churches will join them in this journey to walk as the “community of Christ” with joy and freedom in the forgiveness of Christ who took away our debt on the Cross.
If you would like to learn more about St. Paul’s debt removal fund, please contact Carretto at email@example.com or 561-395-0433 Ext. 101.
“I thank my Heavenly Father through Jesus Christ and by the power of the Holy Spirit, who grew me up in the church, called me back to the church and makes life a joy in the church every day!” he said.