Rev. Fr. Joseph Maxwell Appiagyei from a family of seven siblings, was born to Peter and Victoria (all deceased) on October 17, 1967 at Kumasi, Ghana and received the sacrament of baptism the following year at the St. Peter’s Cathedral Basilica, Kumasi. He is one of the two sets of twins of his parents. However, he had the inspiration to become a priest at the very early age of 10 years. Whilst having dinner with his father and siblings at table one day, the father was asking each of his kids what they would want to become in the future, and coming to his turn, young Maxwell just said “I would like to be a priest.” When his father asked for the second time, if he doesn’t want to be a Doctor or Pharmacist or a Lawyer or an Architect or banker etc. he emphatically said, “even if I become one of those, I will still become a priest.” 

After completing the high school in 1988, he entered the St. Paul Major Seminary in 1990 for a year discernment and two years Philosophical studies. He was sent to Rome for the continuation of his seminary formation and Theology studies in Collegio Sedes Sapientiae and the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross respectively, where he obtained his Bachelor’s degree in Theology in 1996. He then received the sacred order of the diaconate in the basilica of St. Appolinaire in Rome. He later had his priestly ordination back home in Ghana in 1997 at the Cathedral of St Thomas, Obuasi, Ghana. He was sent again to Rome to specialize in Moral Theology at the same Pontifical University, graduating with a Licentiate in Sacred Theology. (STL) 

In the pastoral ministry in his diocese in Ghana, Fr. Maxwell worked in the various capacities as Parochial Vicar at the Cathedral, Director of vocations, Chaplain to the youth ministry, Pastor in Parishes and Rector of the Cathedral for 8 years, Dean of a Deanery, Vicar general to the bishop and moderator of the Curia, member of the priest personnel board and the college of consultors to the bishop, and an adjunct professor of Theology for 7 years in the St. Gregory the Great provincial Major Seminary, Kumasi. 

Internationally, he has had pastoral apostolate in parishes in New York, New Orleans (U.S.A), London (U.K) and Ravenna (Italy). In 2019, Fr. Maxwell was sent by his bishop to the Richmond diocese to help in pastoral apostolate for some time. He has ministered in the St. Edward Parish, Richmond, as parochial Vicar and in the Cluster churches of St. Peter Pro Cathedral, St. Patrick and St. John, Richmond as Pastor. On the first of July this year, he was assigned by the bishop to be the Parish Administrator of St. Patrick in Lexington. He speaks fluently in English and Italian, whilst having some understanding in Spanish, Greek, Latin and French. His hobby is listening to gospel music, meditating with nature and reading. Smiling has become part and parcel of his lifestyle.

Fr. J. Maxwell Appiagyei


Deacon Paul was born and raised in North Haven, Connecticut. A graduate of VMI, Deacon Paul has a BS in Civil Engineering and an MS in Construction Management from George Washington University.

After retiring from the Army with over twenty years of service Deacon Paul worked for several A&E firms and the local transportation system in Atlanta. Deacon Paul was ordained a Permanent Deacon in the Archdiocese of Atlanta in February 2009.

Deacon Paul and his wife, Elise, moved to Lexington in March of 2020. They have three children and three grandchildren.

Deacon Paul Gorski


As DRE, Kathleen serves as programs administrator, heading a staff of 40 volunteers, in the Sunday Religious Education program (K-HS), Sacramental Prep (Baptism, Penance, Eucharist, and Confirmation), Adult Faith Formation, New Evangelization, Vacation Bible School, and Youth Liturgical Ministry, and she is the Coordinator of the parish’s collegian and non-collegian RCIA studies. She also maintains the Sacraments Registry. As a Liturgy team member, she writes the Sunday Mass Universal Petitions four times annually, serves as a Lector, and sings in the Choir. In response to the Church’s mission within the New Evangelization, Kathleen’s weekly radio program, Kindle My Fire©, celebrates Catholic spirituality, and is inspired by Scripture, doctrine, the saints, and sacred music. The program, which began in 2015, airs Sunday mornings at 8:30 on local Classic 96.7, 3WZ FM, and at 9:30 a.m. on 100.3 fm and 1450 am. Each Sunday’s show can be livestreamed from, and is linked to the parish website. She  writes the Sunday Scripture lesson for the parish Bulletin, is an approved Diocesan speaker, and serves on the Preschool Board.

Originally from the Philadelphia Archdiocese, Kathleen received her elementary faith formation at the Polish-American parochial school she attended in Pottstown, Pennsylvania, and earned her Catholic college preparatory school diploma at Villa Maria Academy, Malvern, on the Philadelphia Main Line. The holds a Master of Arts degree in Religious Studies in Dogmatic Theology from St. Joseph’s Seminary, Dunwoodie, Yonkers, New York, the major seminary of the New York Archdiocese; a Master of Arts in Liberal Studies in Humanities, with a concentration in Catholic Theology Expressed through Literature and Film, from Hollins University, Roanoke; and a Master of Arts in Screenwriting and Film Studies, which focuses on Catholic Perspectives in Cinema, also at Hollins. Her undergraduate degrees are an Associate in Science in Equine Studies with a Hunt Seat Equitation Teacher’s Certificate from Southern Seminary Junior College, Buena Vista, and a Bachelor of Arts in English with a Creative Writing/Poetry
concentration from Hollins College.

Married to former Roanoke Catholic School Head, Ray-Eric Correia (W&L; NYU) from 1975 until his passing in 2018, Kathleen commuted for many years between her husband’s native New York City and their horse farm in Rockbridge County, working primarily in Catholic and secular print and broadcast journalism, equestrian sports journalism, and was active in many parish ministries in Manhattan and Lexington. She was a reporter for Catholic New York, at the recommendation of John Cardinal. O’Connor, Archbishop of New York, and for the Catholic Virginian, among other publications, and a copy editor locally at The News-Gazette. A highlight of her career was working with her Manhattan pastor, Msgr. Michael J. Wrenn, Cardinal O’Connor’s Special Consultant for Religious Education, and EWTN’s Father Gerald E. Murray, JCD, on theological corrections to the initial English translation of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, at the Vatican Editor’s request, prior to its release for publication in
the United States.

She holds certificates in development and fundraising, business communications, hunt-seat equitation instruction, and worked locally with the Virginia Horse Center Foundation in its early stages. In addition to theology, literature, creative writing, and film studies, she has a background in ballet, music composition and performance, drama, mounted foxhunting, and liturgy. A quote from her patron, St. Catherine of Siena, serves as her guide, “Be who God meant you to be, and you will set the world ablaze.”

Kathleen Nowacki-Correia, MARS, MALS, MA

Director of Religious Education

Justin was born near Irvine in southern California to good Catholic parents and grew up in Santa Maria on the state’s central coast. At age sixteen he moved with his family to western Ohio. After graduating high school, Justin assisted his late father Daniel with his irrigation design business and became a freelance writer before relocating to rural Rockbridge County in the fall of 2008.

Justin studied piano and organ in his youth under several different private tutors while delving into music theory and composition on his own. He was a substitute organist at two Catholic parishes in his mid-teen years. Since 2009, Justin has served as music director for the annual “God the Father Feast Day” celebration at Terra Patris near Goshen. Before coming to St. Patrick’s, Justin served as a choir member at Saint Francis of Assisi Parish in Staunton, where he has been a registered parishioner since 2008. Justin is a composer and arranger of classical piano music for a variety of performance levels. He has also released a two-CD instrumental piano album, Selections from The St. Michael Hymnal (2013). Justin is currently working to earn a bachelor’s degree in music studies.

Justin’s approach to music and liturgy is shaped by a profound appreciation for the riches of Catholic tradition along with the guiding principles set forth by the Second Vatican Council, particularly in Sacrosanctum concilium (The Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy). Realizing that sacred music and the Church’s liturgy are intimately interrelated as the noblest forms of prayer to the glory of God, Justin collaborates with the Pastor, parish staff members, choir, and instrumentalists to organize and execute Masses, prayer services, weddings, and other musical and liturgical events that are appropriate and dignified in order to nourish and strengthen the life of the vibrant St. Patrick faith community.


An accomplished author and occasional blogger, Justin has published more than 100 articles on faith, politics, science, the environment, and other topics in various print and digital publications including Lay Witness, Inside the Vatican, Catholic Online, Catholic Exchange, Catholic365, Intellectual Conservative, OpEdNews, and EzineArticles. His book America’s Back-Door Enemy (Tate Publishing, 2009) discusses terrorism from a Catholic perspective. Justin is also a dedicated gardener and small farmer. In his spare time he enjoys reading, fishing, coin collecting, and amateur astronomy.

Justin Soutar

Director of Music and Assistant Director of Liturgy

St. Patrick's Parish Office Manager is Leslie Straughan of Lexington. She joined the staff in November 2010, and loves interaction with people, especially those she encounters in her job. Leslie is married to Rob Straughan and has two sons. She graduated from the University of Texas with a degree in Chemical Engineering. In her spare time, she enjoys the outdoors and gardening.

Leslie Straughan

Office Manager

Cindy was born and raised in the small town of Covington, Ga. Catholics were definitely in the minority there, but her parents instilled a strong belief in their children which continues today. Bill and Cindy first came to Lexington in 1996 when Bill was assigned to VMI ROTC. They liked it so much that after 26 years of Army life, they retired from the Army to Rockbridge County.

As Administrative Assistant she coordinates the Liturgical Ministry Schedule and serves on the Adult Faith/Evangelization team, among other duties; as a volunteer, she serves as lector and usher, makes the bibs for Baptisms, and helps out with parish events and the live stream. Fun fact, Cindy is also an H&R Block tax preparer. She and Bill have three adult children and two grandchildren. In her little spare time, Cindy enjoys walking, sewing, reading, baking, playing board games, and traveling.

Cindy Bither

Administrative Assistant