Father Elser was born and raised in Hot Springs with his 5 brothers and 3 sisters. His mother still resides in the family home she and her late husband moved into 54 years ago. Growing up in St. Mary’s parish in Hot Springs, Father Elser and his brothers all served as altar boys when Monsignor Malone was assigned there some 40+ years ago. Heeding the call to the priesthood, Father Elser entered Holy Trinity Seminary in Dallas after earning his BA in Philosophy at UCA. He celebrated the 24th anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood on May 31st.
Over the years, Father Elser has served many Catholic parishes throughout Arkansas. One of his early assignments was with former Sacred Heart Pastor Father Rossi in Mountain Home, and over the years he has served in parishes from Fort Smith to Jonesboro and most recently in Benton and back home in Hot Springs.
Father Elser has been shepherd to many flocks and to the spiritual well-being of the young and old alike. He counseled college age students at the Newman Center when he was appointed to Jonesboro, and he thoroughly enjoys opportunities to teach youngsters about their religion. He has ample experience administering to the spiritual needs of the “retired generations” as well, having ministered to parishes in Mountain Home and Fairfield Bay.
Father Elser recently served as State Chaplain to the Arkansas Council of the Knights of Columbus. He traveled to Rome in early June. With the other state chaplains, he participated in services marking the end the Catholic Church’s year-long special dedication of prayer and reflection on the ministry of the priesthood – the Year for Priests.