As was mentioned at Masses last weekend, I am happy to be able to share with you that Archbishop Listecki has appointed Fr. Philip Schumaker as the new pastor of St. Mary’s and he has also assigned Fr. Reji Chacko, a priest of the Order of St. Camillus as part-time Associate Pastor! Please pray for them both as they prepare to take the reins of the parish. I wanted to share with you a few more details about the transition to a new pastor. The first is that Fr. Schumaker is looking forward to beginning his assignment here. He is currently pastor of three of the parishes in Bayview in Milwaukee, having previously served as Associate Pastor at our neighboring parish, St. John Vianney. He’ll have the opportunity to introduce himself to you more fully in the coming months. Fr. Schumaker’s assignment here will begin on November 1st of this year. Fr. Chacko, who is currently completing his Clinical Pastoral Education, will begin his assignment here on July 5th. I myself will be leaving St. Mary’s on July 31st. As you can see, there is a three month gap between my departure and Fr. Schumaker’s arrival. In order to bridge this gap, we will have a Temporary Administrator for the parish for the months of August, September and October. The Temporary Administrator helps to guide the parish on an administrative level in the absence of a pastor and I am pleased to share that Deacon Stan Lowe will be filling that role for those months. He has had experience in this role before, having most recently served at St. Matthias Parish in Milwaukee. During those months, Fr. Chacko as well as a variety of help-out priests, will be filling the parish’s sacramental needs.
I myself will be assigned as pastor of two parishes in Dodge County – Annunciation in Fox Lake and St. Joseph’s in Waupun – I have always been interested in doing rural ministry and this will give me the opportunity to do so. I will begin those assignments on November 1st and will have the opportunity to go on a three-month sabbatical between leaving St. Mary’s and beginning my new assignment. Priests are allowed a three-month sabbatical for continuing formation once every ten years – I have never taken one and as I approach my eighteenth anniversary am grateful for the chance to do so. Fr. Behling is leaving at the end of May in order to begin advanced studies in theology and we certainly thank him for his two years of service here and wish him well as he begins school once again!
A few other notes, the first is that the Perpeutal Adoration Chapel design process is proceeding, we are working on plans and will hopefully have some more to share with the parish in the next couple of months – the design is truly stunning and will be a great addition to St. Mary’s! We are continuing also to work on the completion of the cemetery columbarium, we hope to be able to begin to sell niches once the project is completed, we will keep you informed as that goes forward. Many of you are also aware that Mrs. Mary Tretow, our school principal of the past twelve years will be leaving this summer – we are so grateful for her service over these years and we are in the process of hiring a new principal who will begin this summer and open the new school year up.
As we finally see more sun and experience more warmth, we are grateful to God for all His many blessings and ask Him for His guidance and protection!