ALLOUEZ — Vocations Week in the Diocese of Green Bay will occur from Nov. 6-12 and for Mike Donart, that’s his week. “I wanted a vocations ministry,” he said. “I want to see if we can foster an environment that could lead people to think about a vocation.”
Donart is determined to succeed in his mission. “I enjoy being in different situations to see things to fruition.” As far as vocations go, Resurrection Parish, now in its 53rd year, “has not had a priest or nun come out of the parish,” he said.
He wants to see the parish pray for vocations, especially at an All School Mass that will focus on that matter. “Hopefully, in the long term, it will come to fruition if we set the environment.”
Donart looks to the young people who serve at Mass, who have made their first Communion and confirmation. “If they’re prayerful,” he said, “perhaps the light bulb will eventually go on.” Another option he considers is “men who have lost their wives and look at the diaconate,” the first of three ranks in ordained ministry.
The former sheriff was part of the Brown County Department from 1973-1996, joining the force on Aug. 1, 1973. He served in patrol for 11 years, followed by 12 years in administration. He enjoyed his patrol shift, from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m., “so I could get home to see my children.”
Donart raised two children, including Amelia, 42, who lives in Minnesota, and Michael, 40, of Fond du Lac. He has six grandchildren ranging in age from 18 months to 10 years old.
Donart has served Resurrection as an usher and as a member of the parish pastoral council. He has been heavily involved in the Knights of Columbus and the Serra Club, which cites as mission objectives “to foster and promote vocations to the Catholic priesthood and religious life, and to encourage its members to fulfill their own Christian vocations to service.”
He admires Fr. Michael McGivney, founder of the Knights of Columbus, who began studies for the priesthood but was called home to help support his mother and siblings when his father died. He returned to his priestly studies at age 29. “He saw a need for the organization to support widows and orphans,” Donart said.
The retiree is also involved with the American Red Cross. As a sheriff’s deputy responding to accident calls during his night shifts, Donart started donating blood in the 1970s and coordinated blood drives between Resurrection and St. Matthew parishes. Later he was the only Green Bay member on the Red Cross state board.
He is on the alumni board of Northeast Wisconsin Technical College, where he was among the first graduates from the old Broadway campus in 1971. Later he was an adjunct instructor at the college.
Donart has helped raise funds for the Cerebral Palsy Telethon from 1995-2015, bringing in $103,000 during his tenure and establishing a data base of donors.