Brothers and sisters,
It seems very unusual to speak of joyous days when the state and the country are dealing with a pandemic, but life goes on and a joy for us has been the ordination of two new priests who are so greatly needed.
After a delay of several weeks, two seminarians for the diocesan priesthood were ordained by me in July. These were days of great joy and these two new priests, after years of seminary preparation, will begin their assignments in early August.
Fr. Ben Johnson will be serving as parochial vicar at St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Manitowoc and Fr. Kevin Ripley at St. Raphael the Archangel Parish in Oshkosh.
Fr. Ripley will also be assigned as priest celebrant in Omro and Winneconne.
Besides parish responsibilities, both priests will assume a new responsibility in the diocese as chaplains at the Catholic high schools in Manitowoc and Oshkosh, respectively, for at least one day a week. Hopefully, this will help raise awareness of a calling to the priesthood by some of our young men.
This is part of the vocation goal we are engaging in and will increase even more over the next number of years to arrive at our goal of at least 30 seminarians by 2025.
Thank you so much for your ongoing prayers and support for our seminarians and the increasing awareness of the need for more priests and consecrated women and men in the diocese.
Have an enjoyable remainder of the summer vacation! We will adapt and adjust to so many seeming threats in the days ahead, but God is with us and asks for our love and respect for him and one another. Deo gratias!
Follow Bishop Ricken on Twitter, @BpDavidRicken.