Zimmer Forum kicks off 20th season in new Manitowoc location

By Jeff Kurowski | The Compass | August 26, 2020

ALLOUEZ — The 20th season of the Father Bill Zimmer Forum will feature a new location.

The Zimmer Auditorium, located in the Fine Arts Center at Roncalli High School in Manitowoc, is the new home for the monthly speaker series. The forum is offered from noon to 1 p.m. on the second Tuesday of each month, September through November and February through April. Presentations are free and open to the public. Registration is not necessary.

The forum is named for Fr. Bill Zimmer, who served as pastor of Sacred Heart Parish, Manitowoc, from 1976 until the time of his death in 1999. He also served as an adjunct professor at Silver Lake College in Manitowoc. Fr. Zimmer was known as an ecumenical leader, a champion for social justice and a catalyst for Hmong and Hispanic ministries in the Manitowoc area. In 1995, he was named National Pastor of the Year by the Interfaith Academy of Parish Clergy.

The speaker series began in Manitowoc in 2001 at Sacred Heart Parish, which later became the St. Francis of Assisi Parish religious education facility. Mary Zimmer, Fr. Zimmer’s sister, helped found the forum and continues to assist with the planning of the monthly presentations.

According to Mary, Fr. Zimmer loved reading so the forum fittingly asks presenters to focus on books that helped shape their minds and hearts on their personal faith journeys that may be of interest to the participants.

In 2011, the forum moved from the parish site to Silver Lake College, which became Holy Family College in 2019. Holy Family College will officially close on Aug. 29. The forum’s move to Roncalli was planned prior to the announcement of Holy Family’s closing.

“Roncalli High School is honored to host the 20th Father Bill Zimmer Forum, coincidentally, in the Zimmer Auditorium of the Fine Arts Center,” said Fr. Dave Beaudry, director of mission and discipleship for Roncalli Catholic Schools. “Fr. Bill embodied Matthew 25 in a profound and quiet way, welcoming all who came to his door, regardless of race or religious beliefs. In so many ways, the forum mirrors this vision, welcoming presenters of any culture or religious tradition. All are welcome to attend.”

Fr. Beaudry will once again introduce the speakers at the forum. Taylor Geiger, vocation coordinator for the Diocese of Green Bay, will kick off the 2020-2021 season on Tuesday, Sept. 8. Geiger will discuss the book “Chasing Humility — 8 Ways to Shape a Christian Heart” by Joel Stepanek.

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