MANITOWOC — John Maurer of Manitowoc enjoys going above and beyond in his faith.
“Just going to Mass isn’t enough. If you’re able and capable to spread the Word (of God) to others, you should,” he said. “We are all called to evangelize.”
Maurer grew up in Kenosha and moved to Manitowoc in 2016 at the urging of his “babcia” (Polish grandmother). She wasn’t living in her Manitowoc home and wanted him to stay there while he attended Lakeshore Technical College to study dairy herd management.
“When I first moved to Manitowoc and I got more out in the workforce, I saw that people needed the Lord in their lives. Without God, their lives definitely spiraled out of control,” Mauer said.
He worked on rural area farms before he quit to concentrate on refurbishing his grandmother’s house, where he now lives.
Growing up Catholic, Maurer was homeschooled, said his rosary daily, attended daily Mass and was an altar server. Once he moved to Manitowoc, he began attending his grandmother’s parish, St. Francis of Assisi on Marshall Street.
He enjoys being of use wherever he can. A couple of years ago, when the motors on the church bells weren’t ringing anymore, Maurer volunteered to climb the ladder to the bell tower and attach ropes to the bells so they could be rung before Sunday Mass.
Maurer uses his skills for other maintenance chores as well, such as painting the church window frames or trimming the bushes around the building.
“One morning, I heard the sound of hammering from right outside the rectory,” said Fr. Ben Johnson, parochial vicar of the parish, in an email. “I checked and saw the source was John — he was replacing an old, decayed staircase outside of one of the church’s unused exits. He offered his time and talents of his own volition, and this just was one of several other tasks that he quietly took upon himself in recent years in order to keep that beautiful old church in good condition.
“John clearly loves his faith and integrates it into his life. Whether it’s painting, repairing, cleaning or really anything, John is always up to the task,” added Fr. Johnson. “John is also a friend of the Hispanic community and has acted as a bridge on several occasions. While other men in their 20s might be absorbed with earthly matters and concerns, John’s mind and spirit are on the things of Heaven.”
Maurer also has helped with parish programs such as Edge, a middle school youth ministry, and Respect Life, a pro-life group that assists The Crossing of Manitowoc County, a Christian pregnancy support center.
“When I noticed John coming to daily morning Mass, I introduced myself,” said Ellen Wilhelm, St. Francis of Assisi Respect Life chairperson. “Since that time, I have been blessed to know John as a sincere young Catholic who takes his faith seriously. He is always ready to lend a hand with our Respect Life projects. We are so very blessed to have such a capable, dependable man in our parish.”
In addition, Mauer is a member of Exodus 90, a fraternity group in the rectory at St. Patrick’s Oratory in Green Bay. He enjoys the reverence and respect of the Latin Mass there, he said.
The group involves prayer and asceticism, designed to “strengthen a person from old habits to new,” Maurer said. “Prayer can change a lot of things in your life.”
In his spare time, Maurer enjoys playing church hymns on his piano.
He also has followed in his grandmother’s footsteps as part of a group effort to save the historic Catholic church building of the former St. Boniface Parish. The church, built in 1885, hasn’t been used for more than 15 years. The St. Boniface Society is working with the parish and the diocese so the building doesn’t get razed, he said.
“It’s a great opportunity to evangelize in the heart of downtown Manitowoc. It’s just a beautiful place. It reveres God so well. It’s a gift from past generations,” Maurer said.
His latest plans include taking part in a mission trip in May.
“I’ve barely been out of Wisconsin. I got a passport for the first time,” Maurer said.
The nearly two-week Central American mission trip with the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity will take volunteers to Benque Viejo Del Carme and Belize City, Belize, and into neighboring Guatemala.
They plan to give a three-day Bible study workshop to elementary schoolchildren, run a three-night youth retreat for high school students, distribute food and clothing to the needy, and help construct a home for a family.
“Going on this mission trip is an amazing opportunity to share the love that all the Lord’s people are meant to encounter every day,” he said in an appeal letter.
Donations by debit or credit card may be made to support Maurer in this mission. Visit solt.net and click on “Donate” at the top of the page. To donate by phone or for more information, call Sr. Mary Mediatrix of SOLT at (361) 765-3333.
Your Catholic Neighbor
Name: John Maurer
Favorite saint: Isidore the Farmer
Parish: St. Francis of Assisi, Manitowoc
Words to live by: “Live in harmony with one another, do not be haughty but associate with the lowly … live peaceably with all … do not be overcome with evil but overcome evil with good.” (Rom 12:9-10, 16, 18, 21)