Diocese to commission 16 for parish ministry
Another 110 lay persons in process of formation
By Patricia Kasten
Compass Associate Editor
Sixteen people will be commissioned for church ministry in the diocese by Bp. Robert Banks at a 7 p.m. vespers service on Friday, June 2, in St. Francis Xavier Cathedral, Green Bay.
The 16, who are all involved in ministry at their home parishes, have completed the Diocesan Commissioned Ministry Leadership Formation Program. The program is a collaborative venture of the diocese and Silver Lake College in Manitowoc, designed to prepare people for ministry at the parish level. There are specific emphases five areas: pastoral ministry, worship, religious education, youth ministry and business management. All courses are granted undergraduate credit through Silver Lake.
"This group of energetic students shows the variety of gifts given by the Spirit," said Tony Pichler, associate director of the program. "They also exemplify the love they have for the church and their commitment to do all to make the church alive and available."
Since the program began in the 1980s, 137 persons have been commissioned as ministers for the diocese. Another 110 individuals are formation in the program.
"There is no turning back -- ecclessial ministry is here to stay," said Sr. Florence Youngwirth, ANG, director of the diocesan department for parish ministers. "The U.S. bishops ... are seeing the gift the laity are for the church."
Of this year's 16 students, seven will be commissioned in pastoral ministry; seven in religious education and two in youth ministry; six of them are also preparing for the diaconate.
This is the last year deacon candidates will be commissioned. They will continue to take classes through the program, but will not be commissioned since they will be ordained.
One student who will be commissioned June 2, Donna VanKauwenbergh of Sobieski, has been previously commissioned in religious education. She returned to the program to pursue the pastoral ministry track.
Kenneth Clark is a member of St. Philip the Apostle Parish, Green Bay. He is involved in the parish's RCIA program, assists with prayer with Communion services at three area nursing homes and is a lector. He also volunteers at Paul's Pantry. He and his wife, Helen, have three children.
Kathy DeNoble belongs to St. Mary Parish, De Pere, where she ministers part-time as an adult confirmation coordinator and a high school confirmation catechist. She is also a lector and Eucharistic minister, and visits homebound parishioners and those in nursing homes and assisted living centers. She also volunteers with St. Vincent de Paul. She and her husband, Mark, have two children.
Mark Farrell is a member of St. Nicholas, Freedom, and is employed in maintenance at St. Joseph Parish, Appleton. He is involved in religious education and hospitality ministry at his home parish, and serves as a lector and a member of the worship committee. He hopes to pursue ordination to the diaconate. He and his wife, Carol, are the parents of six and grandparents of seven.
Fred Fischer belongs to Sacred Heart Parish, Oshkosh, and is employed as a real estate agent. He serves as a parish trustee, Eucharistic minister and lector, and leads parish services such as the Liturgy of the Word and Stations of the Cross. He also visits those in nursing homes and the hospital. He would like to pursue diaconate ministry. He and his wife, Madeleine, have eight children and four grandchildren.
Mike Grzeca is a member of Resurrection Parish in Green Bay. There he is a Eucharistic minister, lector, trainer of lectors, RCIA team leader, serves on the worship committee and works with the Boy Scouts. He serves as a circuit court judge in Brown County and is pursuing ordination to the diaconate. He and his wife, Linda, have two daughters.
Randy Haak works as an attorney and is a member of St. Mary of the Annunciation, Kaukauna. He leads Children's Liturgy of the Word at the parish, is a lector, RCIA team member, choir member and a Renew 2000 core team member. He is pursuing the diaconate. Randy and his wife, Colleen, have four children.
Donna VanKauwenbergh is a member of St. John Cantius Parish in Sobieski. She is employed as the religious education coordinator for St. John Cantius, St. Louis in Abrams and St. Joseph, Chase. She was commissioned in 1996 in religious education. She and her husband, Roger, have four children and one grandchild.
John Kirchner belongs to St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, Green Bay, where he employed as youth minister. He is also a high school catechist, a Eucharistic minter and a pastoral council member. He and his wife, Linda, have a son.
Elizabeth Nier is a member of St. Benedict, Suamico. She works as religious education coordinator and youth minister for grades 6-12 at St. Benedict's, and is parish secretary at Suamico and at St. Pius V in Little Suamico. She also is involved in hospitality ministry, social outreach and with the parish picnic. She and her husband, Jim, have four children.
Br. Allen Boeckman, SSS, is a member of the Blessed Sacrament Congregation and belongs to St. Mary Parish in Menasha. He has been a high school teacher and vocations director for his community. He is the religious education coordinator for grades K-11 at St. Therese Parish in Appleton.
Sue Brettingen is a member of St. Hyacinth Parish, Antigo, where she has been coordinator of religious education for 15 years. She serves on the parish's worship committee, the Renew 2000 core team, the RE parent organization and the Rosary Society. She and her husband, Steve, have five children and one grandchild.
Cynthia Hable belongs to Sacred Heart Parish, Oshkosh, where she is the religious education facilitator for grades K-12. She is also a Eucharistic minister, and a member of the Renew 2000 core team and the liturgy committee. She and her husband, Mark, co-chair the children's games at the parish picnic, and have three children.
Eileen Hartl is a member of St. John, Antigo, where she serves as a Renew 2000 group leader, a Eucharistic minister and in Operation Outreach. She is employed as religious education facilitator at St. Joseph, Phlox. She and her husband, Gary, have two children.
Phyllis Hendricks is a member of St. Benedict, Suamico, where she is religious education facilitator for grades 1-5 and a member of the Renew 2000 core committee. Phyllis works as a playground supervisor for Suamico Elementary School. She, her husband, Robert, and their three children have received the Knights of Columbus Family of the Year award.
Brian Hooyman belongs to Holy Cross Parish, Kaukauna, where he is involved in youth and retreat ministry and is a Eucharistic minister. He is employed as full-time coordinator of religious education at St. Nicholas in Freedom. He and his wife, Sara, have a son.
Joe Lehman is a member of St. Mary, Bear Creek, where he is administrator of the religious education program for grades K-11. He is employed at Miller Electric as an assembler and will enter the diaconate program this fall. Joe and his wife, Patricia, have two daughters.
(For more information on the Commissioned Ministry Leadership Formation Program, contact the diocesan department of Parish Ministers at 920-437-7531, toll-free in the 715 and 920 area codes at 1-877-500-3580, ext. 8289. Sr. Florence Youngwirth directs the commissioned ministry program. Dr. Robert Berchmans is the academic coordinator, and Tony Pichler is the associate director.)