In January of 1995, I returned to Rochester as the Pastor of the Church of St. John the Evangelist after being ordained in May of 1971 at St. Francis of Assisi, my home parish, where I was baptized in 1945 after being delivered in St. Mary’s Hospital. The years before my return were spent in Winona with a short beginning at St. Mary’s parish and teaching at Cotter High School and in January of 1973, I moved to Terrace Heights as a faculty member at Immaculate Heart of Mary Seminary, located on the campus of St. Mary’s University. I spent 18 years on the campus with different ways of service which included ten years as the Rector of the Seminary. I enjoyed my years in priestly formation and appreciated the opportunity to be amidst college students.
During this time, I also served the Bishops of the Diocese of Winona in a variety of responsibilities with ten years at Vicar General/Moderator of the Curia and Pastor of a parish in Winona, St. Casimir. After more than 23 years, the bluffs and beauty of the Hiawatha Valley had become a second home to me and whenever I wander that way, it always generates very fond memories and experiences of friends and ministry that also shaped and formed me for the next adventure of life.
As I approach 45 years of priestly ministry, I am filled with gratitude for multiple reasons. It is clear to me that I was called to be a priest and while I have certainly made mistakes, hurt people and got lost in my own importance, the treasure of my vocation brings me to an awareness of the presence of Jesus in my life and I am as excited about serving today as any time in my journey.
The truth of the matter is that I am sure we are formed by the people we serve and a significant part of my gratitude is given to the staff and people with whom I have worked as well as the community at large. It is a gift for me to continue my life with and in such a vibrant community of faith and true belonging to Christ.
Please join me in praying for and supporting the possibility of religious vocations, I really beg that this gift is given more abundantly to our parish. During my time here, we have ordained three Jesuit priests and now it is time for one to be given to the Diocese of Winona. Also, we have been blessed with some women who have joined religious communities in recent years, always a sign of the presence of Christ.