Father Bart, who was ordained to the priesthood in 2001 at the age of 26, grew up in Kieler, Wisconsin, with his parents and four siblings (two sisters and two brothers.). He attended Immaculate Conception Grade School in Kieler, Holy Name Seminary in Madison, Loras College in Dubuque, and St. Mary of the Lake Mundelein Seminary in the Archdiocese of Chicago. While at the Seminary, he took a high concentration of classes in Pastoral Education including Hispanic Ministry, then learned Spanish as a student at the University of Granada, Spain, as well as attending the Mexican American Cultural Center in San Antonio, Texas.
He tells us, “I have been blessed with several wonderful assignments, and for the last 10 years I have been serving as pastor of St. Thomas Aquinas Parish in Madison where I have been learning a lot about discipleship and evangelization. During these past ten years, I have also been particularly inspired by Pope Francis and his emphasis on Mercy, Accompaniment, Missionary Discipleship, Synodality, and Unity.”
Father Jim was born and raised in the small community of Briggsville, Wisconsin. He is a former classmate of Fr. Mike, as their attendance at Holy Name Seminary overlapped.
Ordained in 1981, Fr. Jim says his passion is to work for peace and justice. He has spent much of his adult life fighting for and supporting various social justice issues, including anti-war and pro-life causes. His sister is also a servant of Christ. She is member of the order of the Franciscan Sisters of Charity in Manitowoc.
He says he’s looking forward to working with Fr. Bart and Fr. Lawrence, as well as coming to the Beloit/Clinton area.
Father Lawrence is from Owerri, Nigeria. He was raised by his parents in Abuja, Nigeria, alongside his two sisters and one brother. While his family still lives in Nigeria, Fr. Lawrence came to Wisconsin in 2015. His background is rooted in, in his words, “a home filled with dad’s discipline, and exemplary faith,” with that strong faith modeled by both of his parents.
He reveals he had wanted to be a priest since he was seven years old. “I have always wanted to serve the Lord and his people as a priest; I was surrounded by great priests and religious growing up. I was one of those altar servers who would secretly try Father’s vestment and play a priest with my imaginary congregation. As God would have it, after high school, I joined the seminary in Nigeria, and for four years, I studied at the Dominican house of studies in Nigeria.”
He previously worked with Fr. Bart in Madison, and most recently has served in Evansville and Footville. He adds, “I look forward to loving you and serving you during this time of renewal in our diocese.”