Please contact Father Chad if you or someone you know would like to learn more about becoming a priest, brother, sister, deacon, or lay church minister. Please pray for more vocations to the priesthood and all religious ministries!!!
Our 4 most recent pastors: Back row left: Fr. John Meinholz (1993 to 2010) Front Row – right: Fr. Bart Timmerman (2010-2013; Back row – right: Fr. John Silva (2013-2016); Front row – right: Fr. Chad Droessler (2016-current)
Tim Mergen’s Vocation Story – “Called to Discern . . . and Act!”
I first thought about the priesthood around second grade while studying religion at Immaculate Heart of Mary grade school. We learned much in class and I had many questions to ask my parents about religion as well. My parents taught me well that God has a plan (vocation) for every single person. God gives each person free will to choose whatever path in life they desire but it is ultimately through fulfilling God’s will in your life that one becomes the happiest and most fulfilled. From then on I was always conscience of trying to understand what God was calling me to do in life. I had an interest in religion more than many of my classmates and brothers, so the idea of priesthood was present, although in my heart it was not what I wanted personally. I was raised by wonderful parents and I always admired the marriage they had. Seeing their example I greatly desired to be married and to raise a family of my own. As a result, I was not open to the idea of the priesthood and shut it out as a possibility for many years. In its place I dated throughout high school, college, and beyond asking God to lead me to a spouse.
With each dating relationship there was always an unsettling question about priesthood in the back of my mind I knew I had not fully answered. Despite my efforts to rid any idea of the priesthood, the thought of it would continually reappear at different times in my life. It was an idea that was consistent, persistent, and subtle. It was particularly present during my Air Force Academy Basic Cadet Training when I was first introduced to a priest-chaplain. I remember being in awe of a man who wore combat fatigues and traveled all around the world to bring the sacraments to troops who were unable to go to Church. Even then, it took another six years for me to finally be open to a formal discernment process. Once that began, another two years passed before I finally was honest enough with myself to admit that God was calling me to seminary. It was during a vocation discernment retreat at a seminary in which I discovered real peace that I finally decided to formally apply to seminary. I was able to start seminary only a few months later through the grace of God opening a path and clearing hurdles with the Air Force to allow me to begin.
There is no question that my path to seminary was lengthy, perhaps longer than God intended. I am thankful for the experiences in life I was afforded but in my heart I know the truth is that for so many years I simply did not trust God and was not open to His will. I knew that I wanted a traditional family life and I never thought a life in service to God would ever be capable of producing happiness or fulfillment. God was patient with me and over time the more I trusted him the more he changed my heart. Ultimately, he changed my heart into the heart he created me to have. He gave me the grace to embrace joyfully the prospect of becoming a priest of Jesus Christ. I have never been more joyfully, peaceful, and free in my life. Today I cannot imagine moving toward any other path in life. My heart desires Jesus Christ alone through the vocation to the priesthood. I pray that God continues to lead me on this path where one day He calls me to ordination through the Church.
Jeff Bond – Candidate for Permanent Diaconate
Jeff Bond’s formation to the permanent diaconate is through the Diocese of Lacrosse, along with other men from the dioceses of Madison, Lacrosse, and Superior (the Diocese of Madison does not have its own formation program). He attends formation weekends once a month in Marathon City throughout the school year from Friday night through Saturday night (and an occasional full weekend). The weekends are comprised of classes, prayer, and diaconal formation. There are both priests and permanent deacons on the formation team. Formation to the permanent diaconate is five years. The first two years are aspirancy and focus on basic catechesis and discernment. The last three years are candidacy where formation is focused on more advanced catechesis, diaconal formation, continued discernment, and pastoral field education (completed here at Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish). In the autumn of 2017, Jeff began his third year of formation (the first year of candidacy). Jeff received the Rite of Candidacy (along with two other men from our diocese) from Bishop Morlino on Sunday, November 26, 2017 at St. Patrick in downtown Madison (Jeff is third from right in the below photo). God willing, he would be ordained to the Permanent Diaconate in 2020.