Members of the Pallottine Fathers and Brothers
Some Reflections of our Community Members
As I reflect on my time as a Pallottine priest, I could never have foreseen the path my life has taken from India to Wisconsin, spreading God’s message of hope to His people. My first appointment was associate pastor at St. Vincent Pallotti parish in 1981 on the outskirts of Bilaspur City, an ancient trading ground in the central part of India. My first challenge: I was not fluent in the Hindi language, which presented an obstacle for me and two hundred Hindi families I ministered to every day. I spent many late nights learning the Hindi language with the help of a dictionary. I was very thankful for my parishioners patience.
Three years later I was appointed the associate pastor at the biggest parish of the diocese of Raipur, India—my ten hour walks were history for me! The parish had nine mission stations and a population of more than 5,000 Catholics. It was a very satisfying, yet busy, pastoral life where I was also dean and confessor to the nuns of the entire district.
In 1991, I arrived in the United States to further pursue my theology studies at Loyola University in Chicago. From India to Chicago—what a contrast in lifestyles. I was amazed at the beautiful high rises and the expansive size of the city. I was also awestruck by my first snowfall. It was beautiful! At least it was pretty until I had to drive on the snowy roads—another challenge!
I returned to India to teach seminarians philosophy and psychology. After some years of teaching at an orphanage as well, my superiors decided not just to transfer me, but to export me. A new challenge, I find myself in Wisconsin enjoying the mood swing of her climatic hiccups. These days, I serve as pastor in a rural parish in Wisconsin where I have helped to unite a once divided parish under one God.
What an extraordinary life I have lived! I know as I travel this journey, the Lord leads me to a fulfillment beyond my personal expectations and accomplishments.
When I look back at my wonderful years as a Pallottine priest I thank God for my wonderful experiences—and I rejoice in the love of Jesus Christ.
I come from the State of Kerala, known as 'God's own country', in India. I am from a somewhat large traditional catholic family of seven children (five boys & two girls). Although I belonged to a big parish (forane church), as for convenience, our spiritual and pastoral care were looked after by priests of a religious ashram (the Vincentian Congregation) which was situated very close to where I lived. As a result I had contact with religious priests even from my childhood and this contact gave me a taste and inclination towards religious life.
As I was completing my high school education, I met Fr. James Edavazhithara VC, my parish priest and told him about my desire to become a priest in a missionary congregation. He was a very spiritual person and had some close association with the Pallottines because he himself spent some time in the Pallottine missions of Raipur and had a very high esteem and appreciation for our work there. He guided me to contact Fr. Joe Kllani SAC, the vocation promoter of Pallottines in Kerala, Trivandrum. And this is why I am a Pallottine today.
I joined the Pallottines in 1977 after high school and with eleven years in different stages of formation, I was ordained in 1988. My first appointment was as an associate pastor in one of the prestigious parishes of the diocese of Thamarassery, in Kerala. This appointment had its own special significance for this was a new step of the Pallottines to get involved in the Syro-Malabar church in India. I felt very privileged to be the pioneer in this new endeavor of the Indian Pallottines. I spent 12 years of my life in this area working, first as director of the Pallottine community, then as pastor of the parish and administrator of the school. During this time, I became instrumental in establishing the Pallottine community (Pallotti Villa, Mukkam), establishing and developing a prestigious parish in the town of Mukkam, and establishing an English medium school, the first of its sort in Kerala state for the Pallottines.
I have also worked as the director and formator in the vocation orientation center, director and builder of the boys' home in Alapuzha and then a short time as assistant general bursar in Rome. Meanwhile I have done my licentiate in missiology.
I came to the Mother of God Province, Milwaukee-Wisconsin on the fifth of February 2008. I am here with an open heart to be at the service of the province and extent the benefits of my priestly ministry to the people around this area and very thankful to the Provincial Fr. Leon and the members of province who have given me a warm welcome and for their generous love and care.
The spiritual heritage of Pallotti, the wonderful experience of community life and the manifold (catholic) avenues of apostolates, the friendly and caring attitude of the members, and responsible freedom, etc. are some of the elements that help me to be a happy Pallottine and inspire me to be and to persevere as a true Pallottine priest.
I'm the sixth child of a family of seven children. I'm from Nanga-Eboko in the Upper-Sanaga division, in the Center Region of Cameroon (Central Africa). My native diocese is Obala.
I was fortunate to be born to a very committed catholic family; my father being a member of our Parish Council. He and my mother were members of many other different groups as well.
As far as I remember, my deep desire was to become a priest and to serve the Church, encouraged, as I was, by the example of my parents. After my primary, secondary and my higher studies at the Public University of Cameroon, I decided to join the Priests of the Sacred Heart. Simply because, my spiritual director was a member of that religious order and the Pastor of my parish. But, in the meantime, I came to know the Pallottines through my elder sister who was a nun. After participating in many Vocation camps with them, I joined the Community in 1995. My formation was done in Cameroon and Rwanda.
I was ordained a priest in 2004. After serving in many places as Associate Pastor, Pastor, Spiritual Director in Spiritual Centers and in Formation Houses of our local community, I was sent by my Superior to work together with my confreres of the Mother of God Province in Milwaukee.
I really appreciate living. praying and working in our multicultural community here.
My dream is to see more and more young people joining our community, and take part in the task of spreading the Good News of our Salvation, after the ideal of Saint Vincent Pallotti.
I came to know the Pallottines through a Pallottine Father who came to introduce the Pallottine Society at a Vocation camp for high school students conducted in the diocese of Thrissur.
Over the years I have had various assignments, teaching, spiritual direction, retreat preaching, counseling, health journalism and religious journalism. These have all been enriching experiences. I especially like Counseling. Because I think that I have a gift for empathy and an ability to understand what ails some people.
What gives me strength in my ministry is my belief that God is present here and now with us and that God loves me and everyone else with the same fervor.
I came to know the Pallottines through my uncle, who is a Pallottine Priest
I have been involved in Pastoral, Youth work, Administration and Formation.
I really enjoy Pastoral - Parish work, where we are in real contact with people and their life situations.
What is life giving for me as Pallottine is contact with people, involving lay people in the life, ministry and mission of the Church.
I became acquainted with the Pallottines after meeting a Pallottine Priest who came to visit in the area where I lived in India. After my seminary education I was ordained in October of 1977.
I have served the Lord in Parish ministry, as associate pastor and pastor, in formation, as teacher, spiritual director and rector at our Seminary in Trivandrum, India. I was instrumental in founding and building a parish church and retreat center in Trivandrum and have experience in marriage counseling and served on the Priest Senate in that diocese. I completed my Clinical Pastoral Education here at St. Luke's Hospital in Milwaukee recently.
All of these ministries have been good for me, but I especially enjoyed those in which I have had the opportunity to deal directly with people.
It is my prayer life and community that sustains me in my ministry.
I am a native of Chile and I spent some time with the Sacred Heart Brothers in my native land. I was a teacher in a High School there as well as being Principal.
I left Chile to be with many of my family who were moving to the States. I left the Sacred Heart Community at that time as well but the desire for religious life did not disappear. In fact there was another desire that surfaced too. I felt called to Priesthood now after having spent some years teaching Spanish in the New York public School system.
I answered an invitation to come to Milwaukee with the Pallottines. I spent some time as a postulant in Milwaukee taking studies at Sacred Heart School of Theology and completed 2 years of Novitiate and then studied Theology at the Catholic University in Washington, D.C.
I celebrated my Final Consecration in August, 2005. On January 22, 2006, the feast of St. Vincent Pallotti I was ordained a Deacon. I was ordained to the Priesthood on May 27th by Archbishop Dolan at St. Vincent Pallotti Parish in Milwaukee. I will continue to serve in Lake Geneva and Fontana, Wisconsin serving as Associate Pastor and concenetrating on Hispanic Ministry in the two parishes of St. Francis and St,Benedict. I am grateful to all those who have helped me to come to this point in my life and I pray that I can serve Jesus in the role of Priest for many years to come.
Fr. Richard Lorenz
One of our Senior priests
A member of St. Vincent Community
My First contact with the Pallottines came through Vocation
Literature. I didn't really intend to become a Pallottine but
circumstances kept leading me in this direction and eventually
I took the step and came to the seminary after speaking to a Pallottine Priest from my hometown in Michigan.
My first few years as a priest were spent in parish ministry and then in formation of priests and brothers, especially the period of novitiate. This also gave me some opportunities for retreat ministry. In recent years I have been involved in province leadership.
The Union of the Catholic Apostolate (UAC) and the growth of direction of the UAC is my favorite presence since it touches the core of being a Pallottine -- one with clergy laity and consecrated life. Many good things have happened especially in the last 20 years.
I find the living out of my Pallottine call as most lifegiving. The mission of collaboration with all the entities of the church is old and ever new. It is very easy for people to feel at odds with clergy or religious, for clergy to feel separated from laity and consecrated life. St. Vincent saw the beauty and need for all to labor so there may be one fold and one shepherd.
A Pastor working in the the
Diocese of Springfield Illinois
Holy Cross Parish
Bro. Jim Scarpace
I came to know about the Pallottines through the Vocation Director for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee. I felt that the Lord was calling me to be a religious Brother. The Vocation Director recommended that I visit the Pallottines. They walked me through Postulancy, Novitiate and I made my final profession in the year 2001.
I have a ministry to the homebound at St. Vincent Pallotti Parish and now I am Vocation Director for our Midwest Province.
My ministry to the sick and homebound is very special to me. I get to be with people in their time of need. It's an opportunity to follow in the footsteps of St. Vincent. Praying with people I visit and bringing Holy Communion to them is also something that makes me feel fulfilled as a Religious Brother.
I came to know the Pallottines through the Pallottine Vocation Director. who came to visit our grade school in St. Joseph Michigan. He invited me to the seminary in Madison even though I was at first contemplating the Diocesan seminary but had not taken the entrance exam.
I have been involved in various ministries including High School Teaching Military Chaplaincy, Retreat Work and at present Parish ministry.
One of my favorites has been High School Teaching. Besides the classroom experience I had the opportunity to work with young people on the stage crew for school plays and taught a hunter's safety class, which allowed me to meet them at another level.
One of the things that sustains me in my ministry is the opportunity to enjoy the great outdoors. I love God's creation and try to find time to enjoy fishing and hunting amidst the challenges in the parish that keep me moving from one thing to the other.
I came to know the Pallottines when one of the priests came to our parish and preached the Good Friday service. However the most influential event in my becoming a Pallottine was a personal friend that already knew the Pallottines and was going to spend a summer working at the Pallotti house and I joined him and several others for a part work and part fun summer. The Seminary that I had attended was much further from Milwaukee and those days my family and I were interested in a closer seminary program while I was still in the high school. Over the years I came to know and felt at home with the Fathers and Brothers of the Community.
I spent 4 years teaching in the minor seminary (Queen of Apostles)“ Various social studies, Religion and started and expanded the music program with a band and choir. I also taught Religion in Pius XI High School. I ministered in a parish for several years and also spent time at our Retreat Center. For nearly 20 years I served in institutional settings as a certified chaplain and also directed the Pastoral Care program in a suburban hospital. In recent years I have been responsive to the call of ministry directly from the Pallottine community. This is presently carried out as an associate pastor in a parish of the Canadian Delegature formed from German priests. The Parish is St. Cecilia in Calgary, Alberta Canada.
Following the directions of the superiors and also choosing some educational and spiritual direction of my own has provided me with a very diverse ministry. I consider this is a personal blessing as I would not have chosen such a path if left totally on my own.
In recent times I have seen the importance of the Union of Catholic Apostolate UAC. I see this as very important for the future of the Community.
Certainly all community gatherings that are structured for support by spiritual activity- prayer, talks, meditation, retreats etc. Also informal gatherings that are really supportive and not heavily critical of one another.
However there is always the need for each one to be open to "fraternal correction" so that no one is simply off by themselves totally unconnected to any community growth.
I was introduced to the Pallottines through the vocation director who came to visit my grade school. It was he who invited me to come to the seminary.
I have been involved in teaching, parish ministry, vocation work, retreat ministry and now am involved in Parish Mission appeals.
Perhaps my favorite has been parish ministry with its varied tasks and involvement with people at various levels in their life, though all have been good and growing experiences for me.
What keeps me going is the challenge and the grace that Jesus continues to present me with in the celebration of the sacraments each day.
On Sunday, January 19, 2014, Bishop Donald J. Hying, the Auxiliary Bishop of Milwaukee, installed me as the sixteenth pastor of St. Joseph Catholic Church in Racine, Wisconsin. On that occasion, I wrote this to our parishioners, but it is a message for all on our journey of faith:
Now that I am formally installed, let us continue our journey together. Your incredible faith, unrestricted support and generosity are inspiring to me. Sometimes, words fail to express that deep sense of gratitude. Please accept my sincere gratitude and know that I appreciate everything.
In today’s gospel, John the Baptist gives testimony to Jesus by pointing out that He is the Lamb of God. We are familiar with these words because in every celebration of the Eucharist, we sing or say the Agnus Dei, “Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world, have mercy on us/grant us peace.” In this prayer, we give expression to our deepest understanding of the identity and purpose of Jesus Christ, as our Lamb and Lord.
More than ever, the gospel reminds us that being a disciple of Jesus means that we grow by faith to become witnesses for Him. Bearing witness to Christ is an active, not passive, lifetime enterprise. One cannot be a disciple of Jesus at a distance, any more than one can be a distant lover. Our founder, St. Vincent Pallotti, wrote, “Love of Christ urges us on.” Let the love of Christ urge us on to bear witness to Jesus. Together, let us take up this lifetime enterprise.
Peace and joy,
Fr. Steve Varghese, SAC
St. Vincent Pallotti you have given us the example of a profound faith and a great love of God and of people. Intercede for us with God, so that, imitating your example, we too may be strong in faith and true apostles of Jesus Christ.
Born in 1966 on January 24th in the northern part of Kerala state, a parish called Chempanthotty, in South India. My ordination to the priesthood was in April 30th, 1997 .I was first introduced to the Pallottines through a Pallottine ordination in my home parish St, George‘s Church as child. Later after the 10th grade, I was invited to a vocation "Come and See" weekend program by Fr. Paul Chandy and Fr. Vincent Thottupattu . These were the first seeds of my vocation.
After ordination on April 30, 1997, I spent 2 years at a mission in North India, Kutturwa mission which is one of the remotest missions of the Pallottines in India. After another two years at the Khandwa mission I was called to a new and very exciting ministry as Regional Youth Director of youth for 16 Dioceses of Central India, under the Madhypredesh and Chattisgurd Bishop's Conference. This was an opening for me to use my creative skills and afforded opportunity to travel throughout India and other countries initiating gatherings of youth meetings. This office involved planning many conferences and traveling to countries, such as Sri Lanka, Singapore, Malaysia, and Hong Kong in Asia and in Europe Germany, Rome, France. We also had chances of taking 300 young people to the World Youth day in Cologne, Germany. After six years I moved on to Delhi mission for 3 years and also studied for masters in Sociology and Human resource and B Ed. At school in Delhi I served as principal and I was shot by some thieves who came to loot the school on May 15, 2007. I spent one month in the Hospital recovering. Then took on a Mission to Zambia spending 3 years, out of which three months were in the bush to study the social and cultural and economic life of the people. It gave me a new outlook towards the people of African Continent.
I strongly believe that” Priesthood becomes real when it is shared with the people”. Youth ministry opened me to others as priest and to respond to the needs of the young people. I gave them guidance but also received it from them.
What has sustained me is encouragement from fellow priests and an inner urge to relate to God and others. There is a satisfaction in helping others in my present ministry from my experience in similar situations in the hospital. God was kind to me in preserving my life. I now can show that same kindness to others.
Copyright 2005-2017 The Pallottines, Mother of God Province. All rights reserved.
Fr. Chris, as his friends call him, stayed with us in Milwaukee for several months so that he could acclimate himself to the food and customs of the Midwest. This time had also proven to be a great opportunity for him to “brush up” on his English, get a social security card, and take care of other odds and ends. As of December 2017 he is ministering at St. Mary’s Parish in Taylorville, IL.
Fr. Chris is 53 years old and has 3 sisters and 2 brothers. He is originally from Kerala, the southernmost State in India. He joined the Pallottines in 1980 and was ordained on May 1, 1991. After ordination he worked as an associate pastor, pastor, formator in seminaries, teacher, director of centers of the apostolate and a director of an orphanage. We ask God to bless you, Fr. Chris, and your ministry at St. Mary’s.