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Forming Priests and Parish Leaders

The future of the Catholic Church lies in sound faith formation and leadership training for its clergy and parish leaders.


Anthony HorzenThe future of the Catholic Church lies in sound faith formation and leadership training for its clergy and parish leaders. Below are ministries that support seminarians, priests, deacons, parish and school staff, and lay leaders within the Catholic Church of southeastern Wisconsin. Archbishop Listecki and the Auxiliary Bishops maintain ongoing communication between the archdiocesan Church and its priests, parish directors, deacons and others. Services provided to these constituencies include educational and other printed resources and those that nurture spiritual, physical and psychological health.

  • Saint Francis de Sales Seminary For 170 years, Saint Francis de Sales Seminary has formed the minds, hearts and souls of men discerning their call to the Catholic priesthood. Today, it blends its rich history with new vigor in a priestly formation model designed for the realities of the 21st century. The Seminary prepares men of all ages for a lifetime of ministry as Catholic priests. The Seminary receives $1.35 million annually from the Appeal to prepare men for the Roman Catholic priesthood.

    Currently, 44 seminarians from the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, the Diocese of Green Bay, the Diocese of La Crosse and the Diocese of Joliet are enrolled in the Seminary’s priestly formation program. Seminarians receive academic formation through theology classes at Sacred Heart School of Theology in Hales Corners; spiritual, human, and pastoral formation continue at the historic Saint Francis de Sales campus. In 2008, the Seminary introduced the Teaching Parish Model. Throughout their four years of formation, seminarians participate in the life of a particular parish, helping them integrate real-world experience into the rest of their extensive training. Four seminarians are expected to be ordained in 2016.
  • Permanent Deacon Ministry Formation offers discernment and an admission process for men exploring a vocational calling to the diaconate and provides specific formation in the theological, spiritual, pastoral and human dimensions of ordained ministry preparation. The four year program is specifically tailored to those men seeking a deeper, permanent response to be of service to God's people through ministry in the Church. Currently, there are 14 men enrolled in diaconate ministry formation through the Office for Diaconate Formation of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee. Admissions for a new formation cohort (the class of 2020) will begin in January of 2016. There are 147 permanent deacons currently serving in the archdiocese.
  • Deacon Services Ministry  supports the needs of ordained deacons regarding personal, spiritual, ministerial and personnel matters. It assists in assigning and transferring deacons in consultation with parishes where deacons are needed. This ministry fosters the formation program for deacon candidates and engages the Archdiocesan Council of Deacons. It assists this council with responsibilities such as planning the annual deacons' assembly, publishing a quarterly newsletter, supporting spiritual enrichment for deacons' wives and representing the archdiocese on the regional and national levels regarding matters affecting deacons.
  • Catechesis and Youth Ministry provides training, guidance and resources for those who pass on the faith – catechists, directors of religious education, youth ministers, parents, lay leaders and clergy. In doing so, the office supports parish religious education programs which serve 35,600 students, including 24,000 children at the elementary level (pre-K to 8) and 11,600 teens at the high school level. There are approximately 3,600 catechists (religious education teachers) serving in these programs throughout the archdiocese. The foundation of Catechetical Ministry is the recognition that catechesis is key to the mission of the Church and one of the primary responsibilities of parishes.

    This ministry provides professional development for directors of religious education, youth ministers, and other parish leaders. The office oversees formation and certification for volunteer catechists and adults who work with youth. A weekend Youth Ministry Institute, the parish-based Forming the Catechetical Spirit series, and other educational tracks are among the offerings. The Gigs, Geeks and God conference helps parish leaders use new technologies in evangelization and faith formation. A New Directors Institute offers orientation, guidelines and support to new directors of religious education and youth ministry in parishes.
  • Vocations Ministry under the direction of Father Luke Strand, fosters and supports the work of identifying, encouraging, discipling, and inviting qualified candidates to serve as parish priests within the Archdiocese of Milwaukee. This relational ministry offers opportunities for young men to encounter the Lord through discernment groups, spiritual initiatives, and retreat-based programing. It also offers supportive services to parish vocation teams and committees, pastors, parish staffs, and all who desire to support a culture of vocations. Through its connection with Religious Life Wisconsin, it participates in vocation education and awareness programs for those discerning consecrated and/or religious life.
  • Ministry to Senior Priests provides support to priests to help them adjust to retirement by assisting them with housing, health care and other needs. This ministry covers approximately one half the expenses of insurance payments and related medical payment reimbursements, Medicare payments, and dental insurance payments for senior priests and ensures that they remain connected to their bishops and other priests in active ministry through various forms of engagement.
  • Stewardship and Development Ministry encourages and facilitates the act of financial giving and provides resources and training to advance the Church's teachings on stewardship of all gifts. This ministry also supports the identification and education of Catholic leaders to facilitate an informed and enthusiastic approach to the sharing of financial gifts as well as the sharing of time and talent in service to the Church. This ministry facilitates the direct involvement of Catholic lay leaders at the archdiocesan level.
  • The Director of Priest and Lay Ecclesial Personnel and Placement heads the Priest Placement Office and serves as facilitator to the Priest Placement Board. The board consists of six elected priests from the six regions of the archdiocese, two priests appointed by the archbishop (Vicar for Hispanic Ministry and Vicar for Urban Ministry), the Vicar for Ordained and Lay Ecclesial Ministry, and the Director of the Priest Placement Office, who serve as ex-officio members of the Board. In the Catholic Church, pastors and parish directors are assigned to a specific parish or parishes by the archbishop. Prior to any assignment being made, the archbishop and the Priest Placement Board seek advice and counsel from local lay leadership.
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The Archdiocese of Milwaukee

3501 South Lake Drive
PO Box 070912
Milwaukee, WI 53207-0912

Phone:  (414) 769-3300
Toll-Free: (800) 769-9373
Fax:  (414)  769-3408