2018 was a year of learning for St. Francis de Sales Parish. Our pastor, Fr. Mark Danczyk, and our associate pastor, Fr. Sergio Lizama, continue to be responsible for 2 parishes, our parish and St. Benedict Parish in Fontana. This “cluster” formation, designed by the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, seeks to have coverage for all parishes with the current priest shortage. Schedules, meetings, and activities have been adjusted to accommodate our priests’ time constraints. We have added a CPA, Kris Tontis, to our staff. Kris works one day a week at St. Francis de Sales and has already made some excellent upgrades to our accounting systems. We are so grateful for her expertise and dedication! Several staff and volunteers attended the Amazing Parish conference in Milwaukee this past Fall, and as a result a Parish Leadership Team has been formed. Under the direction of Fr. Mark, this group meets weekly to identify issues and task solutions. Our parish school is in the second year of participating in the Wisconsin School Choice Program. Many volunteers and staff members have stepped up to offer administrative support and volunteer help so that our priests can concentrate on their spiritual and sacramental responsibilities. While we continue to make adjustments, our busy parish is getting busier!
Over the past year, 31 babies were baptized. 21 weddings and 8 quinceañeras were celebrated. 33 high school students received the Sacrament of Confirmation and 60 children received their First Reconciliation/First Communion. 52 people were anointed and our parish community comforted families for 30 funerals. 3 adults were welcomed into the Catholic faith through RCIA. Our children’s programs remain vibrant with 173 students in our parish grade school and 160 in our religious education program. Last summer, 22 high school students traveled on a mission trip to Bugolusa, Louisiana to serve those in need. Our parish continues to grow as we welcomed 63 new families over the past 12 months. On any given day or evening our church calendar is overflowing with committee meetings, fundraisers, school events, volunteer church cleaners, prayer groups, rehearsals, bible study groups, eucharistic adoration, book study groups, Emmaus meetings and more! Our Hispanic parishioners continue their beautiful traditions with the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Living Stations, Las Posadas, and many others.
For the first time in our history, SFDS has 2 school alumni/parishioners enrolled in the seminary, Dominic Lazzaroni and Will Murray. We love supporting them and praying for them on their journey. Our beautiful newly restored church has been the venue for many concerts, prayer services, and music experiences including the Spring Cantata, Organ blessing and concert, and school Christmas concert. Project 2017 is still going strong with the most recent accomplishment being our newly engineered and paved parking lot. A Rectory Committee was appointed by Fr. Mark and they have been assigned the responsibility of identifying building upgrades as well as long term plans for this historical building. The Knights of Columbus have generously offered a $10,000 matching grant opportunity for structural improvements.
We are very blessed to have such a caring parish community with the best volunteers and staff on the planet! Thank you all for your support and patience. It’s an exciting time to be a part of St. Francis de Sales Parish!