Pastor – Fr. Derek Sakowski
Fr. Derek Sakowski was born on January 9th, 1976, the second of five children. He grew up in Wisconsin Rapids and was a lifelong member of St. Lawrence parish, where Fr. John Hogan served for many years as pastor (and where many of Fr. Sakowski’s relatives are still active members). During his years at Assumption High School, he began discerning a vocation to the priesthood, and decided to enter the college seminary after his graduation in 1994.
He spent his first two years of college at the University of St. Thomas (St. Paul, MN) as a seminarian at St. John Vianney College Seminary. At Bishop Burke’s request, he then transferred to The Catholic University of America (Washington, DC), where he studied from 1996-1999 in an intensive philosophy program, receiving his B.A. and Ph.L. (Licentiate in Philosophy). From 1999-2003, he completed his final four years of seminary studies at the Pontifical College Josephinum (Columbus, OH).
On June 28, 2003, Fr. Sakowski was ordained by Bishop Burke, along with classmates Fr. James Kurzynski, Fr. Paul Czerwonka, and Fr. John Mary Gilbert. He devoted the next five years to his first assignment: chaplain of Pacelli High School and St. Peter Middle School in Stevens Point, teaching religion classes and assisting with various student activities at Pacelli. He also spent three of those years as Assistant Vocation director, coordinating dozens of youth ministry events along the way.
In 2008, Bishop Listecki asked Fr. Sakowski to go to Rome and pursue a doctorate in Ecclesiology (the theology of the Church). He spent four years there studying at the Pontifical Gregorian University and lived at the Casa Santa Maria, a house of graduate studies that houses about 60 American priests. He completed his Licentiate in Theology in 2010, and has published his doctoral dissertation.
In spring of 2013, Bishop William Callahan appointed Fr. Sakowski as Pastor of St. Mary’s Parish.
During his spare time, Fr. Sakowski enjoys spending time with his family (including his six nieces and nephews), rooting for the Packers and Brewers (a difficult task in Rome), reading, playing cards and board games, deer hunting, fishing, and hiking.