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.
Parochial Vicar – Fr. Daniel Sedlacek
The Reverend Daniel J. Sedlacek, has been appointed Associate Pastor of St. Mary Parish in Altoona and St. Raymond of Peñafort Parish in Southern Eau Claire County, and Chaplain at Regis High School and Middle School in Eau Claire, effective July 5, 2018.
Fr. Daniel Sedlacek was born on August 21, 1989 and was reborn in the Sacrament of Baptism on September 24, 1989 at his home parish of Holy Cross in Cornell, Wisconsin.
He grew up on a dairy farm with his parents and three brothers and 5 sisters. He was educated at home K-12. One of his favorite things to do while growing up was to serve Mass at his home parish.
His childhood pastor was the late Fr. Jeremiah Cashman, who planted many seeds of a priestly vocation. Fr. Sedlacek first considered priesthood at about the age of seven, but first experienced God’s call when he was in fifth grade. The example of the lives of the Saints, especially those who were priests, often inspired him to consider the priesthood.
Through the forthright guidance of his youth minister, Deacon Tom Kinnick, he decided to enter seminary after graduation from high school.
In the Fall of 2008 he entered St. John Vianney College Seminary at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota. There he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy and Catholic Studies. He then was sent to study theology in Rome, Italy. There he earned his Bachelor’s in Sacred Theology from the University of the Holy Cross, and post-graduate degrees in the thought of St. Augustine and Joseph Ratzinger/Pope Benedict
XVI. He was ordained a deacon at St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican on October 1, 2015, and ordained a priest at the Cathedral in La Crosse on June 25, 2016 by Bishop William Patrick Callahan. He served the first two years of his priesthood assisting Fr. Samuel Martin at St. John the Baptist parish in Marshfield and Christ the King parish in Spencer, and as chaplain to Columbus Catholic High School and Middle School in Marshfield.
He enjoys spending time with his large and continually growing family (10 nieces and nephews and counting), playing the piano and organ, brewing beer, looking at old books in bookstores, playing Ultimate Frisbee, spending time outdoors, gardening, and hunting