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Appleton, WI
Father Bill Swichtenberg
Pastor
cell: 920-422-4316
wdswitz@stmaryparish.org
Father Bill has been serving as the Pastor of St. Mary Parish since 2014.  While we may know Father as pastor, he also wears many other “hats”, including that of son, brother, uncle, great-uncle, theologian, scientist and counselor.  Prior to being ordained in 1983 Father Bill worked as a researcher at the Appleton Institute of Paper Chemistry. When asked about his role in the church Father says “my role is likened to that of a good shepherd. I lead – sometimes out in front, with hopes and dreams for our parish family – sometimes in the middle – just accompanying and listening to many voices – and sometimes in the rear on the lookout with a gentle heart for those who are hurting and feel isolated.”  When he isn’t caring for his flock, Fr. Bill loves to spend time outdoors, reading biographies, fiction, non-fiction and spirituality books. He also enjoys cooking, hiking, attending concerts and musicals, and of course…going on vacation! 

“I hope and dream that we will become a family of faith who know, love and serve the Lord Jesus in each other and reach out far beyond our parish family boundary.”

Deacon Gerry Schraufnagel
cell: 920-540-9594
schraufnagel@stmaryparish.org
Deacon Gerry was ordained a permanent deacon by Bishop David Zubik for the Diocese of Green Bay in 2005. He was assigned to St. Mary parish and serves as Deacon, alongside Fr. Bill, sharing the Good News of the Gospel and assisting in the sacramental life of the church. He provides outreach of the church to the homebound, elderly, nursing homes and those in need.

Gerry has been married to his wife, Jenny for 41 years and together they have three married children and 8 grandchildren.  He is also the proud “dad” of 7 Global Outreach foreign exchange children and 5 grandchildren from central and eastern Europe.

In his free time Deacon Gerry may occasionally be found on the golf course, travelling, or getting together with family and friends…especially around the fire pit.

Theresa Rohm
Business Administrator
trohm@stmaryparish.org
Theresa has been a parishioner of St. Mary since the early 1990’s. She and her husband, Duane, were married at St. Mary in 1995 and together they have a daughter Callie, who recently graduated from Xavier High School. This means Theresa and Duane are starting to embark on the next phase of their lives… empty nesters!  Theresa started part-time at St. Mary helping with bookkeeping in 2009 and since then has been increasing her time and commitment to the parish.  She accepted her current role of Business Manager in the fall of 2018. 

In her role, she is responsible for the daily operations of the parish including budget, personnel management, facility management and being an active part of the parish leadership team. “I support our team and empower them to reach out to our parishioners to encourage more involvement and develop our mission, vision and vitality of St. Mary Parish.”

In her free time, Theresa enjoys scrapbooking and anything crafty.  (She’s looking forward to learning from and joining the St. Mary quilting group when she retires!).  She also enjoys gardening and spending time outside in the summer with family and friends.

“My hopes and dreams for our parish are that we become a parish that is welcoming, develops relationships, and that we truly come to know each other as family.  We support each other, enjoy time with each other, work hard with each other to follow the mission and vision of the parish and become true disciples.”

Emily Jenks
Minister of Neighborhood Pastoral Outreach & Parish Vitality
ejenks@stmaryparish.org
Emily has been sharing her gifts with St. Mary parish since 2020 and striving to help bring the parish mission and vision to the neighborhood, city, and greater community. “I welcome new members into our parish and help keep our focus on creating a community that ensures everyone who enters is known, loved, and understood.” Emily is also responsible for crafting creative communication efforts over multiple platforms for the parish.

Emily was born and raised in Hortonville, but now calls Appleton home. She has two adorable rescue kitties, Franki & Dexter, and loves spending time with her nieces and nephews.

Prior to working for the church, Emily worked professionally in the construction and insurance industries. She received her Emmaus Certification in Youth Ministry in May 2019.

If you can’t find Emily among the halls at St. Mary, you may be able to find her playing trivia, baking, listening to podcasts, reading, exploring the city and nearby nature trails, and hunting thrift stores, curbs and rummage sales for items she can repurpose and give new life.  She takes her role as resident foodie on staff seriously; making recommendations for coffee shops, restaurants, and pubs to try. No need for Yelp…just ask Emily!

Mary Ann Otto
Minister of Missionary Discipleship
motto@stmaryparish.org
Mary Ann has served in her current role at St. Mary’s since 2017 and is responsible for creating pathways of opportunities and experiences for everyone no matter where they are in their faith journey. “The pathway goal is to help each of us strengthen our relationship with Jesus, our church, and each other so that we can take the message of the Good News of Jesus to our family, friends and neighborhoods.”

Mary Ann and her husband, Jeff, have five incredible children and nine amazing grandchildren.  They are an “ecumenical family” with her husband being actively involved in the ELCA Lutheran Church. “Our marriage has definitely benefited from our conversations and perspectives.”

When not working for the parish, you can find Mary Ann cultivating her creative side. She loves to write and has a historical fiction children’s book in the works that chronicles the story of her grandparents. (She’s hoping to illustrate it as well!). You can also find her in the early morning or evening decorating cookies for special occasions. “I pray, relax and create.” If you are traveling through Little Chute or Kaukauna, you may see her walking and listening to a great book-usually historical fiction. So much fun, so little time!

Mary Ann is passionate about small groups! “When we journey the discipleship pathway together in friendship and trust, the Holy Spirit can overwhelm and enlighten us in ways not achievable on our own. It is also just a lot of fun!”

“My hope and dream for the parish is that, in the spirit of true Christian hospitality, discipleship and friendship, we can become a beacon of Jesus’ love and hope for our world and neighborhood so desperately in need.”  

Nadine Duncan
Minister of Pastoral Care
nduncan@stmaryparish.org
Nadine has been a part of the parish leadership team since 2018. In her current role she cares for a variety of parishioners, primarily those who are getting married, presenting their babies for baptism, or grieving the loss of a loved one. She also accompanies those interested in becoming Catholic and part of our spiritual family at St. Mary Parish. Nadine serves to create a welcoming worship experience on the weekend and holy seasons for our parishioners and our many visitors. This year she hopes to expand her ministries to our elders and develop a health and well-being ministry which she hopes will include support groups.

Nadine was raised in Milwaukee and her husband, Rick was raised in the Bronx. They met in New York and have been married for twenty years. Six years ago they returned to Wisconsin to be with her parents in their final years. God brought Nadine and Rick together later in life so they do not have children. However, Rick is a retired teacher and works part-time in the Xavier elementary and middle schools, so he considers all the students he meets to be his kids!

In her personal life, Nadine stays very busy golfing, kayaking, hiking, and gardening. She is an avid painter of icons and enjoys all types of crafting. “I love being alone and still with God. I love spending time with Rick, my family, and my friends. I love stimulating, and insightful books, podcasts, ideas, and conversations, especially ones that lead me closer to Jesus. I love working on creative projects with passionate people, especially if it makes the world a better place.”

“I am blessed to be a parishioner of St. Mary Parish. My hopes and dreams are that everyone who walks through our doors will experience the love of Christ and find a home in our spiritual family; that we grow as a spiritual family living in the heart of Jesus, and caring for one another. My dream is this love of Christ flows through our hearts to the hearts of everyone we meet. As a member of the pastoral team, I dedicate my energy and any talents God has given me to achieve that end.”

Tracy Turba
Youth Minister
tturba@stmaryparish.org
As minister of young disciples, Tracy’s role is to help the youth in our parish to grow in knowing, loving, and serving the Lord. “We do this through creating a community in which each child knows that he/she is loved and by fostering a space to build a relationship with Jesus.”

Like Father Bill, Tracy wears many hats…that of a daughter, sister, aunt, coach, and teacher. Her parents, two brothers, and 5 nieces and nephews all live in close proximity and she enjoys spending time with them when able. Tracy grew up in the southwest part of Wisconsin and studied and worked in the northwest, east, and southeast – so she’s gotten to see a variety of areas of our state!

In her free time, Tracy enjoys running, spending time with her nieces and nephews, hiking, baking, and learning new things. This summer she recently learned how to drive a zero-turn lawn mower and has been enjoying that among other new outdoor adventures!  She is also fluent in Spanish so is happy to help translate within our parish family when the need arises.

“I hope that our parish continues to grow and deepen in becoming a vibrant community of disciples that welcome, support, and encourage one another to nurture our relationship with the Lord and one another. My dream is that this transforms individual families as well and in turn ripples out to those beyond our parish walls.”

Chris Higgins
Director of Technology
chiggins@stmaryparish.org
Chris is an IT professional who has spent more than 25 years working in technology for education and industry. For most of his career, Chris worked in universities (The Catholic University of America, University of Maryland, and University of Chicago) leading teams supporting the use of technology for teaching and learning including learning management systems, instructional design and development and AV infrastructure and systems.
Language and culture a central part of Chris’s personal ongoing education having traveled extensively around the world and in the U.S. He has taught Spanish at CUA and Gallaudet University (the university for the deaf).
Chris is an Appleton native baptized here at St. Mary Parish and attended St. Mary School graduating as part of the first class of Catholic Central. He is also a graduate of Xavier High School and did his undergraduate and graduate studies at Jesuit institutions, Marquette and Georgetown respectively. He is a former Franciscan friar with the Third Order Regulars based in Loretto, PA.
Tom Walter
Director of Liturgical Music
twalter@stmaryparish.org
Tom has been sharing his musical talent with the St. Mary Parish community since 2003.  In his role he is responsible for guiding and inspiring all who come to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass to pray to Our Lord through the music.

“My hope is that the music we sing is recognized by our community and that we sing the Gospel message and take that message with us wherever we go. My dream is that we, as a singing community of Faith, take ownership of what the church documents encourage us to do…to participate fully in word and song.”

Tom and his wife, Susan, have been married for 47 years! They have two adult children, one granddaughter, one grandson, and one dog. Tom received his Bachelors of Music degree from St. Norbert College and a Master’s Degree from the University of Miami (FL). He has also completed studies in Liturgy from Notre Dame University (IN). Tom was also a music educator for the Menasha Public Schools and has been an active church musician since the age of thirteen. He is an active soloist for weddings and funerals throughout the Valley and has been found (on occasion) playing at area assisted living facilities.

When not sharing his musical gifts with the parish, Tom enjoys reading (especially history), antiquing, composing music, and traveling.

Fun Fact about Tom…he was a Japanese Fullbright Scholar and was blessed to be sent to Japan to learn about their educational system. That experience allowed him to reciprocate with a Japanese Children’s Choir. It was the first time the Japanese Choir had ever come to the United States and they came to the Menasha Schools.

Julie Morse
Administrative Assistant
stmary@stmaryparish.org
Julie has been married to her best friend, Mike, since 1977. Together, they have a son, daughter-in-law, and two grandchildren who live in West Des Moines, IA. and a daughter, son-in-law, and two more grandchildren who live here in Appleton. 

In her current role, Julie is responsible for managing and distributing information, providing support to the team, and most importantly assisting anyone who calls or walks into the office so they get the support and help they are seeking.

When not sharing her gifts and talents at the parish, Julie can be found crocheting baby blankets for her new great-nieces and great-nephews and challenging herself to a good jigsaw puzzle. She’s currently working on one that is called “Banana” and is all yellow!

“My hopes and dreams for our parish are that we continue on this journey that has begun where people who walk in our doors are just people and we accept them where they are at.  I hope that someday soon we center all our conversations and actions simply around the question, “What would Jesus do?”

Have a question or need help finding someone?  Julie is your gal!

Pam Acker
Bookkeeper
packer@stmaryparish.org

Pam and her husband Chip have three children, Justin, Kiersten, and Nickolas, who passed away Dec 27, 2016.  Justin and his wife, Kayla, have graced Pam and Chip with two amazing grandsons, Edison and Myles. Daughter Kiersten lives 1,187 miles away in Boston, MA… but who’s counting!

Growing up on a farm and in a farming community have provided Pam with an appreciation for animals and the deep connection they offer to enrich our lives. And wouldn’t you know it…she has three dogs, two horses, and one cat!

In her role at St. Mary, she is responsible for providing accurate and timely accounting of the financial health of the parish and cemetery.  This information allows the management team to make sound decisions for daily and future operations.

When not crunching numbers, you can find Pam reading the latest mystery, psychological thrillers, historical fiction, history or American Legal system books. She has been writing professionally for quite some time, with articles published in an online writer’s forum as well as having been published in a book as a contributing author.

Lucky for Chip…Pam is also an avid collector of recipes and loves the preparation and creation of cooking and baking!

Pam’s hopes and dreams for the parish center around long-term financial stability and viability and creating an environment that will heighten the importance of God/Jesus over the emphasis on certain groups.

 

Chip Acker
Cemetery Manager & Facilities Manager
cacker@stmaryparish.org
Cemetery Phone: 920-882-4158

Chip has been a part of the St. Mary Parish team since 2018.  He is married to his wife, Pam, for 13 years and has a step son, step daughter-in-law and two grandsons who he loves as his own. When not sharing his talents with the parish, you can find Chip studying scripture or out on the links enjoying his favorite pastime…golf!  Prior to working at St. Mary Parish, Chip owned and operated an 18-hole golf course in central Wisconsin for 25 years and is a lifetime member of PGA of America.

“As Cemetery Manager I realize, for many non-parishioner families, this is the first impression they will have of St. Mary Parish. Many times this first impression is forged in the fire of overwhelming personal grief, confusion, and questioning of God. It is imperative that every effort is physically and spiritually made to minister comfort and compassion to those families certainly for the short term, but especially for the long term. The Cemetery is an absolutely vital ministry of the Spirit of God working through us as a church both as a ministry to parish members and the world at large.”

Chip’s hopes and dreams for the parish are that it becomes a place of discovery of who God has made us by His gifts and grace. To discover that we are made perfect in His eyes by the sacrifice of Jesus.

 

Dennis Douglas
Head of Maintenance

Dennis joined the St. Mary parish team in 2000 and currently serves as Minister of Maintenance keeping the church and grounds neat and clean. From daily upkeep to Sunday Mass, to bake sales and funerals, Dennis is always there to organize and lend a hand. “My hope is that I can make a difference to all that spend time at our church…to make everyone feel at home and welcomed.”

Dennis and his wife, Valerie, have 2 grown children, 2 grandchildren and 6 furry four-legged grandchildren all of whom they love to have at their house while their people are on vacation.  In his spare time, Dennis and Valerie enjoy spending time at their camper “up north” watching all the wildlife that comes by.

Fun Fact about Dennis: “I like to feed peanuts to the squirrels that live outside near the church, but don’t tell anyone.”

 

 

 

 

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