It is time for me to announce to you that I will be retiring in July. I am granted the status of senior priest, effective June 30, 2023. Very Rev. John A. Potaczek, Pastor of St. Patrick Parish in Mauston and Dean of the Tomah Deanery, is appointed Pastor of St. Peter Parish in Stevens Point and St. Casimir Parish in the Township of Hull, with residence at St. Peter Parish rectory in Stevens Point, effective July 4, 2023.
For twelve years, as your pastor, I have been truly blessed to have served the parishes of both St. Peter and St. Casimir. Initially, I came to the United States in 2006, with the intention of taking one-year sabbatical, to refresh myself with a few pastoral courses. God had another plan for me. I ultimately ended up staying with the Diocese of La Crosse until I was appointed your pastor in June of 2011. My intention at that time, as your first international priest, was to serve as your pastor for only three years. Again, God had a different plan for me.
Now twelve years later and at the age of 72 (two years beyond when I could have taken retirement from the La Crosse Diocese), I have made the decision to retire. My last day of service as your pastor will be June 30, 2023.At this moment, I feel nothing but the deepest gratitude and appreciation for all of the love, affection and generosity conveyed to me over the years by all of you, parishioners. It has been those “gifts” which emboldened and enabled me to serve you with great pleasure for the past twelve years.
With that same pleasure, I extend my gratitude to Deacon Ray Heitzinger and to all of our Parish staff members who assisted me during my ministry at both St. Peter and St. Casimir parishes. I am also most grateful for the members of both Finance and Pastoral Councils, our parish committees and the countless volunteers, who enabled me to successfully fulfill my pastoral responsibilities.
In addition, my most sincere thanks to Ben Gebeau, who helped televising our weekend Saturday Mass for the home-bound as well as to solve many electronic and electrical issues, Jim Gies, who helped for electrical and carpentry works and Calvin Friedenfels for developing, maintaining and servicing our Parish website. Over the years, their combined donated services have provided a great financial savings to the Parish.
In closing, my future plan is to return to my home city in India where I hope to remain until the Good Lord calls me to His heavenly home. Since I do not have Social Security, I am not eligible for Medicare in which case it would be difficult for me to live in US without medical insurance – thus my decision to return to India. In India, I will have a home but will have to purchase furniture and kitchen appliances. My livelihood will have to be managed with a stipend that I will receive from the St. Joseph’s Retirement Fund for Priests.
If God willing, as a US citizen, very likely I will be returning to Stevens Point for periodic visits; so I look forward to our paths crossing. Nevertheless, know that I will always keep you all in my thoughts and prayers. May God bless you for your past kindness and support. Please keep me in your prayers as I begin a new chapter in my life.
Fr. Arul Joseph V.