The parishes of St. Mary, 837 Parkview Drive, and St. Joseph in Edgerton are welcoming new a pastor this month.

The Rev. David Wanish comes to Milton and Edgerton from St. Gabriel Catholic Parish, which was formed by the merging of St. Francis Xavier Church in Lake Mills and St. Mary Magdalene Church in Johnson Creek.

“Father David” replaces “Father Dave.”

The Rev. Dave Timmerman is now serving the parish of St. Pius the X Catholic Church in Cambridge.

They met in Bloomington (near Platteville) when Wanish was an intern and in his second of four years as seminarian. Timmerman was his supervisor. That’s when they began using “Father David” and “Father Dave” to distinguish themselves.

“I got to know him and he mentored me and I’m very appreciative of our time together,” he said. “It’s an honor for me to be stepping in now.”

Wanish grew up in the Catholic faith and in the Green Bay area. He graduated from Green Bay East High School.

In his 20s, he said he had he experienced a renewal in his life of faith. He started meeting with various groups who would pray and discuss the Scriptures.

“It wasn’t until my 30s that I started thinking seriously, maybe priesthood is my calling,” he said.

In his early 30s he served in the Peace Corps for six months. When the former math teacher returned, the Iron Curtain had fallen and the top math teaching jobs were being taken, he said.

“It was a lot of competition,” he said.

He decided to go back to school to get a degree in engineering.

During this time, people started asking him if he was a priest and suggesting that he would be a good priest.

So many people commented that he said he started thinking seriously about becoming a priest.

“I looked at my parish priest, who was in Madison at the time. I really admired him,” Wanish said. “He was good at what he did and he enjoyed what he did. I started thinking that I enjoyed those same things of things.”

Today, having been in the ministry for 17 years, he said, “I really love seeing people grow closer to God through Jesus. I just live for that. I want to be part of it. I want to enhance that growth. Jesus is the source of life. I want that life and I want others to have that life.”

He references the apostles of Jesus who said, “It’s no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me.”

And, he said, “We can think of the words of Jesus: ‘I am the way and the truth and the life.’”

“I think Jesus gave the ultimate answer to what we’re seeking: It’s life,” he said.

A big part of that life is community, he said.

“I’m really looking forward to our community gatherings, our worship gatherings,” he said. “As we worship, we pour out our hearts to God and at the same time, God’s love comes down upon us. The Lord can fill our hearts with love, joy, peace, but the word I use most is life.”

Green and gold

On a lighter note, he might from time to time, reference the Packers. Growing up in the Green Bay area, he is a fan and he’s used to seeing people wear green and gold to church on Sundays. He understands not everyone is a Packers fan and tries to caution people if he’s going to say something about the Packers so those who are not fans are not taken off guard.

In addition to the Packers, Father David grew up doing outdoor activities: hunting, fishing, camping. His main sport growing up was running and he still enjoys running today.

St. Mary has 962 registered families while St. Joseph’s has 410. Saint Gabriel has 571.

Weekend masses at St. Mary are 4 p.m. Saturday and 8:30 a.m. Sunday. Weekday masses have resumed at 8:30 a.m. on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Wanish said he’s also looking forward to the ecumenical Thanksgiving eve service (Wednesday, Nov. 27) at 6 p.m. at Hope Lutheran Church, 335 Dairyland Drive.

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