Praised be Jesus Christ! When some of the folks around here asked if they could organize a celebration of my 20th anniversary as a priest, I reluctantly consented. My resistance came from believing I’d still be here for my 25th and that would be the more appropriate milestone to celebrate. Needless to say, I was wrong. Whenever a priest has the honor of giving a blessing for couples celebrating anniversaries, the emotions that are stirred are very powerful and often bring tears of gratitude to God. So often these couples are remembering the joys and the heartaches that, by God’s grace, have woven a tapestry of love and survival. As I look back over 20 years (I was ordained on June 26th of 1999 in our Cathedral in La Crosse), first I am amazed at how quickly it went by. Then I remember all of the people who were instrumental in helping me to hear God’s call and answer it. As you know, I found out years later that my Grandma Martin prayed a Rosary every day so that one day there would be a priest in the family. Even though she died when I was 11 years old, I feel her presence in my life and the diamond from her wedding ring is embedded in my chalice. My parents made heroic sacrifices (and that puts it mildly) so that I could attend a high school seminary for four years in Madison. My siblings were always supportive – they continue to accept the fact that I am almost never around for family events. There were many faithful priests who inspired and supported me and someday in Heaven God will reward them for this. When I went to college and then to Rome, our Diocese and the faithful always made me feel loved and that helped me to persevere when the road seemed to grow long and difficult. My classmates, especially during my years in Rome, were and continue to be the best friends I have in this world. For example, my friend Father Graham (some of you met him while we were at Lourdes last April) came to Wisconsin two weeks before my ordination and helped me practice celebrating Mass. That eased my nerves immeasurably and I’ll never forget those halcyon days together. Once ordained I spent an unforgettable summer with Father Hirsch serving four parishes and living at Saint Mary’s Ridge. Over the years when I have witnessed the nerves of a newly-ordained, I’m transported back to my own humble beginnings and I remember how kind and patient the people of God were as I learned the ropes. I returned to Rome to complete my degree (a license in Moral Theology from the JP II Institute) and then found out I would be a chaplain and instructor of Theology at Assumption High School in Wisconsin Rapids. I was so young and in retrospect it seems the students knew they could work me any time they wanted! I learned a lot about teaching and even more about human nature and I loved my two years serving the people in Central Wisconsin. Then nine years of chaplaincy and teaching at Aquinas High School in La Crosse rounded out the things I was learning about how to pass on the faith. I was also in charge of the high school seminary: one of the boys in my last class of 2011 will be ordained a priest on June 22nd. His name is Brandon Guenther and I am so proud of him. Finally, having taught for 11 years, I asked to have the honor of becoming a pastor. And so to Marshfield and Spencer I came, knowing hardly anybody and knowing hardly anything about being a pastor! As I’ve mentioned, these have truly been the best years of my life – for a variety of reasons, this has been the best fit so far for the way God made me. I really thought I was going to be staying on for the foreseeable future – but God’s ways are not always our ways. As I look back over the past 20 years I think of all of the people who have helped me to be the priest I am today: only God could sufficiently describe how much our lives affect others. For the rest of my days you will be a part of my life and for that I thank you and I thank God for creating you and letting me get to know you.
May God be praised for helping us to live our vocations in fidelity to Him and to each other!
Your friend in Christ, Father Martin
Tuesday - Friday: 8:00 AM
Saturday: 4:00 PM
Sunday: 8:00 AM & 10:00 AM
Saturday: 3:15 - 3:45 PM
Monday - Thursday: 8:30 AM – 5:00 PM
Friday: 8:30 AM – 12:30 PM
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Welcome from Our Pastor
Welcome to Christ the King Catholic Church! Ever since 1938 this parish has been assisting souls in their quest for deeper union with God. Our mission statement is essentially found in the stained glass window above the main altar: “For Christ our King.” Insofar as God made us and we belong to Him, we have come to... Read More