Fr. Peter Raj, Pastor of Blessed Sacrament and Roncalli Newman Parishes
"I was ordained on April 20, 2005 in India. I came here to this diocese on Feb 11, 2011, where I served as associate in Marshfield with Fr. Don Meuret (four months) and with Fr. Allen Slowiak (one month) at St. Mark's Parish in Rothschild. After completing my orientation, I became the administrator and pastor of Auburndale (St.Mary's), Hewitt (St.Michael's) and Blenker (St.Kilian's) where I served from July 1, 2011 to July1, 2013. I have been pastor at Blessed Sacrament since July 2, 2013.
I come from a family of 8 children, now 7 because my oldest brother died in January. My illiterate parents had no money to educate all of us, but they fed us well. When my siblings resisted going to school they didn’t encourage them because they didn’t understand the importance of education and because they had no money for tuition. When I was in 2nd grade I stopped going to school because of these reasons. My next oldest brother Andrew also stopped going to school because I was at home. We both went back to school the following year, but in 7th grade I made up my mind not to go but to enjoy playing the folk games around our village streets. My dad implored me saying he would even beg for my tuition. I did not go back to school. Our pastor Father Amirtham came for our home blessing; he understood our economic situation, promised to pay my expenses himself, and compelled me to get back to school. Needless to say, I was not happy with him, but half-heartedly went back to school. On days when I purposely skipped school my mom would remind me of our priest’s generosity and how my actions hurt him.
When I was done with secular schooling it was Father Amirtham who encouraged me to become a priest. He helped me all the way through the seminary until my second year of Theology when he died of a heart attack. I was ordained on April 20, 2005. I wasn’t a clever boy, but God chose me, and I wasn’t a smart priest in our diocese, but my Bishop chose me to come to this country. When I look back at my life and the road I have travelled it is no doubt that God was and is with me and watching over me. Amazing! I went through a lot (this story is only a small part), and coming to America I was in a strange land (no more) and had to start from the beginning. At this time I want to thank God for my vocation to be His instrument, and thank you all for what you are to me today.
I want to thank God for the people who have helped me become the person I am today. God bless you and your families.“ --Father Peter Raj
- ABOUT Roncalli Newman Center
- Fr. Peter Raj, Pastor
- Fr. Billy J. Dodge, Parochial Administrator
- Deacon Dave Belland, Homebound Ministry and R.C.I.A.
- jon Stuttgen, Campus Minister
- Kristin Johnson, Director of Religious Education & Youth Ministry
- Mary Ellen Haupert, Director of Music and Liturgy
- Cherie Rifenberg, Administrative Assistant
- Mary Blaha-DeBoer, Wedding Music Coordinator
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