When Bishop Bradley told me that I had been assigned as the new pastor of St. Ann’s, I was very excited. Although I am new here, I actually do have an important connection to this parish – it is the church in which I received the Sacrament of Confirmation. I had no idea at that time that I would even be a priest, let alone the pastor of this very parish! Needless to say, I am very happy to begin my pastorate here and to get to know all of you.
First, let me tell you a bit about myself. I was born and raised in Kalamazoo, attending school at St. Monica’s and Hackett Catholic Central, with St. Monica as my home parish. I graduated from Hackett in 2003, and attended college in southern California at Thomas Aquinas College, a school with a classical Great Books curriculum. I graduated with a degree in Philosophy. During my last couple of years in college, I discerned religious life and priesthood and, still being unsure upon graduation, decided to find a teaching job. I was hired – by your former pastor, in fact – to teach at St. Philip High School in Battle Creek. After that year of teaching and discernment, I decided to apply as a seminarian for the Diocese. I was accepted and sent off to do my theological formation at the North American College in Rome, after which I was ordained to the priesthood in 2012. During my time in seminary, I worked at an AIDS hospice care facility in Rome and spent time with the Missionaries of Charity in southern India. It was an incredibly formative experience, for which I am thankful to you and all of the people of the Diocese who support seminarians.
My first priestly assignment was at St. Philip in Battle Creek, again with your former pastor, Fr. John. It was a great three years, during which I served as associate pastor, hospital chaplain, chaplain and teacher in the high school. At the end of my time in Battle Creek, I was sent back to Rome for another year to complete a further degree, and returned to serve as vice rector at St. Augustine Cathedral for this past year. I very much look forward to making my home here at St. Ann’s for a good long while.
As you may have heard, I will also be serving again as chaplain to St. Philip High School in Battle Creek. I hope to work out my schedule such that I will be able available as much as possible here at the parish. My intention at present is to teach one class period at the high school and spend the rest of my time here at the parish. Please be patient with me as I get the hang of balancing both assignments! I welcome any thoughts and suggestions you might have about this or any issue that touches on parish life and my ministry to you. My hobbies are, among other things, music and making fun of Fr. John.
Please know of my daily prayers for all of you, and I ask that you pray daily for me as well. I very much look forward to getting to know all of you!
Fr. Francis Marotti