Father Derek Wiechmann joined the St. Mary’s and St. Kathryn’s Catholic Church parishes in July this year as their new priest. See below as Father Wiechmann shared about his calling, and his hopes for the local parishes with the Kanabec County Times:
Why did you become a priest?: In my family, the Catholic faith was always important. Growing up, there were multiple priests who had a big impact on my life. I saw in them a desire to serve God with all of their hearts, with no reservations. I wanted to be like that.
Tell us about your journey to priesthood: After graduating from Melrose High School in 2009, I went down to St. Mary’s University for my undergrad in Philosophy (minor seminary) and made my way up the Mississippi to St. Paul Seminary on the campus of St. Thomas University for my masters in theology.
What do you like about this lifestyle you’ve chosen?: I love that I become integrally involved in other peoples lives. It is humbling.
Tell us about how you came to St. Mary’s/St. Kathryn’s?: The people! St. Mary’s and St. Kathryn’s are filled with people eager to serve the Lord.
Tell us about some of your goals for the parish and how you would accomplish them: These two parishes are now a part of what is called an Area Catholic Community with St. Mary’s in Milaca and St. Louis in Foreston. A goal of mine is to bring greater unity in the Church.
What advice would you give to a young person who is considering Catholicism?: Come to Mass! The Catholic Mass is 2000 years old. Jesus is present there. We sing, we pray, we fall in love with God.
What have been some of your greatest joys as a priest?: Some of the greatest joys has been becoming a part of families. As I mentioned earlier, it is humbling. I come from a large family myself, so being a part of other families is a treat.
What efforts do you believe need to be made to encourage participation with the Church?: I believe each person who comes to church should know why they are there. If they are coming just to check off a box, their faith will soon fizzle out. We need to meet Jesus Christ and this encounter will change our lives.
What is your favorite bible verse?: Matthew 6: 25- 34 : Dependance on God!