Honoring our jubilarian priests

In 2024, 11 priests are celebrating significant anniversaries, from 60 years in the priesthood to 25 years. The Central Minnesota Catholic asked them about the greatest joys and highlights of their ministries. Join us in thanking them for their years of generous service to the people of Diocese of St. Cloud.



60 years

Father Gerald Dalseth

Now that I no longer have a heavy schedule as a pastor, I can relax and enjoy life and be at peace. I still help out on weekends and for different Masses during the week, but I celebrate fewer than before.

I live in the Speltz House with a dozen priests — we enjoy each other’s friendship and get together every Monday in Father Greg (Lieser)’s apartment. I can take a good walk every day on the Speltz House’s three levels. That’s especially nice during the winter or rainy days — I might pray the rosary or reflect while walking. When it’s warm, I might walk outdoors with others. I’m thankful for my good health.

60 years

Father Gerald Mischke

I now have very impaired sight and can’t read. My greatest joy is to continue to live in the presence of the Holy Trinity dwelling within me. I can access the quiet river of ways to worship that the Church offers. The words of the Liturgy of the Hours wonderfully invite our thanks. My prayer is mostly praise and worship music that I’ve acquired over my years, including songs from my childhood — I sing them spontaneously and also subconsciously. Music runs through my heart all the time and the charismatic songs lift me up. They keep me connected and it’s fun to praise God.


60 years

Father Kenneth Riedemann

The greatest joy of my retirement has been the open-heart surgery which I had on March 11, 2011, about three years after retirement and not knowing what the exact problem was for almost 17 years. The surgery gave me the strength to become active again in ministry by helping out on weekends. I also became free to work TEC retreats which had been the driving force of my priesthood for 30 years. And I had more time to enjoy my retirement home, which I’d carved out of the wilderness in Central Minnesota since 1985.


60 years

Father Eberhard Schefers

One of my greatest joys and privileges was being ordained as a priest. After 45 years serving as a pastor, retirement gave me time for serving the people. I felt called to be a living stone — approved and precious in the eyes of God, as a person of the spirit, offering a sacrifice through Jesus Christ.

The people of the Church bring some of the greatest gifts into my life. They have enriched my life and given me  great joy. I humbly stand with the Lord and the joy the Risen Christ has won for us.


60 years

Father  William Vos 

I tend to review my life and ministries as a series of transitions — the first 15 years in parish/pastoral service, then 20 years in cross-cultural mission ministry, and finally another segment in pastoral ministry and service to the diocese in promoting global mission. This final transition, continuing now during this time of personal downsizing, holds a dual benefit — doing what I truly enjoy, what is also personally life-giving, sharing my commitment to an inclusive Church in mission and, secondly, doing so in a final life transition mode, happily on my own timetable.


55 years

Father Robert Kieffer

Over the years, celebrating Sunday Mass with people and preaching the Gospel has been at the center of my priesthood, and continues to be so, even as those opportunities shrink. I have had a lot of fulfillment in my ministry simply being with parishioners on significant occasions, and it is a pleasure to see those people being called by a synodal Church to take on leadership and make decisions in parish life. Ministry is shifting, becoming a shared calling.



50 years

Father Joseph Korf

The ability to help priests who are away from their parishes with the celebration of Masses and other sacraments is a great joy at this point in my retirement. As I was grateful to have retired priests substitute for me, so now I am able to return the favor for those who are in need of priestly assistance now. Essentially, I am now able to do that which I was ordained to do and not have the other parish responsibilities that comes with being a pastor. This has taken me to many parishes that I had not been to before.



40 years

Father James Statz

I particularly liked working with families. I loved the children’s innocence and the beauty and great joy they bring to our world. At Holy Family School in Sauk Centre, we celebrated Mass every other day and I had fun teaching them. Children are the best theologians, because theology is really faith seeking understanding — they have faith and seek to understand, by asking fundamental questions. I received a lot of wisdom from them. One child asked, “If Satan is so bad, why doesn’t God take a gun and shoot him?” Another asked, “Who made God?” I struggled to answer with something they could embrace and understand. Often I felt that if I could reach the children, I could reach the adults with the Gospel.



40 years

Father Alan Wielinski

Beginning and nearly ending ordained ministry in the same community is a very rewarding experience. I served as a deacon at Our Lady of Victory, Fergus Falls, and my first assignment as pastor was to St. Leonard, Pelican Rapids, with St. Elizabeth eventually added in a twinned arrangement. For the past four years I have been pastoring all three of these parishes, now known as the Pelican Valley Area Catholic Community. Some of my altar servers are children of parents who served at Mass for me a while back. Young adults have thanked me for baptizing them (20 or 30 years ago)! I have baptized grandchildren of the first couple whose wedding I officiated! It’s a happy, fulfilling experience in my life as a priest.


25 years

Father Joseph Herzing

For this past Lent we had a six-week parish mission for our Centered on Christ Area Catholic Community. This effort started with people who came from our communities and had training on giving testimony, praying with others and inviting others. Over 60 people prayed with each other and gave their testimony to another, many for the first time. People took invite cards with them and passed them out for the parish mission.

We invited Father Mark Stang to kick off the mission with his talk on how God worked through healing his cancer. The next five weeks different people shared how God touched their life and each night we spent time in praise and adoration and invited people to be prayed with. It was a blessed experience. Thanks be to God!


25 years

Father Mark Innocenti

There are many highlights over the years but one stands out from early on. I had just been ordained a transitional deacon and, a couple of days later, baptized my uncle who was 75 years old. I had been praying for him since I had learned he was not baptized and I was able to work with him in the training of the faith for months before. While doing the classes with him, his cousin, a distant cousin of mine, asked if she could be baptized at the same time. She too was 75 years old. Of course, I said yes.

Author: Nikki Rajala

Nikki Rajala is a writer/copy editor for The Central Minnesota Catholic Magazine.

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