MADISON -- Bishop Robert C. Morlino is happy to announce the Holy See’s appointment of Fr. John D. Putzer, 27, pastoral associate at Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary Parish in Sun Prairie, to the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy — a school dedicated to training priests to serve in the diplomatic corps of the Holy See.
While this means the loss of a holy and talented young priest in the Diocese of Madison, our sacrifice is the gain of the larger world-wide Church.
In his letter to the priests of the diocese last week, Bishop Morlino noted, “this is a singular honor for the Diocese of Madison and for Fr. John, and yet, you and I share a certain sadness which is overcome by our joyful readiness to sacrifice Fr. John’s service here for the sake of the Holy Father and the Universal Church.”Father John’s training in the academy will begin with the pursuit of doctoral studies in canon law, with subsequent studies in diplomatic history, writing, and languages, preparing him to serve the Holy See in its work throughout the world.
Father Putzer is a native of Oshkosh, Wis., and a college transplant to Madison, where he began his undergraduate studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Father John received his degree in philosophy from Seton Hall University, and went on to complete his theological studies at the American College of the Immaculate Conception in Louvain, Belgium, prior to his priestly ordination in December 2010.
His parents, David and Mary Putzer, still live in Oshkosh, and, while it will be difficult for them to be further separated from their son, they are extremely proud of Father John.
Giving back to God
The appointment of a talented young priest to service outside his diocese, such as to diplomatic service, military chaplaincy, or to full-time teaching or formation in a seminary, is a sacrifice. It is also a spiritual act of giving back to God, who has given us all we have and ever hope to have.
Proverbs 3:9 reminds us to “Honor the Lord with your wealth, with first fruits of all your produce…” Our relationship with God requires that we dedicate a substantial portion of the fruit of our labor to Him and His larger purposes and recall that our Church and Her mission, while lived out here, is greater than any one parish or any one diocese.
In accepting the service of a priest to the Universal Church, we as a diocesan Church make a sacrifice for God’s greater purposes of evangelizing the whole world. In doing so, we as a diocese can further sanctify all that we have and as promised in Proverbs 3:10, “Then will your barns be filled with plenty, with new wine your vats will overflow.”
Recent local connections to the academy include the 2008 visit to Madison of then-Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations, Archbishop Celestino Migliore (a 1980 graduate of the Academy).
Bishop David Malloy, who was ordained the Ninth Bishop of Rockford (Ill.) last week, was a priest of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee and completed studies at the academy, prior to assisting representatives of the Holy See in Pakistan and Syria and serving in other assignments at the Vatican and at the United Nations.
Bishop Morlino asks the entire diocese to join him in congratulating Father John on this great honor, and to pray for Father John, for our Holy Father, and our local Church.