William Van Wagner to be ordained Print
Around the Diocese
Written by Mary C. Uhler, Catholic Herald Staff   
Thursday, Nov. 22, 2018 -- 12:00 AM

bill van wagner
William Van Wagner

MADISON -- William Van Wagner, a Diocese of Madison seminarian, will be ordained as a transitional deacon on Friday, Dec. 7, at 7:30 p.m. at St. Paul University Catholic Parish in Madison.

The son of Peggy and Chris Van Wagner of Madison, he is a member of Our Lady Queen of Peace Parish. He attended Our Lady Queen of Peace Grade School and Edgewood High School in Madison; Immaculate Heart of Mary Seminary, Winona, Minn., where he obtained a Bachelor’s degree in philosophy; and Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit, where he is in his fourth year of theology studies

About his involvement in the Church before attending the seminary, he said, “Having grown up going to Catholic school, the Church was always a part of my life. In high school, I was involved in particular through parish mission trips, singing in the choir, and attending Camp Gray.”

In fact, his involvement at at Camp Gray helped develop his vocation.

“After finishing high school, I worked at Camp Gray for the summer,” he said. “While there, I met a number of men who were in seminary formation at the time.

“I was inspired by their commitment to the Church at such a young age. At that time, I began to nourish a more intentional life of prayer and growth in virtue.

“It was through daily prayer, especially in Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, that I first felt God’s call to the priesthood. I chose to respond to this call because I knew that if he created me for a specific purpose, it is only in compliance with this design that I would find true peace and fulfillment.”

He said his decision to enter the seminary was influenced by a variety of people: “the many priests that have had a great impact on me, my friends whose love for the Church and desire for holiness inspired me to strive for the same, and my family. In a particular way, my grandmothers were a major factor in this decision. Their love, encouragement, and prayers, who claim to have known I would go to the seminary before I knew so myself, have been the biggest influence in my decision to respond to the Lord’s call to be a priest.”

His time in the seminary has helped nurture his vocation to be a priest. “My time in the seminary has been marked by numerous opportunities to learn to trust in the Lord above all else,” he said. “Formation has been both a challenging and rewarding experience, in which I have frequently come face to face with my own weakness and utter need for God’s grace.

“Although the challenges of seminary formation can at times be cause for discouragement, they are, more importantly, chances to grow in faith, to die to self so that Christ may live in me,” he said.

“The duty of the priest is to stand in the person of Christ, to be his presence in the world today. The challenging parts of seminary formation are the instruments that make this reality possible.”

During his time in the seminary, he has had a wide variety of pastoral assignments. He has taught catechism and Confirmation classes, visited nursing homes and hospitals, and led a Bible study and prayer group at a federal prison. His summer pastoral experiences have been at St. Henry and St. Bernard Parishes in Watertown, St. Mary Parish in Platteville, St. Clare of Assisi Parish in Monroe, and St. Clement Parish in Lancaster.

About his upcoming ordination, he said, “I am very excited to be ordained to the transitional diaconate. I am ready to take this important step in which I will give my life to God and the service of his Church through the promise of obedience and celibacy.”

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