Shepherding many flocks
Meet Milwaukee’s favorite multi-tasking priest and Legatus chaplain . . .
Father Tim Kitzke
Father Tim Kitzke has a unique position. He shepherds two parishes, but four churches. He’s one of a team of three priests chosen by the diocese to pastor four churches that had been consolidated into two parishes. He also happily serves as the lone chaplain for Legatus’ local chapter. The South Milwaukee native, who just turned 50, was ordained to the priesthood in 1989. He enjoys time with his extended family — and daily prayer time in his rectory garden.
Tell me about your call to the priesthood.
I’m the youngest of four children. My parents were hard workers and raised us to be honest and kind, and to love the Church. They had a very active devotional life, and I was involved in the Church at an early age as an altar server. I went to a high school seminary right after the eighth grade. My father has passed, but my mother is still living in my boyhood home. My two older sisters and brother are married. I have 12 nieces and nephews and 10 great-nieces and -nephews.
You now shepherd four churches.
Yes. Eleven years ago three small historic churches merged, forming a parish called Three Holy Women because they were all named after women: Mary Queen of the Rosary, St. Hedwig and St. Rita. We have Masses in all — and all are full. The parishes have really come back to life, so we take formation — especially young adult formation — and evangelization very seriously. Then four years ago I became pastor of another parish. This area is growing, so the archbishop appointed me and two other priests to serve in what Canon Law calls an in solidum team where the three of us are pastors of four churches.
When did you first encounter Legatus?
I was asked to say a Mass for Legatus about 10 years ago. One of the local founders was trying to establish a chapter, so after the initial meetings we all started working together. We’ve grown to about 40 couples. They are deeply spiritual, deeply generous and quite involved in their parishes.
What impact has your interaction with Legates had on you?
Being the chaplain of Legatus has reminded me of the deep respect people have for the priesthood. We pray well together. When we have Mass together, it really is the highlight of the evening, and everything else flows from the Mass. The unique thing about Legatus is that members belong to all sorts of groups with various purposes, but what other group could you have that has the Eucharist as its source and summit, its central reality for what the evening is going to be?
What do you try to bring to them every month?
I try to bring the encouragement to do their work faithfully as believers in Jesus Christ and the Catholic Church. But also to get a renewed energy that there are other people dealing with exactly the same things as they are in the business world — and all they need to bring to Legatus is their heart. This isn’t a fundraising event. Just bring your heart to the Lord and be supported by Christ in the Eucharist and those who share at the table with you.
What do you do in your spare time?
One of my passions is my big garden, so I work out in the yard. I enjoy being outside. I don’t grow vegetables because at harvest time people always bring me their extra produce. My passion is perennials. I use my backyard for parish events, and it’s a little haven in the midst of the city. It’s a great place to take a breather with the Lord, just to sit in the garden for a while.