As St. Veronica Congregation, we are a people committed to live as a community - worshiping God, deepening our faith, and knowing and caring for others as Jesus did.
Through a tradition of prayer, service and innovation, we challenge each other to share our faith, be stewards of our Church and ministers to our community.
May the Holy Spirit inspire us to live out our faith in action, our love in service, and our hope for the future as we image Christ to the world.
Hi! My name is Father Mark Payne, Pastor of St. Veronica Parish on the south side of Milwaukee. I thought it would be important to give you some background information about myself so that you will have a thumbnail sketch of who I am.
I was raised in Plymouth, Wisconsin. My parents live in Plymouth during the summer and Mesa, Arizona during the winter. I have three brothers, two older and one younger. I attended St. Lawrence Seminary for high school and Marquette University for college. I earned a BA in Interpersonal Communications with a minor in Philosophy and Theology. While attending Marquette, I was a part of a program for seminarians called the College Formation Program through St. Francis de Sales Seminary. After college, I wanted to teach high school and pursue my interest in joining a religious order. I became a member of St. Norbert Abbey of De Pere, Wisconsin in 1987. I spent two years in the novitiate followed by a year at St. Norbert Collage, earning my teaching certificate for secondary education.
Having completed my certificate, I taught two years at Abbot Pennings High School in De Pere Wisconsin. I enjoyed teaching very much. In 1990 I was sent to Rome to study at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas, where I earned my Masters in Theology. Following my Rome experience, I returned to continue my teaching career while ministering as the campus minister to the students of Notre Dame de La Baie Academy in Green Bay, Wisconsin.
On May 7, 1994, I was ordained a priest. I embraced my work with high school students as a challenge, but I also grew close to the students because of my personality and sense of humor. Those years were graced years.
After a few years at the high school, the abbot approached me to consider a new position of associate pastor and campus minister at St. Norbert College. I embraced these positions. Still, at this point in my life, I felt a tugging away from community life to pursue a new call as a diocesan priest. (Please keep in mind; this is thumbnail sketch of my life. I would need a few more pages to flush out the discernment process of what was happening in me.) I pursued my call to explore diocesan priesthood with the blessing of my abbot, which brought me to the Milwaukee Archdiocese and St. William Parish in Waukesha.
I ministered to the people of St. William for three and a half years. Being aware of the shortage of priests and due to the situation at hand, I surmised that I would be called to take a parish in the spring. To my surprise, when my pastor called me into his office, I was not expecting to hear him say that the vicar wanted me to go to St. Theresa Parish as the Temporary Administrator. In the midst of this surprise, I embraced my new assignment with enthusiasm and prayerful reflection.
During April, the vice vicar for clergy, Rev. William Kohler, called me to see if I would be up for another challenge: leading St. Veronica Parish on the south side of Milwaukee. This parish has 1,300 families, a school of 336 children in a changing neighborhood. To say yes to this assignment only adds to the blessings I have received and supports my calling that I had when I was in 7th grade. Whether in a classroom or in front of a congregation, I am still teaching and sharing the faith that I so deeply love. Priesthood is a challenge, but never a dull moment!
Fr. Mark Payne
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