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New charge against Ericksen

The former Diocese of Superior priest who was laicized in the 1980s for allegedly sexually abusing boys is being charged with an additional felony. Thomas Ericksen was charged Jan. 11 with second-degree sexual assault of an unconscious victim, in addition to three felony sexual assault cases filed against him in 2018. Currently incarcerated in the Sawyer County jail, Ericksen was arraigned Jan. 22 on the 2018 charges. A more in-depth article on Ericksen’s history in the diocese is coming in a future issue.

Luck farm hosting gathering

The Catholic Worker National Farm Gathering is coming to the Diocese of Superior in February. Anathoth Community Farm, Luck, is hosting the event from Feb. 15-17 at Denmark Lutheran Church, Luck. All with a stake in food production, interest in ecology or agriculture are welcome. Suggested donation of $20 to offset venue costs. For details, call 715-472-8721.

Embezzler begins prison term

Deborah Marcellus, who pleaded guilty in July to embezzling more than $800,000 from St. Joseph, Rice Lake, has begun serving her 37-month prison sentence. She is currently incarcerated at FMC Carswell in Fort Worth, Texas, and will be released Sept. 13, 2021. She is not eligible for parole. Marcellus, formerly of Turtle Lake, stole the money while serving as the parish’s development director.

Parish Mission, River Falls

Fr. Dave Pivonka speaks at St. Bridget, Feb. 10-12, 4 p.m. Sunday, 6:30 p.m. Monday and Tuesday. Topic is “Encounter Jesus – From Discovery to Discipleship.”

Superior Disciple site

With the mission of engaging youth and young adults in the Catholic way to inspire a lifelong journey of hope-filled discipleship, the Superior Disciple initiative has become a staple connection. Run by the Diocese of Superior’s Totus Tuus network, a team of authors including young adults working in and studying outside the diocese post multiple times a week on various social media platforms. While the group is active on Instagram and Facebook, youth and young adults who are not active in those spheres can access all content via There is an option to sign up for email notifications when new content is uploaded. They also have a public YouTube page where members’ video posts are viewable.

Medford woman recites promises

After six years of prayer and study, Gail Helmert, Medford, recited her final promises as a member of the Lay Order of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Jan. 21.

The Order of Mt. Carmel includes priests and brothers, nuns and sisters, and laypeople as members. The order was founded during the time of the Crusades on Mount Carmel in the Holy Land.

The journey, for Helmert, has taken action in study, prayer and contemplation, as well as service to others, both in her local church of Holy Rosary, Medford, and in her community.

The Service of Profession took place at St. Stanislaus Catholic Church, Lublin. Diocese of Superior Fr. John Long, Helmert’s cousin, was the celebrant of the Mass, and Dr. Jim Bryan, T.O. Carm., Thorp, representative of the order, received Helmert’s promises to live the life of the Carmelites for the rest of her life.
Light refreshments were served following the Mass.

Seminary names president-rector

Fr. Raúl Gómez-Ruiz, SDS, has been named the next President-Rector of Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology in Hales Corners, where Diocese of Superior seminarians study for the priesthood. He will succeed Fr. Thomas Knoebel as of July 1, 2019. His appointment is for five years.

“It does feel like coming home,” said Gómez of his return to Sacred Heart. “There is certainly a level of familiarity, and certainly one of excitement. Sacred Heart is on the verge of greatness; we are a seminary with a solid present and a great future.”

Fr. Gómez, 65, recently completed a six-year term as Vicar General and General Secretary of the Society of the Divine Savior in Rome. Prior to his appointment in Rome, he served for nearly 25 years in a variety of capacities at Sacred Heart. From 1988-2004 he was director of the Hispanic Studies Program, one of the first seminary programs in the country to specifically address the pastoral concerns of the growing Hispanic population of the Catholic Church in the United States.

From 2002-2005 he was SHSST Vice-Rector, and from 2005-2012 he was Vice President for Academic Affairs and Director of Intellectual Formation at SHSST.

“Sacred Heart gave me the ability to flourish as a priest, professor, and administrator,” recalled Gómez. “Having gained international experience gives me an even broader perspective and an excellent sense of what Sacred Heart needs to do in order to move forward.”

Fr. Gómez left Sacred Heart in 2012 to become director of Accreditation and Institutional Evaluation for the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada. But the job was short-lived; soon after settling in, he was elected to serve his religious order in Rome.

He has a BA in Spanish from the University of Arizona in Tucson, an MPA in Public Administration from California State University in Sacramento, an M.Div in Pastoral Theology from the Franciscan School of Theology in Berkley, CA, and a doctorate in Liturgical Studies from The Catholic University of America in Washington, DC.

Mary Jane Morancyk Hennessy Scholarship

The Superior Diocese Council of Catholic Women will award four $500 scholarships for women completing their second year of post-secondary education, continuing their education for career advancement or returning to the work field. To apply, contact Mary Werner at 715-748-4709 or email . Winners will be notified by phone or mail and recognized at the upcoming SDCCW Convention June 18 at Holy Rosary, Medford. Applications must be postmarked by April 15.

CRL launches new program

Catholic Rural Life is launching a new program, Thriving in Rural Ministry. The purpose of the program is to strengthen pastoral leadership in rural parishes and to help pastors thrive in their rural communities. CRL, a 95-year-old organization dedicated to applying the teachings of Jesus Christ for the social, economic, and spiritual development of rural America, is the only national Catholic nonprofit focused on rural areas. To learn more, visit

Memorial Mass for Dcn. Bill Miller

Deacon Bill Miller, who was living in Denton, Texas, when he died Jan. 2, will be remembered at Memorial Mass at 10 a.m. Saturday, April 13, at Nativity of Our Lord, Rhinelander.
All are welcome. 715-362-3169.

Parenting webinar series

The “Raise Them Well” parenting webinar series, hosted through the Diocese of La Crosse, is available for anyone looking to learn more about parenting or guiding a child to mental, intellectual, physical and emotional maturity. Diocese of Superior educator Jeffrey Arrowood collaborated with Alice Heinzen, of the Diocese of La Crosse, to make the series. Cost is $25 for all six sessions. To register, visit