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Father David comes to us from Milton and Edgerton, after serving at St. Gabriel Catholic Parish in Lake Mills and Johnson Creek. Upon his arrival in Milton and Edgerton, “Father David” replaced “Father Dave”—Father Dave Timmerman, who now pastors St. Pius the X Catholic Church in Cambridge.
They first met in Bloomington (near Platteville) when Father Wanish was an intern and in his second of four years as a seminarian. Father Timmerman was his supervisor. That’s when they began using “Father David” and “Father Dave”
to distinguish themselves.
“I got to know him and he mentored me, and I’m very appreciative of our time together,” he said. “It was an honor for me to be stepping in.”
Wanish grew up in the Catholic faith and in the Green Bay area. He graduated from Green Bay East High School.
In his 20s, he said he had he experienced a renewal in his life of faith. He started meeting with various groups who would pray and discuss the Scriptures.
“It wasn’t until my 30s that I started thinking seriously, ‘Maybe priesthood is my calling.’”
In his early 30s he served in the Peace Corps for six months. When the former math teacher returned, the Iron Curtain had fallen and the top math teaching jobs were being taken. “It was a lot of competition,” he said.
He decided to go back to school to get a degree in engineering. During this time, people started asking him if he was a priest—and suggesting that he would be a good priest. So many people commented that he said he started thinking seriously about becoming a priest.
“I looked at my parish priest, who was in Madison at the time. I really admired him,” Wanish said. “He was good at what he did and he enjoyed what he did. I started thinking that I enjoyed those same kinds of things.”
Today, having been in priestly ministry for 21 years, he said, “I really love seeing people grow closer to God through Jesus. I just live for that. I want to be part of it. I want to enhance that growth. Jesus is the source of life.
I want that life, and I want others to
have that life.”
He references the apostles of Jesus who said, “It’s no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me.” And, he said, “We can think of the words of Jesus: ‘I am the way and the truth and the life.’”
“I think Jesus gave the ultimate answer to what we’re seeking: It’s life,” he said.
And a big part of that life is community. “I’m really looking forward to our community gatherings, our worship gatherings,” he said. “As we worship, we pour out our hearts to God and at the same time, God’s
love comes down upon us. The Lord can fill our hearts with love, joy,
peace—but the word I use most is life.”
On a lighter note he admits he might, from time to time, reference
the Packers. Growing up in the Green Bay area, he’s a fan and he’s used to seeing people wear green and gold to church on Sundays. He understands not everyone is a Packers fan and tries to caution people if he’s going to say something about the Packers—so those who are not fans
are not taken off-guard.
In addition to the Packers, Father David grew up enjoying outdoor activities: hunting, fishing, camping. His main sport growing up was running, and he still enjoys running today.
Father David’s bio is adapted from a news story that appeared in the Milton Courier in 2019.