Staff Member: Fr. Tom Kelley

Fr. Tom Kelley

Phone: 608-835-5763
Email: Click Here to Email

I was born September 4, 1961 and raised in the southwestern corner of the State of Wisconsin, near Fennimore on a dairy farm. I am the fourth child of Virgil and Loretta Kelley. I have 7 brothers and 4 sisters, all of whom are still living and working in southern Wisconsin. My father farmed 160 acres until his retirement 5 years before his death in 1996 from complications from diabetes and pneumonia, ultimately succumbing to a heart attack. My mother lived in her house until her death in 2021, at 87 years old. After graduation from Fennimore High School, I enrolled in the seminary Program at Loras College in Dubuque, Iowa. In 1984 I graduated with a BA in Psychology. From Loras I enrolled in the Major Seminary at St. John’s University in Collegeville, Minnesota and graduated with a Master of Divinity. I was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Madison on May 27, 1988.

My ministerial history began with my first assignment at St. Bernard’s in Middleton, where I was the associate pastor for 6 years. In 1994, I was assigned to St. John Vianney in Janesville as the associate pastor for 2 years, before being assigned to Our Lady Queen of Peace, in Madison, for 3 years. I was an associate pastor for 11 years under 4 pastors. In 1999 I was made pastor of a rural parish with a school, Holy Rosary in Darlington, where I served for 3 years. While pastor I renovated the interior of the church by stripping down the plaster wall and exposing the stone wall behind it to reveal a beautiful space for worship.

In 2002 I was assigned to be pastor of St. Francis Xavier in Cross Plains. In my 18 years at St. Francis Xavier I led the building of a parish hall and offices, renovated the rectory, acquired an 11 acre parcel adjacent to the church property as well as a 32 acre parcel from the same farm, which is in the early stages of being developed for single-family housing. Funds from the Creek Crossing development will be used for the parish endowment and current and future needs. Many other improvements were made, including renovating the sanctuary worship space and adding a stained glass window. I enjoy beauty and leading people to maintain their parish and have pride in their church.

I’m currently concluding 3 years of being the pastor at Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary parish in Sun Prairie.

My personal faith journey began with good parents who were faithful Mass attendees. I was struck by a statement my father made during a stretch in the 1970s when a gas shortage brought the threat of rationing. He said that if that happened, we would only use gas for the farm tractors and to get to church on Sunday.

I most enjoy presiding at Mass and preaching. I have been told that I’m a good preacher and am able to break the word open in a way people can understand. I am also a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist; therefore I enjoy the healing ministry of counseling. I am able to use my skills on Rachael’s Vineyard Retreats for post-abortive men and women. Frequently I am able to use a special therapy call EMDR to facilitate rapid healing. I like to read spiritual books, but prefer to unwind watching sports, news, or a good Ken Burns-style PBS show. I love being a priest and I am very excited to be your pastor.

Photo of Fr. Tom Kelley