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Three ministers from Two Rivers parish are among graduating class

Bishop David Ricken gathered on the altar steps at St. Francis Xavier Cathedral in Green Bay for a photo with the 2024 graduating class of commissioned ministers and members of the Lay Leadership Formation staff of the Diocese of Green Bay. Twenty-nine ministers graduated from the program on May 2. (Michael Cooney | For On Mission)

Formation helps form leaders to evangelize and disciple others

By Suzanne Weiss | For On Mission

TWO RIVERS – Three members of St. Peter the Fisherman Parish in Two Rivers were among the 29-member graduating class who became commissioned ministers during a ceremony at St. Francis Xavier Cathedral in Green Bay on May 2.

Kelly Scheuer

Kelly Scheuer, pastoral assistant at St. Peter the Fisherman Parish, grew up Catholic in Two Rivers and now lives in Mishicot with her husband of 30 years, Joe. 

She completed the Lay Ecclesial Ministry training through the Missionary Leadership Institute offered by the Office of Lay Leadership Formation of the Diocese of Green Bay.

“My faith has been strong, but there was a point in time when I was in a rut. I knew something was missing in my life. It wasn’t work-related, it was something deeper,” she said. “I took Bible classes here and there in the last few years and my faith makes me hungry to learn more … I got more interested in the Real Presence of the Eucharist.”

Scheuer has been involved in church ever since she was in high school and began volunteering as a teacher’s aide in a preschool classroom.

“After that, I became a religious ed teacher for preschoolers. I did that for years. I then went to first grade, now I’m teaching second grade. I’ve taught religious ed for over 30 years,” she said.

Scheuer also enjoys being a church greeter, distributing communion, volunteering as a lector and usher, and working with audiovisual and livestreaming for weekend services, funerals and weddings.

She said she hopes to use her newfound knowledge to instill the importance of faith in her second-graders and inspire them to do more with their faith.

Kelly Scheuer, left, and Bruce and Jo Yungerman, all members of St. Peter the Fisherman Parish, Two Rivers, are among the 2024 ministers who were commissioned for the Diocese of Green Bay on May 2 at St. Francis Xavier Cathedral in Green Bay. Scheuer, pastoral assistant at the parish, completed the Missionary Leadership Institute. The Yungermans completed the Intensive Year training. (Michael Cooney | For On Mission)

It also will enhance her service to homebound and nursing home individuals because she can relate to them better and help them better understand their faith, she said.

“We have an older population here in Two Rivers,” said Deacon Bob Summers, pastoral coordinator at St. Peter the Fisherman Parish. “(Kelly) really has a heart for this. The people she works with just love her.” 

“I feel closer to God,” Scheuer said. “I want to pass it on spirituality and … to continue growing as a Christian and a human being.”

Jo and Bruce Yungerman

Jo and Bruce Yungerman of Two Rivers completed their Intensive Year training together through the Missionary Leadership Institute. “I was going to do it by myself, and he said he wanted to do it, too,” Jo said.

“They’re together constantly. They’re always here (at the church),” Deacon Summers said.

The Yungermans, who are retired and have been married for 47 years, moved to Two Rivers from Janesville in 2019. They have three grown children and 10 grandchildren. She grew up Catholic; he was Lutheran, but converted 20 years ago.

“We had been away from the (Catholic) church for 17 years,” Jo said. “I returned to church with a fire for Christ and dove into ministry.”

She became a catechist and attended a series of courses in Catholic evangelical studies. Jo also started a women’s Bible study group, helps out when the church secretary is away, and enjoys visiting the homebound and those in assisted living.

In addition, Jo said she volunteers in the community because she feels it is important to share the love of Jesus outside of the church. 

Jo was recently named 2023 Volunteer of the Year by the Two Rivers Senior Center, where she has logged nearly 950 hours of community service.

Some days find her baking muffins or bread for her neighbors.

“My faith is life. I can’t live without it,” said Jo. “I just want to share with everybody who Jesus is because he is the reason I breathe every day.”

Jo said she was motivated to complete her commissioned ministry training by Bishop David Ricken’s pastoral letter and by the faith formation students she teaches.

“I love learning and then sharing what I learn with the kids,” Jo said. “We have to introduce them to Jesus and give them the hope that we’ve been given.”

She said she considers herself a lifelong learner.

“The more I learn, the more I apply it. The more I learn, the hungrier I get,” she said.

As part of her studies through the Missionary Discipleship Institute, where she took her training, Jo wrote a practicum on funeral follow-up ministry.

 “When people … experience a tremendous loss, who do they turn to? They need people to walk beside them when they are grieving,” she said.

Bruce — her six-foot, five-inch-tall husband — is her “gentle giant,” Jo said. “He supports me in everything I do. We complement one another. He’s my encourager, my cheerleader.”

His faith is important to him, said Bruce, who likes spending time reading Scripture with his wife.

“The Eucharist means a lot to me, knowing Jesus is there and being there for us. I know Jesus is protecting me,” he said.

Bruce also enjoys keeping an eye on the children of the parish by serving as a hall monitor inside and outside church during faith formation classes.

“I’ve been a hall monitor for five years. Parents have come up and thanked me for protecting their kids,” Bruce said.

“He’s still exploring what he wants to do. He’s still very much in the discernment process,” Jo said.

“I really would like to get more involved in what’s happening in the church,” said Bruce, who wants to help bring more people into the church and reach more children with the Gospel.

“Quite a bit of what I learned is you have to be involved,” he said. “I would like to spend more time in the ministry … It would be nice to have a couples Bible study. There is a very big need for that.”

He said what he likes about the church is that there is more to it than just attending Mass on Sunday and going home; there are so many more ways people can become involved.

Lay Leadership Program

The Missionary Leadership Institute is designed to provide formation in discipleship and leadership to a wide variety of lay parish leaders, both staff and volunteers, who seek to:

· Discern their vocation, their particular call to holiness.

· Be formed as leaders who will evangelize and disciple others.

· Serve more effectively as lay ecclesial ministers (parish staff).

For more information on the Missionary Leadership Institute, see https://gbdiscipleship.org/mli.

Members of the 2024 graduating class are:

Missionary Disciples

Completion of the Intensive Year

Emily LeGreve

Jerilyn Owen

Holy Cross, Mishicot

Danielle Faust

Michelle Schneider

Holy Trinity, School Hill

Rob Buzaitis

Kaukauna Catholic Parishes, Kaukauna

Kristin Sorensen

Our Lady of Lourdes, De Pere

Brittany Marie Burant

Ss. Peter & Paul, Weyauwega

Paola Escalera

Juan Jacome

SS. Peter & Paul, Green Bay

Hugo Alavez

Yadira Ramirez

St. Philip the Apostle, Green Bay

Lisa Leick Kohlman

St. Clare, Askeaton/Greenleaf/Wrightstown

Hillary Adelman

Amanda L. Bergel

St. Francis of Assisi, Manitowoc

Courtney Foster

St. Jude the Apostle, Oshkosh

Jan Ramseth

St. Martin of Tours, Cecil

Kay Kraeger

St. Mary Magdalene, Waupaca

Tom Truckey

St. Mary of the Angels, Green Bay

Joel Powers

St. Nicholas, Freedom

Bruce T. Yungerman

Jo A. Yungerman

St. Peter the Fisherman, Two Rivers

Jodell Gagnow

St. Thomas More, Appleton

María Bustamantes

Adalberto Martinez

St. Thomas the Apostle, Newton

Lay Ministers

Completion of Missionary Leadership Institute,

Ministry Formation Year

Stephanie Weinfurter

St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception, Luxemburg

Kellie Zahn

St. Mary, Bear Creek; St. Rose, Clintonville

Kelly Scheuer

St. Peter the Fisherman, Two Rivers

Kathy Baehman

St. Raphael the Archangel, Oshkosh

Andy Pethan

St. Thérèse, Appleton

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