My name is Fr. David McElroy. I am a Norbertine Priest from St. Norbert Abbey in De Pere. I am originally from the Republic of Ireland and I became a United States Citizen two years ago. I have been a priest since 2002 and served in several parishes in the counties of North East Wisconsin, and the Tribal Land of the Menominee Nation.
Before becoming a priest, I worked as a Pastoral Associate and teacher in the Archdiocese of Westminster in London, England. Most of my time was spent preparing people for reception into the Catholic Church and working on initiatives for Evangelization. I was born into a Catholic and Protestant home. My father was Roman Catholic and my mother is Church of Ireland Anglican.
My first introduction to Wisconsin was through “Happy Days,” “Laverne and Shirley,” “Little House on the Prairie,” and, of course, the NFL games that were broadcast on TV in the UK and Ireland in the 1980s. I first travelled to the Green Bay Diocese to do Mission Appeals in 1994 whilst travelling through the Archdioceses of Detroit and Toronto. At that time, Wisconsin seemed a lot smaller place on my atlas in London, and of course, I had to drive on the opposite side of the road!
Evangelization and faith have been of major importance in my life. Living amongst the Muslim, Hindus, Sikhs, and non-religious in the United Kingdom was a great opportunity and provided many different occasions to share my Christian Catholic faith.
I moved to Wisconsin from London, England in 1996 and accepted an invitation to join the Norbertine Community of St. Norbert Abbey and started a new life as a Religious in the Catholic Church. Wisconsin was an interesting change from the UK and Ireland. The English language took on a whole new meaning. I learnt many new things and learnt that some words had opposite meanings at times! Brats, burgers, Cheeseheads and “Up North” became new terms and, of course, I was welcomed with the famous Super Bowl XXXI of January 26, 1997, and people were celebrating in the streets in -14F. My dad in Ireland found it bewildering when I told him in a telephone call that people went to Mass when it was -35F!
Now to Kaukauna. The name Ogaq-kane means a place for fishing in the Menominee language. The Gospels begin with the Apostles fishing but after the encounter with Jesus, they use their fishing skills to announce the Kingdom of God. I hope and pray that the time spent here will be a time when we will be “caught in the nets of God.”
As the Vision for our Parish says - As we, the members of Holy Cross and St. Katharine Drexel, seek to accompany all who desire on their faith journey. We desire to live with intentional faith; therefore our vision is simple: Discover, Live & Share Jesus!
I hope to Discover, Live & Share Jesus with you!