Fr. Daniel Weiske, Pastor
Native of Duluth, Fr. Daniel was ordained in June of 2012 and served the four parishes of Brainerd as an Associate Pastor before being assigned Pastor of St. Andrew and St. Mathias in July 2014. He is grateful to serve in this area. As these parishes work together with St. Francis and All Saints Churches, Fr. Daniel serves as daily administrator of the faith formation programs for the four parishes while Fr. Tony Wroblewski serves as head of the Catholic School.
After graduating from Duluth East, Fr. Daniel attended the University of Minnesota and then completed a Masters in Public Administration at the University of Illinois in Chicago. During masters studies, he opened up to and heard the call to the priesthood. Joining the Diocese of Duluth, he was sent to Mundelein and then the Pontifical North American College & Angelicum for seminary. His final year of studies entailed specialization in Spiritual Theology. From 2014-17 Fr. Daniel completed the Institute for Priestly Formation's Spiritual Direction Training Program for Priests.
Deacon Keith Grow
Most of my formative years were spent on a family farm near Santiago, a quaint little town located in East Central Minnesota. After high school, I continued my education and received a Bachelor of Science degree from Mankato State University. About that same time, I met and married a lovely Catholic girl, Theresa Kapsner which, as a Methodist, was a real eye opener. Prior to the birth of our daughter Andrea, I was confirmed and joined the Catholic Church.
In 1992, our family moved from Marshall, MN, to Brainerd where I continued my work with the State of Minnesota as a wetland specialist and Theresa continued her work as a social worker. We are members of St. Andrew's. We have 3 grown children, Andrea, Jeff and Alison. Alison and her husband, Terrelle, have blessed us with 3 beautiful grandchildren, Zoe, Othiniel and Jael.
Prior to moving to Brainerd, we had never belonged to a parish with an assigned Deacon. The Brainerd Catholic community had four. Their call to serve and the manner in which they carried out their calling was very intriguing and raised my curiosity to learn more.
At the urging of Father Seamus Walsh and the support of family and friends, I took a “leap of faith”. After 6 years of prayer, study and discernment, I was ordained as a permanent Deacon by Bishop Paul Sirba on November 21, 2010, on the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ the King.
Deacon Jerry Bock
I was born and raised in Brainerd and attended St. Francis Church as a child with my mom and nine siblings. I moved away from Brainerd for 20 years, and moved back in 1998 with my wife Cindy, sons Scott, Jeremy, Justin, and daughter Tracy. We started attending St. Andrew’s when my family moved to Brainerd. My wife Cindy joined the Church in 2008 having attended Mass since the first year of our marriage. I was ordained a deacon November 20, 2016.
Deacon Mike Koecheler
Ann Scheinost, Business Manager/Liturgical Coordinator
I am from a family of 3 children, born and raised Catholic, and grew up in Delano, MN. We were members of St. Peter’s church, were I also attended their school from grades 1 through 6. Following high school, I attended Minnesota State University Mankato, and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree.
I met my husband, Brian, in 1997, and we married October 2001. We have two boys. Jackson is 16, Bennett is 13. Both are active in baseball and football, and attend Brainerd Public Schools. After I married, I relocated to Brainerd, and began what turned out to be an almost 17-year career in the RPS Customer Service department at Ascensus. During the last 6+ years, I lead my team as a Supervisor, and finally a Manager.
I have volunteered for several organizations in the community. I served a Cub Master for Cub Scout Pack 43 for several years, I have led small group discussions for our Wednesday night Faith Formation youth since 2015, and I am currently the Secretary for the Brainerd Lakes Area Baseball Association.
I am excited to work in an environment that allows me to not only grow professionally, but spiritually. I desire to help people on many levels, and use my talents to partner with others so that they can fully live theirs. I am eager to collaborate to serve the people of the parish and the overall community. I strive to truly be the hands of Jesus.
Melina Birchem, Parish Secretary and Bulletin Editor
I was born and raised in the Brainerd Lakes area, and received all my sacraments at Our Lady of Lourdes in Pine River, MN. I had my first powerful encounter with Christ at Camp Survive as a teen, which eventually led to my first ministry experience as a CCD teacher and children’s choir co-director my senior year of high school.
Upon graduating in 2013, I spent two years traveling the county serving our Catholic youth as a part of NET Ministries. NET Ministries sends young adults ages 18-28 throughout the country to share the Gospel with young people by putting on retreats. I spent a year serving in the Midwest and East coast, and another year serving primarily in the Archdiocese of Minneapolis and St. Paul. I fell in love with serving the Church on my time with NET, and realized I had a gift to receive the brokenness of the people I served and help them receive Christ’s mercy and love through prayer and the sacraments. This drew me out to North Dakota in 2015 to attend the University of Mary in Bismarck, where I majored in psychology with minors in addictions counseling and Catholic studies. While attending UMary I took a part-time job serving in campus ministry as the Coordinator of Youth Ministry, where I trained over 50 college students to share the Gospel by putting on retreats or doing prison ministry. I also was blessed to be the student chair for the Bismarck Diocesan Youth Rally and many events with campus ministry which allowed me to meet Catholics from every walk of life from Bishop Barron and Cardinal Dolan to Gianna Emanuela Molla (St. Gianna’s daughter) to Paul J. Kim.
But as my time at UMary came to a close, the Lord brought me back here to the Brainerd Lakes area. I graduated in April 2019 with my Bachelors of Science in Psychology, magna cum laude. I currently work part-time at St. Joseph’s Medical Center as a Behavioral Health technician, which allows me to work with people experiencing mental illness and psychological emergencies. And now I get to be your friendly face here at our parish office.
I’m so excited to work here because I can see Christ so profoundly working in this community among our parishioners and staff. To get to be a part of His work in action is all I could ever ask for, and so I’m honored to be a part of serving this parish family.
Mary Stoffel, Part-Time Secretary
Hi, my name is Mary Stoffel. I am the new part-time Parish Secretary at St. Andrews/St. Mathias Church office as of 9/19/16.
I was born in Ardmore, Oklahoma while my Dad was stationed in the Air Force. We traveled around to different states while he was in the Air Force. He retired in October, 1966 from Bangor, Maine and we moved to Minnesota to be closer to my parents’ families. My family has been members at St. Francis Church since November, 1966. I attended St. Francis School from 5th through 7th grade. After graduating from Brainerd High School in 1975, I attended vocational school for 2 yrs.
Before retiring from the MN Dept. of Natural Resources in November, 2012, I also had worked prior to that at the Brainerd Regional Human Services Center; Crow Wing County Social Services, and the MN State Lottery. Since retiring in 2012, I have volunteered at St. Andrews Church office, St. Francis School and at Renneke Chiropractic.
Anne Pritschet, Music Director
My name is Anne Pritschet, and I am the Music Director for St. Andrew’s and St. Mathias parishes.
I grew up in Dublin, Ireland. While studying Music and German at UCD I spent a year in Germany, and there I met my husband Dave, a native of St. Paul. We moved to Brainerd in 1993 when Dave was offered a job teaching here, and have lived and worked here ever since. We have been blessed with four children, Ciara, Miriam, Ronan and Maeve.
Peggy Tautges, St. Mathias Custodian
I have lived in the St. Mathias community since 1973, after purchasing the Tautges family farm. I was converted to the Catholic religion by Father Miller in 1979. I have been a member of St Mathias Church since then. I farmed with my husband, Dewey and our two children for the first 15 years. I then went to work in Brainerd as a purchasing agent for 15 years at Atek Mfg. and 10 years at St Joseph's hospital. I retired in 2013. I like to stay busy and love to garden, golf and kayak whenever I get the chance. I love to provide flowers and decorations for the church and being a custodian just seemed to be a natural next step in helping to keep our church beautiful.
Faith Formation Staff Members
Dan Johnson: High School Faith Formation Director
Hello, my name is Dan Johnson and I am the Director of Religious Education for grades 9-12 and Adult Faith Formation.
I grew up on a farm just outside of Dickinson, ND and attended 12 years of catholic schooling in that area. I spent 14 years as a partner in a computer company after graduating high school. My job servicing computers brought me to Minnesota in 1996. I eventually left my position in the company feeling that God was calling me to some kind of work in His church. I went back to school and graduated from Franciscan University of Steubenville with a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and a minor in theology. I also spent two years in seminary studying theology and discerning a call to the priesthood. I moved to Brainerd in 2011 and took a maintenance job working for the church. I began my new job with the church in July.
Britt Johnson: Middle School Faith Formation Director
My name is Britt Johnson, and I am the Director of Faith Formation for Middle School, grades 6th-8th.
My husband Dan and I live in Brainerd and attend St. Francis Church. Dan is the Director of Faith Formation for the High School and heads up the RCIA program, and we are truly excited to work together at the church.
My compassionate, kind, intelligent, and thoughtful son, Payton is 11 and my caring, generous, funny, and joyful daughter, Fallon is 9.
I have lived in the Brainerd area my entire life mostly because I can’t bear to be away from the water and the woods. My wonderful parents, Bill and Mary Kronstedt, live in the house I grew up in and they too attend St. Francis Church. My brother, Adam Kronstedt and his wife Charlene live in Nisswa with their five children. Family is very important to me and I am blessed to have them all so close.
I am excited to be a servant of God for the youth in our area and cannot wait to watch their faith continue to grow with the help of their families and those of us who are lucky enough to be called to serve them here at the church.
Celeste Badger: Elementary School Faith Formation Director
Hello! I began working for St Francis Parish in 1997 and I currently am blessed to work with the youngest children in all four parishes.
It is truly a joy to be able to serve this age, particularly witnessing the children receiving the Sacraments of Reconciliation and Eucharist for the first time.
My husband Rob and I have four daughters who all attended St Francis School and we are very grateful for the Christ centered education they received there.