Mayo Clinic, St. Rose Convent gain chaplains

By Kasie Von Haden

Lumen Editor

In March, Fr. Conrad Targonski joined the Viterbo community as chaplain to the university. He fills in as full-time campus priest, a posi­tion that had previously been held by Fr. Tom O’Neill until his death in September of 2009.

In November 2009, shortly after Fr. Tom’s passing, Viterbo established a partnership with the Franklin Prov­ince; the goal of the partnership was to bring three Franciscan Friars to the immediate community. Fr. Con­rad’s coming to Viterbo began the process of those Franciscan friars joining the community, and now, the process is complete.

Fr. David Kelly and Fr. Richard Tulko, two additional Franciscan friars, have joined the Viterbo com­munity.

Fr. David, a Chippwa Falls, Wis., native, came to La Crosse from a parish in Appleton, Wis. He now serves as chaplain at Mayo Clinic. His duties include bringing com­munion to patients, assisting and supporting families at time of death, and facilitating Mass several times a week. He also visits each patient and asks if he can do anything for them, or, if they are in need of a dif­ferent religious leader.

In addition to serving in the hospi­tal, Fr. David also assists in Mass at San Damiano Chapel and at St. Rose Convent when needed. He also tries to stay active in the Viterbo commu­nity by attending various Campus Ministry Events, such as “Scripture and Supper.”

“Most of the people I serve are really grateful,” Fr. David said. “You need to understand what people are going through. They appreciate having someone other than a doctor or a nurse with them.

Fr. Richard Tulko, originally from Brooklyn, N.Y., previously served as Director of Mission Appeals for the Franklin Province. He now fills the position of chaplain for St. Rose Convent. He facilitates daily Mass for the sisters and assists in other ceremonies as needed. Fr. Richard also spends time wherever he is needed in the Viterbo community, including athletics, graduations cer­emonies, helping at San Damiano Chapel, and other events. He also visits Bethany St. Joseph Care Cen­ter to facilitate Mass.

“It took me a mini-micro second to say yes to come here,” Fr. Richard said. “The people are extremely wel­coming.”

The benefits of having three Fri­ars in the immediate community are evident, according to both Fr. David and Fr. Richard.

“We can fill in for each other,” Fr. Richard said. “At times, I’m one of the extras.”

In addition to scheduling and filling in for duties, the Friars add to the Franciscan heritage at Viterbo.

“It’s a collaboration,” Fr. David said. “We all add another, different dimension of Franciscan life here. We are trying to keep the Franciscan spirit, and we can pick up on that Franciscan family. It’s about being a part of a ‘bigger something.’”

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