Brew City Missionaries Lucy Wirtz (clockwise, from to left), Isabel Jimenez, Angela Perez and Noelle Javurek will be serving at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater this school year. (Photo courtesy of Brew City Catholic)

Among the 2023-24 group of nine Brew City Missionaries and two area coordinators is a black belt in Tae Kwon Do, someone who can sing all four parts of a choir, someone who studied abroad for a semester in Ireland and someone who had 63 rabbits in their garage as a kid.

However, the thing they all have in common is a love for the Lord and for service.

The campus missionary project of Brew City Catholic began in 2015 with five missionaries at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Since then, 55 missionaries have served in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee.

In 2019, the project expanded to having a full-time team at University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, and this year, there will be a full-time team in Waukesha serving at colleges such as Carroll University.

“Part of the vision in starting the missionary project was to create a grassroots project that would be very closely tied to the Church and the archdiocese, really wanting to serve the people alongside the Church,” said Anna Kozlowski, the Campus Coordinator for Brew City Catholic. “It’s been beautiful to see … the way we serve people. Having something local, we see a lot of missionaries stay in the area and continue to serve the different parishes.”

Serving on the team at University of Wisconsin-Whitewater will be Noelle Javurek, Isabel Jimenez, Lucy Wirtz and Angela Perez.

Wirtz said there were a few students she met at the end of the last school year at Whitewater that she is excited to reconnect with.

“Every person on this team is called for a reason and we’re here for each other, and it’s really beautiful,” Wirtz said.

Javurek, originally from Rockford, Illinois, said she loved how much the missionaries learned from each other in formation, and that she is excited to meet the students she has been praying for over the last few months.

The missionaries receive around 60 days of formation per year, including spiritual, pastoral, human and intellectual formation. One of the highlights of the formation sessions, many of the missionaries noted, was a talk by Paul Quesnel on “The Problem of Evil.”

Jimenez said the formation process has helped her grow as a person.

“I really love how the Lord has worked in my heart,” Jimenez said. “My saying yes to the Lord was saying yes to what he wanted to do in my heart. There’s been so much healing in my heart.”

The team at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee will include Michael Wiebersch, Tahira Cummings, Irene Tomasovic and Ellie Hoffmann.

“I know what friendships and gifts come out of a community that serves,” Wiebersch said. “I am really excited to do that, with the team and the students.”

Tomasovic enjoyed volunteering at the Archdiocese of Milwaukee’s Eucharistic Revival Congress in June, noting it was a great witness to the work they will be doing.

“I am just so ready to do what I love to do and to love God with other people, and help others love God,” she said.

Emily Czaplewski, who was a missionary in Louisiana in 2020 and is now in her third year with Brew City Catholic, will be at Carroll University and two-year colleges in the Waukesha area.

Lucy Horlander will be an area coordinator for Waukesha. Previously, she was a missionary with a nonprofit that did youth ministry. She said working with an older age group has been a growth opportunity.

“It’s been so beautiful and so humbling to begin to learn again what mission looks like and to discern what it is to be a missionary in the heart of the local Church,” Horlander said.

Kozlowski has been impressed with this year’s group of missionaries.

“You can see it in the way they talk: They love Jesus and they’re going to love the students they meet,” she said. “It’s always really encouraging for me and a reminder why I do what I do here in the office. This is all for the proclamation of the Gospel.”