Archbishop Jerome E. Listecki announced that Fr. Michael Malucha will fill the Director of Vocations role for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee beginning June 1. He replaces Fr. John LoCoco, who will step down after serving as director for three years.


“After I accepted this new assignment, a good and holy brother priest reminded me that the Lord is the primary vocation director, but that he also allows us to share in this important work,” said Fr. Malucha. “Despite so many changes around us, the Lord’s call to the priesthood remains the same, as do the requirements for our candidates, to be men after the Lord’s own heart. Thankfully, that frees me from needing any new ideas, and allows me to continue where Fr. John LoCoco left off.”


In conjunction with completing his third year as vocation director, Fr. LoCoco will also complete his Licentiate in Canon Law this summer at the Catholic University of America. His next assignment will be announced in spring with the rest of the pastoral assignments.


According to Archbishop Listecki, choosing Fr. Malucha to serve as vocation director was not a difficult decision.


“He is a well-respected priest, intelligent, has a great rapport with young people and certainly he has a love for the Church,” he said. “Those are the characteristics I would attribute to Fr. Malucha and why I have confidence in the fact that he will be a great vocation director.”


Currently serving as an associate pastor of Holy Family Parish in Fond du Lac, Fr. Malucha grew up in Colgate as the eldest of four children. Following his graduation from Marquette University High School, he entered the seminary and completed his philosophy studies at Loyola University in Chicago and his theological studies both in Rome and Saint Francis de Sales Seminary.


When Archbishop Listecki surprised him with his new appointment, he quickly said “yes,” and added that it’s been a privilege to serve as a priest in a parish.


“When at its best, parish life is the place where God is worshipped and life is shared, especially in our families. At the same time, I’m humbled by this new opportunity, especially at this important time in our local Church,” he said. “I’m grateful to the archbishop not only for this assignment but also for his continued and prayerful support, both of Saint Francis de Sales Seminary and the vocation office.”


As the new vocation director, Fr. Malucha said his primary responsibility will be to accompany, encourage and support young men as they discern the Lord’s call to the diocesan priesthood here in our local Church.


“In that capacity, I will have the privilege to walk with them as they respond to the Lord’s invitation ‘to put out into deep water’ (Luke 5:4) and to follow him,” he said. “With a mind to our seminarians at Saint Francis de Sales, there, in a particular way, I will be responsible for our men in college formation. Moreover, as vocation director, alongside our seminary’s formation faculty, I hope to continue to be present to our Milwaukee seminarians who one day soon, please God, will be ordained for us as priests.”


Fr. Malucha added that a consistent place of encounter with candidates and seminarians alike will be at Cor Jesu, a weekly apostolate of the vocation office, held at St. Robert Parish, Shorewood, also the location of the St. John Paul II House of Discernment. There, every Wednesday, a dinner for young adult men begins at 5:45 p.m., followed by a holy hour and Mass.


Though it was often challenging, Fr. LoCoco said the assignment as vocation director was wonderful, adding there is real beauty in walking alongside men and women as they discern the Lord’s will for their lives.


“But there is also something quite isolating, too,” he said. “You feel like there’s no singular community you belong to, so I will enjoy returning to parish work, too.”


In serving as vocation director, Fr. LoCoco admitted it also helped him grow in his understanding of his vocation, especially in recounting it so often and to so many other groups. 


 “Also, I grew in my sense of perspective; God does call all types of people,” he said. “I think Fr. Malucha will bring a very steady hand as well as his own priestly zeal. He really is a priest who is ‘all things to all people;’ that will serve him well in this new position.”


Though Fr. Malucha said he is sad to leave the Lord’s vineyard in Fond du Lac and its many good people and families at both his parish and St. Mary’s Springs Academy, he is also excited for the adventure ahead.


“Knowing just how much my own vocation director, Fr. Luke Strand, generously gave of himself for me and my now brother priests, I’m grateful to the Lord for the opportunity to do the same, for those discerning the priesthood and for our Milwaukee seminarians and their families,” he said.


As rector of Saint Francis de Sales Seminary, Fr. Luke Strand said Fr. Malucha will make a wonderful vocation director, as he is a man of faith and integrity.


“He is mature beyond his years and has a deep love for the Lord and the Church,” Fr. Strand said. “Fr. Malucha will continue the great work of Fr. LoCoco in cultivating diocesan priestly vocations here in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee by accompanying young men in discernment as they listen to the voice of the Lord. The archbishop’s decision to name Fr. Malucha as the next vocation director will continue to prioritize a culture of vocations here in the archdiocese.”


There is no set term for Fr. Malucha’s appointment, but as with most priests, he is accustomed to change. After ordination, he spent one year as a priest in downtown Milwaukee, while finishing additional studies, followed by two years in Fond du Lac.


“I am continually invited to relearn that it is indeed all the Lord’s,” he said. “While it will be difficult to leave my parish, I also desire for our people to receive good priests to lead them to worship God for years to come. For that reason, I’m excited to take up this new assignment. Please continue to pray that our Lord and our Lady might raise up many more faithful and generous priests for our local Church, as (we) to do the same.”


Fr. Malucha encourages middle and high school students to explore vocations this summer. Local camp options include:

High School (June 23-26): Priesthood in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee: High School Vocation Camp

Middle School (June 22, July 25, Aug. 6): Priesthood in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee: Middle School Vocation Camps

Fr. Michael Malucha