The Infangers have two priests in the family. Fr. Andrew Infanger, far right, of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, is the son of Fr. Peter Infanger, far left, of the Diocese of Joliet (Illinois). They are shown with Fr. Andrew’s brother (and Fr. Peter’s other son), Michael Infanger of Park Ridge, Illinois, along with Michael’s wife, Amy, and the couple’s three children. (Submitted photo)
God the Father saw a lot of potential for fathers in the Infanger family.
He tapped Andrew Infanger on the shoulder when Andrew worked in parish ministry at St. Bruno in Dousman after college.
He tapped Andrew’s dad, Peter Infanger, on the shoulder when he was considering a new vocation at age 58 after his wife, Andrew’s mom, passed away in 2013. They had been married for 34 years.
Both are now priests.
Fr. Andrew serves with the Archdiocese of Milwaukee as associate pastor of St. Robert, Shorewood; Holy Family, Whitefish Bay; and as campus minister at UW-Milwaukee Newman Center.
Fr. Peter serves the Diocese of Joliet in Illinois as pastor of St. Thomas the Apostle in Naperville.
“Having my dad as a priest is basically just like having my dad as my dad,” Fr. Andrew said in a video done by the Diocese of Joliet about the father-son priests. “People find it much more interesting from the outside than I do, because it’s just — he’s my dad. That didn’t change at all.”
Fr. Andrew has more seniority as a priest, as he was ordained two years before his dad was in 2020.
Fr. Peter has found that the ministry of an ordained priest has some similarities to fatherhood in that it involves listening, helping, guiding and sacrificing.
It was Fr. Andrew who helped Fr. Peter set his course to enter the seminary.
After Michelle Infanger passed away due to cancer, Fr. Peter told Fr. Andrew that he was going to seek a new vocation along the lines of a job with an organization like Catholic Charities. He had hoped to do this ever since a “spiritual awakening” at age 34, after which he became deeply involved with his faith and parishes.
“I told him I was going to get my vocation in line with my priorities and do something in more of a helping ministry, like Catholic Charities. He said, ‘That’s not a vocation,’” Fr. Peter said. Fr. Andrew suggested his father consider the Catholic vocations open to him and to let one of them lead him to his next line of work.
Fr. Peter did this and decided to enter the seminary at age 59, while the average age there was 27. Though he was the oldest man there, he said he had more patience with young men than the other older men because he had raised children.
“I call teenagers ‘saint makers’ — they make you into a saint,” he said.
These days, Fr. Peter said he admires the ability of one of his ex-teenagers, Fr. Andrew, to put a homily together relatively quickly and deliver it without referring to notes.
Fr. Peter said he strives to maintain a parental relationship with Fr. Andrew and his other son, Michael.
Michael is married and the father of three children, making Fr. Peter a grandpa as well as a dad. Fr. Peter said he tries to keep a balance in terms of being a present grandparent to his grandchildren in the Chicago area, as well as a full-time pastor and parent to his adult sons.
Fr. Peter expects to spend Father’s Day at Michael’s house with his family, but it will be without Fr. Andrew, who will remain in Milwaukee to celebrate Sunday morning Masses as well as his weekly Sunday evening Mass at St. Robert at 5:30 p.m.
Of course, Fr. Peter understands.