Three area Catholic churches are saying good bye to their priest.
Rev. Brian Belongia will head to Washington, D.C. in mid August to study Canon Law at Catholic University.
For the past several years, he has been the pastor of Ss. Peter and Paul Catholic Church in Weyauwega, St. Mary Magdalene Catholic Community in Waupaca and Sacred Heart in Manawa.
Last weekend, two of the three parishes celebrated Mass with him and extended their blessings on him.
Sacred Heart held a dinner at Cedar Springs Supper Club on May 19, and Ss. Peter & Paul had a potluck after its May 20 Mass.
Memorial Day weekend will be Belongia's final weekend at St. Mary Magdalene.
The parish will hold receptions following the 4:30 p.m. Mass on Saturday, May 26 and the 11 a.m. Mass on Sunday, May 27.
It was on April 24, 2007 that Belongia was appointed pastor of St. Mary Magdalene.
Due to a shortage of priests, he was then called to assume the duties of pastor of Sacred Heart on July 1, 2009, before the responsibility of being the pastor of Ss. Peter & Paul was added.
Belongia worked with each parish to make its own, and members of each one adapted to scheduling changes.
He told Bishop David Ricken, of the Green Bay Diocese, that he was interested in continuing his studies.
Retired priests will celebrate Mass each weekend at the three area parishes until their new priest, the Rev. Amalraj Roche arrives in early July.
Roche was born in India and completed his seminary studies in India at Arul Anandar College and St. Paul Seminary. He was ordained a priest on April 14, 1998 and served in various parishes in India as an associate Pastor and then as pastor.
In 2006, he received permission to serve in the United States and has been serving in the Diocese of Bismarck, N.D.
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