By DAVID KRIER
Father Garrett Kau took a rather unusual path to the priesthood. After graduating from Palmyra-Eagle High School in southeast Wisconsin he enrolled at UW-Madison, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in microbiology in 2006.
While studying at the University of Wisconsin, Kau became increasingly involved at St. Paul’s University Catholic Church on campus, which hosts both small and large discussion groups for student Catholics.
“I had been growing in my faith for years,” he says.
In 2006, Kau took a vocations retreat. “That really opened my eyes to the faith,” he says. “God is saying this is another good thing, another path to fatherhood, spiritual rather than physical.”
That’s when he decided to join the priesthood. The Madison Archdiocese enrolled him in the St. John Vianney Theological Seminary in Denver, Colorado.
“Needless to say, there weren’t a whole lot of transfer credits,” says Father Kau. “When you apply to be a seminarian they assume you don’t know a lot about the priesthood. You just arrive with a lot of faith and zeal.”
Kau studied philosophy for his first two years in the seminary, then theology for four years. He was ordained in 2013 at the age of 30.
“The minimum age you can be ordained is 25; at least I was 30,” he chuckles.
Father Kau’s first assignment was St. Joseph Catholic Parish in Baraboo, where he served as Parochial Vicar and the Camp Gray Chaplain for the past two years.
“That was a lot of fun,” he says of working with kids.
Father Kau arrived in Boscobel on July 8 and began serving Mass the next day. He is the pastor of the Corpus Christi Parish, which includes Immaculate Conception Church in Boscobel, St. John’s in Muscoda, St. Joseph’s in Avoca and St. Malachy in Clyde. It’s a big territory and a lot of responsibility for a young priest.
“Going from parochial vicar to pastor is a big step as far as responsibility,” he says, “but I’m excited to meet people and journey with them.”
Father Kau’s parents and grandparents were dairy farmers so he is quite familiar with rural Wisconsin and hard work.
“My brother and I would do the milking at 4 a.m. and be pitching hay bales in the afternoon,” he recalls. “There’s no better exercise than that.”
While he isn’t pitching hay bales anymore, Father Kau still enjoys physical exercise, perhaps to work off the homemade sausages he prepares from scratch. Besides enjoying being in the kitchen, some of his hobbies include hiking, camping, trap shooting, archery, hunting and biking. Sounds about right for southwest Wisconsin. He should have no trouble fitting in.