Gerard Willger was born on August 3, 1960 in Rice Lake, Wisconsin. He was the eighth child born to Joe and Fran Willger. The family dairy farm was home to Gerard and his twelve brothers and sisters. The Willgers formed a close bond to the Catholic faith and attend Mass at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church in Dobie, Wisconsin. Gerard was ordained a Catholic priest for the Diocese of Superior and served many parishes in the diocese since his ordination on August 3, 1986.
Gerard attended grades one thru four at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic School in Dobie, Wisconsin. He went on to Holy Trinity School for grades five and six and then, attended Rice Lake Middle School for seventh and eighth grade. His high school years were spent at St. Lawrence Seminary in Mt. Calvary, Wisconsin, near Fond du Lac. He received his bachelor’s degree from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota. Upon graduation he attended the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana. In May of 1985 he received his Masters of Divinity Degree from the University of Notre Dame, while residing at the Moreau Seminary.
On August 3, 1986 Gerard was ordained a priest at St. Joseph Church in Rice Lake, Wisconsin. Following ordination he served as an Associate Pastor at the Cathedral of Christ the King parish in Superior, Wisconsin. In June of 1989 he was transferred to St. Patrick parish in Hudson. The next transfer occurred in June of 1992 when Fr. Gerard was introduced to the cluster parishes of St. Francis, in Flambeau, St. Michael in Jump River and St. John in Sheldon. In 1996 Fr. Gerard took on new responsibilities at the cluster parishes of St. Joseph in Barron, St. Peter in Cameron and at St. Boniface in Chetek. On March 11, 2004 Fr. Gerard was assigned to Holy Rosary parish in Medford, Wisconsin. In November of 2004 Our Lady of Perpetual Help parish, in Whittlesey, was added to Fr. Gerard’s responsibilities. Effective July 1, 2015, Fr. Gerard has accepted a new assignment as Parochial Administrator of St. Joseph Parish in Hayward, WI and also St. Ann Parish in Cable.
Early in 2009 Fr. Gerard was appointed by Bishop Peter Christensen and accepted the position of Moderator of the Superior Diocesan Council of Women (SDCCW). In this capacity, Fr. Gerard acts as Spiritual Advisor for SDCCW, is a non-voting member of the SDCCW Board, attends scheduled meetings, and attends board meetings of the Province of Milwaukee Council of Catholic Women. Fr. Gerard has attended several National Council of Catholic Women annual conventions and there he assists in concelebrating liturgy each day for the hundreds of women attending.
Originally Fr. Gerard’s title was Moderator as stated in the paragraph above. Under the leadership ofRev. Msgr. Robert R. Servatius, Chairman of the A/DCCW Moderators, (now Spiritual Advisors), the moderatorsin attendance voted to change their title to Spiritual Advisor as this more closely defines their role in the Council of Catholic Women.