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James A. Dillenburg

2015 Ezekiel:  Prophet of Hope Award Reciepient

James A. Dillenburg

James (Jim) E. Dillenburg SOT '65 

 Monsignor James E. Dillenburg (“Father Jim”) was ordained a priest in 1965 after completing training and formation at the St. John’s School of Theology and Seminary. During his first pastorate, Fr. Jim directed the building of a new church in Seymour, Wisconsin. In 1969, he began his ministry as a port chaplain. He found humor in this assignment, saying “I always say God picks the strangest people. I don’t know how to swim and I get seasick so who do they pick to be port chaplain? Me.” Yet, Fr. Jim always stood ready to serve the spiritual needs of the sailors. This ministry took him around the world as he served as National Director of the Apostleship at Sea and was appointed ‘expert’ in charge of the Apostleship of the Sea for the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerants in Rome. He developed the formation and training for port chaplains. In his own words, he sought to “minister to the ministers,” “pastor the pastors.” Fr. Jim also played a key role in negotiating the merger of the National Association of Catholic Chaplains and the United States Catholic Conference Board of Examiners. Fr. Jim left the port chaplain program in 2000 to focus on his position as pastor of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton parish in Green Bay. While there, he helped implement a new intergenerational faith formation program. Throughout his work in parishes and for sailors, Fr. Jim consistently built collaborative environments in which lay, ordained, and religious worked together to advance the mission of Church and the work of Christ in the world. Fr. Jim retired in 2010 and currently serves on the School of Theology and Seminary Board of Overseers.