Weather Forecast


Deziel leaves St. Rita's in Cottage Grove

The Rev. Bill Deziel in front of the large card in the entry of St. Rita's Catholic Church in Cottage Grove. On the card, parishioners wished him well as he leaves the church to lead St. Peter's Catholic Church in North St. Paul. Bulletin photo by Judy Spooner

As the Rev. Bill Deziel leaves St. Rita's Catholic Church in Cottage Grove, he said it was a joy to serve the congregation and walk with them in faith.

After six years, Deziel is headed to St. Peter's Catholic Church in North St. Paul, "a vibrant perish" of 2,200 families and a school. Deziel is among 45 priests moving this summer at the request of the Archdiocese.

"I wasn't looking for a change," Deziel said in an interview. "But we serve at the service of the bishop."

Deziel said he will miss the congregation of 1,900 families that he has served since 2005.

"I will miss their community service," he said. "They are very generous and I'll miss being here. I loved being part of the greater Cottage Grove community."

In a letter to the congregation, Deziel said he has many fond memories and feels blessed to have gotten to know so many people.

"I have seen many children grow up and family transitions occur," he said. "I thank you for all that you have done to inspire me as your pastor."

The new pastor, the Rev. Rick Banker, will begin his tenure on August 1, with the Rev. Sebastian Bakatu, who has served the St. Rita's community before, conducting mass in the interim.

Bakatu is currently serving as spiritual director at St. John Vianney College Seminary in St. Paul.

Banker, who is moving into the rectory on Aug. 7, was ordained in 1988. He has served the Queen of Peace parish in Cloquet, St. Peter in Mendota Heights, St. Patrick's in Oak Grove and 11 years as pastor of St. Michael Catholic Church in Prior Lake.

"Father Banker has led several parish building projects over the years," Deziel said. "He is looking forward to working with our parish planning process."

Banker also has connections with St. Rita's sister parish in Peru because some of the Prior Lake parishioners know people at St. Rita's.

Deziel said Banker has lots of energy and a positive spirit.

"He has great enthusiasm for working with youth and he is an excellent preacher with a love for Jesus, the church and God's people," Deziel said.

Judy Spooner
Judy Spooner is the longest-serving staff writer at the South Washington County Bulletin. Spooner, who covers education and features in addition to writing a weekly column, has been with the newspaper for over 30 years.
(651) 459-7600