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The Rev. Dan Felton, senior pastor of the largest Catholic parish in the Lakeshore area, will be leaving St. Francis of Assisi effective July 1 to serve as pastor of churches in Greenville, Mackville and Freedom. / HTR file photo

MANITOWOC - The Rev. Dan Felton, senior pastor of the largest Catholic parish in the Lakeshore area, will be leaving St. Francis of Assisi effective July 1 to serve as pastor of churches in Greenville, Mackville and Freedom.

"It was a call of the Holy Spirit, not just a case of the bishop saying, 'You're going,'" said Felton, 57, who became the senior pastor of the consolidated St. Francis of Assisi Parish, bringing together six city Catholic churches, when it was founded on July 1, 2004.

Felton's reassignment was one of about a dozen announced today by the Chancery office of the Catholic Diocese of Green Bay.

Felton said he would have loved to have stayed in Manitowoc but as a diocesan priest, "sometimes you have to make some sacrifices to make sure people of the diocese are cared for and pastored."

As a new "regional pastor," Felton will be replacing two priests who have been reassigned to help enable coverage of all the parishes in the diocese of some 350,000 parishioners in 16 northeast Wisconsin counties.

Felton said his parents, Ken and Carol Felton, "are ecstatic that I will be back close to home," as one of the priest's new assignments is St. Edward Parish in Mackville where he grew up.

Saturday's HTR will have additional coverage of Felton's departure and service to the community.

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