Very Rev. Richard M. Heilman was ordained to the priesthood for the Diocese of Madison on May 17, 1988. Father Heilman is the Wisconsin State Chaplain for the Knights of Columbus. Father Heilman is the Vicar Forane for the West Dane Vicariate. He has been a Fourth Degree Knight for more than 20 years, and he is the chaplain of two Knights of Columbus councils.
Father Heilman founded an apostolate for men’s faith formation called the Knights of Divine Mercy. Having focused his seminarian studies on spiritual direction, Father Heilman recognized a great need, early in his priesthood, to assist men in their roles as devout Catholic husbands and fathers. He is the author of the Church Militant Field Manual. He has also authored four other books, calling men to ”Special Forces Training for the Life of Christ.” He has been a guest host on Relevant Radio’s “The Inner Life” for the past ten years. He is also the author of a faith formation website for men called, RomanCatholicMan.com, and leads a podcast for men called, “God Strong.” He is a leader, with Cardinal Burke, of the Catholic men’s movement, “The Holy League.” He is the creator of the “Combat Rosary,” based on the original WWI military issue rosary. Father Heilman is an avid user of new media for faith formation. He is also the founder of the Ladies of Divine Mercy, which is an apostolate for Catholic women’s faith formation. He is the chaplain for the Holy Family Homeschoolers. He is also very involved in pro-life activities as the chaplain for Vigil for Life and the Women’s Care Center.
Since 2004, Father Heilman has served as pastor of two parishes, St. Michael the Archangel parish, with locations at St. Ignatius in Mt. Horeb and Holy Redeemer in Perry, and St. Mary’s in Pine Bluff. Father Heilman served as pastor from 1998-2004 at St. John the Baptist in Montello. He served as associate pastor at St. Henry’s in Watertown from 1994-1998. He was associate pastor at St. John Vianney in Janesville from 1991-1994. He was the Vocations Director for the Diocese of Madison from 1989-1991. His first priestly assignment was at Our Lady of the Assumption in Beloit for one year in 1988-89, prior to being named Vocations Director.
Father Heilman is a native of Madison, WI. Born to Walter and June Heilman (both deceased) on June 24, 1958 (birthdate of St. John the Baptist), he is the third of seven children. Father’s family helped begin St. Maria Goretti parish, and he attended SMG for grade school. He went on to Edgewood High School, and was an All-State football player. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Loras College. He earned his Masters of Divinity and Bachelor of Sacred Theology from the University of St. Mary of the Lake/Mundelein Seminary.