Lopinas Celebrate Priest in Their Family
Oct 18, 2014 10:57PM
● By Laura Ustanovska
Larry, Allison, Arliss and Justin skiing
“I can't tell you how many priests and parish members have said, 'Thank you for raising Justin and giving him to us,'” says Justin's mother Arliss Lopina. “That statement is so 'strange sounding' to me. I didn't give Justin to God; he was never mine to give. We are all children of God, but some are called in a very special way to serve others. Justin makes me want to be a better person. I think maybe I had so many questions for God that He thought He would put a priest in our family.”
The ability to say yes to God's call in one's life is made easier by the loving support of family, and Justin is blessed by his parents, Larry and Arliss, and siblings, Ashley (Michael) Knutson, Eric (engaged to Marissa Schmidt) and Allison.
The Lopina family moved to the Delafield area 27 years ago and love their fellow residents. “We have lived in three neighborhoods in the last 27 years,” says Arliss, “and have made lasting friendships in each place. Having kids and doing things as families is what makes the difference wherever you live.”
Larry and Arliss love to entertain guests, barbeque and try out new recipes. The whole family enjoys spending time together often, especially at annual reunions with extended family members and great friends.
Justin has challenged himself to learn and enjoy many hobbies, including Capoeira, a Brazilian martial art, fire dancing, ballroom dancing, plate spinning and, recently, juggling.
The entire family cheers for the Packers, Badgers, Brewers and Marquette Golden Eagles (Larry is an alumnus.). Eric and Marissa support the Broncos; who doesn't like Peyton Manning?
The extended Lopina family has a high ratio of accountants, including Larry, who currently serves as the CFO at Versevo Inc., Ashley, who works in external reporting for WE Energies and donates her CPA skills to the Waukesha Food Pantry, and Eric, who earned his MBA at UW-Milwaukee and works in the accounting department at ProBuild, a supplier of building materials headquartered in Denver.
Those not involved in finance include Arliss, Justin, Mike and Allison. Arliss enjoys her time with grandson Mason (now almost 2) and working at Wisconsin Vein Center & MediSpa.
Justin served in the Peace Corps (Burkina Faso, West Africa) before joining Saint Francis Seminary in 2009. He was ordained to the priesthood last May.
Ashley's husband Mike has a degree in business and has focused his career on sales. Mike also earned the rank of Eagle Scout in the Boy Scouts.
Allison is a seventh grader at North Shore Middle School in Hartland. She has a strong will for challenging herself in gymnastics. As a level-9 gymnast, she spends close to 20 hours each week mastering her skills in the Salto Gymnastics center. In the spring, Allison will compete regionally. “We all support her efforts to eventually gain a scholarship to a Big Ten school,” says Larry.
The Lopinas adopted Allison from China when she was just one year old. The family continues to take an annual vacation to Breezy Point, Minnesota, with some of the families they traveled to China with when they adopted Allison. “They are our extended family,” relates Larry, “and we are lucky to have them in our lives.”
“Larry and I know all too well what a call from God sounds like,” Arliss continues. “During Justin's two years in Africa, his call from God got so much stronger. He saw so clearly what his life's mission was. Justin asked us to help him get in contact with the seminary so he could get the process started before he came home. We could tell he was moving in the direction he was meant to go.”
The Lopinas would like to thank you, their Delafield neighbors and friends, who supported Justin in his calling to become a priest. “The outpouring of love was really overwhelming.” Arliss goes on, “Many people who aren't even Catholic came to one or more of his Masses. They knew this was a big deal for us, and we loved how they shared in our joy. It does take a village to raise a priest.”