KRAKOW — “It wasn’t love at first sight,” Bud Brzezinski admitted.
Across the kitchen table, Delores, his wife of 50 years, shrugged her shoulders and nodded in agreement.
Bud would see Delores Brefczynski around town in Krakow, 24 miles northwest of Green Bay.
“I’d see him when I went for groceries or to get the mail,” Delores explained.
In the town of fewer than 400 people, the post office was located in the grocery store, and Bud was the postmaster.
“We’d see each other, and she was looking for a date,” Bud said.
“I was looking for date?” Delores shot back. “I don’t know about that.”
In evidence that he’d learned much in married life, Bud quickly recovered.
“She was a very attractive girl,” he said.
Delores wasn’t done with him.
“I am, or I was?” she asked with a sly smile.
Miss Brefczynski changed her name to Brzezinski — “I didn’t change it much, did I?” Delores quipped — when she and Bud were married Sept. 28, 1968, at St. Casimir Church in Krakow, where the couple are still parishioners.
They and other couples across the diocese who will have been married for 50 years this year are invited to St. Francis Xavier Cathedral in Green Bay for a Jubilee Mass at 4 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 5. Their families are invited as well.
Bishop David Ricken will preside at the Mass of thanksgiving to God during the Diocese of Green Bay’s 150th Jubilee. The Aug. 5 Mass is one of a series of 12 special liturgical celebrations at St. Francis Xavier Cathedral during the year. Each liturgy will be followed by a special reception and gift for all participants. Complimentary tickets are required and can be reserved by following the registration link here — http://connect.gbdioc.org/s3/August-Jubilee — or by calling (920) 272-8341.
Michael Poradek, divine worship director for the diocese, explained, “Many other dioceses hold an annual celebration of 50th wedding anniversaries, and it’s a tradition Bishop Ricken has been eager to start here.
“The 150th jubilee year of the Green Bay Diocese is an excellent opportunity to recognize not only 50th anniversary couples,” Poradek told The Compass, “but all marriages in our diocese and our commitment to promote healthy marriages and healthy families.”
For more information about the Jubilee Mass, visit www.gbdioc.org/jubilee2018.
After 50 years together, the Brzezinskis are both quick to say that married life can be challenging.
Asked what advice they would give to couples getting married today, Bud, 88, said it is important to realize that you are two different personalities. Delores, 81, added, “When you live with somebody, it’s different than living alone.”
“You’ve got to accommodate each other,” Bud said, and he broke into song: “You’ve got to give a little” — Delores chimed in — “Take a little” — and Bud finished singing the next few lines from Billy Hill’s song, “The Glory of Love.”
“Expect the unexpected,” Bud warned today’s couples.
The Brzezinskis have two sons, Robert and Eric, and Eric was born with Down syndrome. Because of the extent of his condition, Eric lives in a group home.
“We visit Eric every Sunday,” Delores said. “We love him. They tell us that he waits for us.”
Delores was diagnosed with breast cancer seven years ago. “Luckily, I had regular mammograms and they caught it early, so I just had radiation treatments, not chemotherapy,” she said, and she’s fine today.
Bud continued as Krakow’s postmaster for 42 years, being honored during Wisconsin’s 150th anniversary in 1998 as the postmaster with the most longevity. Delores also worked outside the home, just part-time now, though, at Super Ron’s grocery in nearby Pulaski.
The Brzezinskis say they know everybody at St. Casimir.
Delores is one of the women who helps prepare funeral luncheons and cleans the church. Bud helps with cleaning, and he was a lector at Mass for some 20 years until his eyesight worsened.
A religious calendar hangs in their kitchen, and Delores’ statue of St. Anthony is in the bedroom. “I have a deep devotion to St. Anthony,” Delores acknowledged. “I’m always looking for something with his help.” She said she prays best by talking with God: “I pray to God to help me. I tell him my troubles.”
Bud finds comfort in the rosary every Sunday at church.
The couple never misses Sunday Mass because, as Bud said, “You get good guideposts for living.”