ALLOUEZ — Fr. Casimir Kutiuk, who marked 61 years of priesthood last year, died on Dec. 24 at age 94.
Fr. Kutiuk was born in West Virginia, the fifth of six children of Peter and Karolina (Szajna) Kutiuk. During the Great Depression, his family returned to their roots in eastern Poland where they lived two years under Nazi rule and four years under Soviet occupation.
Following a return to the United States in 1947, Fr. Kutiuk attended seminary high school and college at St. Mary’s in Orchard Lake, Mich., and graduated in 1953. He then studied at SS. Cyril and Methodius Seminary in Orchard Lake. Fr. Kutiuk was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Stanislaus V. Bona on June 1, 1957, at St. Francis Xavier Cathedral in Green Bay.
Fr. Kutiuk’s first appointment was as chaplain for Community Hospital in New London. In the fall of 1957, he was appointed assistant pastor at Holy Rosary Parish, Kewaunee. Three years later, he was assigned to serve as an assistant at SS. Peter and Paul Parish in Green Bay. In 1961, he was appointed assistant pastor at St. Mary Parish in Manitowoc and then served as chaplain for St. Mary Hospital in Kewaunee. In 1964, he completed a six-month assignment as administrator for Sacred Heart Parish in Two Rivers and then served three years as assistant pastor at St. John Parish in Menasha.
A brief appointment as administrator at St. Stanislaus Kostka Parish in Armstrong Creek preceded 26 years as a pastor. In 1967, Fr. Kutiuk was appointed pastor at SS. Cyril and Methodius Parish in Eaton. In 1979, he was appointed pastor of St. Mark Parish in Redgranite with a mission at Sacred Heart of Jesus in Poysippi. Following 15 years at St. Mark’s and Sacred Heart, Fr. Kutiuk was granted senior priest status on June 30, 1994.
“I was almost all the time in parish work,” said Fr. Kutiuk in an interview with The Compass for his 50-year jubilee in 2007. “I tried my best to help the people discover what the main purpose is of their life and their salvation.”
During his retirement years, Fr. Kutiuk lived in Oshkosh. For more than a decade, he continued to help out with Masses at churches in the city, especially St. John and St. Vincent. Reflecting on his years of ministry, Fr. Kutiuk said, “I used to like the work, taking care of the people. I’m happy to be a priest. If I were 21 years old, I would go back to the seminary and start again.”
The funeral Mass was celebrated on Dec. 28 at the Oregon Street worship site (former St. Vincent Church) of St. Jude the Apostle Parish, Oshkosh. Bishop David Ricken was the celebrant and homilist. Burial followed in Sacred Heart Catholic Cemetery in Oshkosh.