The Compass: Official Newspaper of the Catholic Diocese of Green Bay
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October 6, 2000 Issue
Local News

Pastor to begin next part of his faith journey

Fr. Stan Kolbusz of St. Josaphat will retire Sunday

By Rebecca Weiss
Compass Intern

After 45 years as a priest, Fr. Stanley Kolbusz will retire on Sunday, Oct 8. He will preside at his last Mass for St. Josaphat Parish, Oshkosh, on Oct 7. On Sept 30, his congregation bade him farewell at a dinner in his honor.

As a senior priest, Fr. Kolbusz plans to stay in Oshkosh, where he will substitute for pastors as needed. His successor at St. Josaphat is Fr. Robert Stegmann from Pestigo.

Fr. Kolbusz was born Oct 7, 1930, in Chicago, where he attended Quigley Preparatory Seminary high school and junior college before going on to St. Paul Seminary, St. Paul. He was ordained on June 4, 1955, in St. Francis Xavier, Cathedral, Green Bay, by Bp. Stanislaus Bona.

Fr. Kolbusz said his career as a priest took different directions. "As the years went by, my priesthood included a variety of tasks ... assistant, hospital chaplain, high school teacher, pastor, episcopal vicar and diocesan consultor. And yet, there was a void. I began a journey in the '70s and '80s ... an adventure in understanding the messages in Scripture. It began at St. Mary of the Lake University" during summer sessions.

He said the high point came when he was on a sabbatical at St. Thomas University, Houston, where Bp. Aloyius Wycislo gave him permission to study for a semester.

"Thank you, Bp. Wycislo. And Bp. Robert Morneau helped me to make arrangements. Thank you, Bp. Morneau. But this sabbatical would not have come to fruition, until Fr. Wilbert Staudenmaier agreed to take over my duties as pastor. He did this for me and remained pastor of a large parish" - Sacred Heart, Appleton.

"This wonderful adventure continues," Fr. Kolbusz said. "We had Renew for 12 consecutive years. We arranged for Sunday Mass, starting on the First Sunday of Advent 1993, to be broadcast."

Fr. Kolbusz said his reflections make it clear to him "that there are many distractions of our own making in the journey of faith. The experience of Elijah is instructive or a caution."

Kings 18 and 19 tells about a dramatic confrontation between Elijah and Jezebel, said Fr. Kolbusz. There were "450 false prophets versus one true prophet. In this scene Elijah was victorious. But it was only temporary. He was afraid and fled for his life. He prayed for death; he was depressed and hungry. He was given water and 'angel food cake' ... a meal with such energy and protein that he walked for 40 days and 40 nights.

"In the entrance of a cave, Elijah waited to meet the Lord. A strong wind rushed by, then an earthquake, then a fire ... Lord was not there. The Lord finally came and talked to him, in a tiny whisper ... whisper ... whisper," said Fr. Kolbusz, who pointed out that "Scripture was not written to give us ready-made answers."

Kim Deleeuw, a member of the St. Josaphat parish council and a parishioner for 26 years, said "Fr. Kolbusz is kind, caring, understanding. He makes time for you if you ask to talk. I will miss him a lot, as a true friend and a true leader."

During his priesthood, Fr. Kolbusz served as an assistant at Holy Cross Parish, Kaukauna; chaplain of St. Elizabeth Hospital, Appleton; assistant at St. John Parish, Menasha; and was pastor of parishes in Marinette, and Darboy. He was appointed episcopal vicar of Vicariate IX and a diocesan consultor from 1972 to 1975.

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