Door County bids farewell to Oblates
Order has served in Northern Door County for 90 years
By Joanne Flemming
The six parishes in Northern Door County and Washington Island this week said good-bye to the two Oblate priests who serve as their pastors.
The farewell included a special Mass and dinner on Oct. 25. Bp. Robert Banks presided at the Mass at St. Paul Church in Fish Creek. A dinner and program followed at 7 p.m. at Mr. G's Supper Club in Jacksonport.
The Oblates of Mary Immaculate have served in Northern Door County for more than 90 years, said Sylvia Kostiuk of Fish Creek, farewell planning committee member. Fr. Chester Cappucci has been at St. Mary in Baileys Harbor since 1990 and Fr. George Kuryvial has been at Egg Harbor since 1998.
When they leave, one Green Bay diocesan priest, Fr. Matt Simonar, will serve all the parishes, effective Nov. 1
Fr. Cappucci and Fr. Kuryvial concelebrated the farewell Mass with Bp. Banks, along
with Fr. Joseph Hitpas, provincial for the Oblates' Central Province headquartered in St.
Paul. Special guests for the farewell were two former Oblate pastors, Fr. Eugene
Tremblay, who served from 1969 to 1987, and Fr. Norman Pahl who served from 1987 to
Kostiuk said that the farewell planning committee is preparing a memorial booklet about
the Oblates' years in Door County. The Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate were
founded in France in 1816 by St. Eugene de Mazenod.
De Mazenod was the son of an aristocrat born during the French Revolution. As a
member of that class, the parishes' memorial booklet said, he "was familiar with the
dissipating pleasures of aristocratic idleness" until Good Friday, 1807. That day he
consecrated himself to the Lord. A year later, he entered the seminary. He was ordained
in December, 1811. He later became a missionary and a bishop.
The order he founded was dedicated to evangelizing the most abandoned. Later it became a worldwide community. De Mazenod was canonized in 1995.
Early in the 20th century, Green Bay Bp. Joseph Fox asked the Oblates to take over care of the Door County parishes from Institute to Rowleys Bay/Gills Rock. Three priests were sent.
The first two priests assigned to Northern Door County lived at Baileys Harbor. They also looked after St. John in Egg Harbor, St. Michael in Jacksonport, and St. Rosalia in Sister Bay.
Another two priests followed. St. Paul Church was built in Fish Creek in 1917. Since then, the Oblates have lived either at Baileys Harbor or Egg Harbor.
Altogether, 38 Oblates have served Door County. Fr. Kuryvial has cared for the parishes in Egg Harbor, Fish Creek and Jacksonport. Fr. Cappucci has served Baileys Harbor, Sister Bay and St. Michael on Washington Island.