St. Mary pastor celebrates 40 years
Franciscan priest lists liturgy and listening as gifts
By Joanne Flemming
Fr. Roman Zbieranski, OFM, pastor for the last 11 years at St.
Mary Parish in Manitowoc, will celebrate the 40th anniversary of
his ordination Sunday at the parish with a Mass of Thanksgiving
at 11 a.m.
He was ordained May 27, 1961, in Joliet, Ill., and is a
Franciscan of Assumption Province, Pulaski.
The South Bend, Ind., native said the Franciscans - "very
friendly ... a welcoming type of priest" - who came to his home
parish to give missions and retreats influenced him. The missions
lasted two weeks - one week in Polish, the second in English.
The stories they told in the classrooms about St. Francis also
He entered the novitiate at Queen of Peace Friary in Lake Geneva
and graduated from St. Francis College in Burlington with a
bachelor's degree in philosophy. He attended Christ the King
Theological Seminary in West Chicago. He has a master's degree in
business administration from Notre Dame University.
Fr. Zbieranski taught Latin and English and was treasurer of a
Philadelphia high school for 16 years. He served as pastor at
Saginaw, Mich., and a hospital chaplain in New Jersey, was
community superior in Philadelphia, vicar provincial and superior
of Holy Name Friary in Chicago. He was a member of the Green Bay
Diocese's core community for Renew 2000.
He said his two greatest gifts are his ability to be a good
listener and his love for the liturgy.
"I like to hear what people have to say, especially if they are
hurting, and to reach out to them in whatever way that I can," he
When asked what he has learned as a priest, he said, having "a
close relationship to God" was the most important and "to know
that everything in life can't be done alone, that you have to be
dependent on him. When people deal with situations in life, they
become depressed or upset. I think it's important that they know
that the Lord walks with them."