William J. Blazewicz

William J. Blazewicz

Father William J. Blazewicz, at the age of 80 and a priest for 54 years, died on Sunday,February 16, 2014, in La Crosse, Wisconsin.

Father Blazewicz was born on May 18, 1933, in Mauston, Wisconsin, to Michael and Mary (née Niemojewski) Blazewicz.

He attended Holy Cross Seminary in La Crosse and Saint Francis Seminary in Milwaukee. He was ordained on May 9, 1959, in Christ the King Chapel of Holy Cross Seminary by the Most Reverend John P. Treacy, Bishop of La Crosse. Father Blazewicz’s first assignment following ordination was as Assistant to Father Anthony Thuecks at Saint Joseph Parish in Black River Falls. He served as Assistant to Father Alfred Hebert at Saint Wenceslaus Parish in La Crosse from June until September of 1962, and to Father Owen Mitchell at Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Parish in Richland Centerfrom September 1962 to June 1963. At that time he was appointed Chaplain at Saint Benedict Hospital in Durand, where he served until 1966, during which time he also taught religion and English at Sacred Heart High School in Lima. On June 15, 1966, Father Blazewicz was appointed Assistant to Monsignor John Pittz at Sacred Heart Parish and Instructor at Regis High School, both in Eau Claire. In 1967 Father Blazewicz was given a leave of absence from the active ministry and was dispensed from the obligations of sacred orders on January 29, 1971. Living in Philadelphia, he earned a doctorate in education and taught English on the college level. From 1976 to 1987 he was employed as a science specialist for the Philadelphia Public Schools. He sponsored a family of ten Vietnamese refugees in his home and in 1982 he also sponsored several young refugees from Cambodia. After spending 11 months at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Philadelphia,on January 25, 1989, he was reintegrated into the active ministry by virtue of a decree of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith which was approved by Pope John Paul II on December 16, 1988. Effective February 18, 1989, Father Blazewicz was appointed Pastor of Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish in Mondovi. He resigned in January 1998 in order to attend the Institute for Continuing Education at the North American College in Rome. Upon returning Father Blazewicz was appointed Pastor of Saint James Parish in Camp Douglas and Saint Michael Parish, Indian Creek, effective May 19, 1998, where he served until being granted the status of senior priest on February 1, 2001.

Father Blazewicz is survived by one sister, Dorothy Zilinski; nieces and nephews; greatnieces and nephews; and a special care giver and friend, Nancy Kaiser. He was preceded indeath by his parents; two sisters, Margaret Gardner and Henrietta Karas; and four brothers,Harry, Arthur, Edwin and Eugene.

The Funeral Mass will be celebrated at Saint Patrick Church in Mauston on Thursday,February 20, at 11:30 AM. The Most Reverend William Patrick Callahan, Bishop of La Crosse,will be the principal celebrant and homilist.Visitation will be held on Wednesday, February 19, from 4:00 to 8:00 PM, at Saint Patrick Church in Mauston, with Evening Prayer from the Office of the Dead at 7:00. Monsignor Richard W. Gilles will preside. Visitation will also be held on Thursday morning from 10:00 until the time of the Mass.

The Diocese of La Crosse and the family are being assisted by the Crandall FuneralHome in Mauston.