IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT FROM FR. SAKOWSKI
I want to take a moment to congratulate Fr. James Kurzynski from St. Olaf Parish on being appointed the new Dean of the Eau Claire Catholic Deanery.
"Congratulations" seems like a strange word, since being Dean can mean a great deal of extra work, but his appointment is a great testament to the trust that Bishop Callahan and we his brother priests have in him. It makes me feel really old to say that I've known Fr. Kurzynski since the turn of the century, when we were in the seminary. I had the great joy and privilege of being ordained side-by-side with him on June 28, 2003.
For many of you in the Regis family, Fr. James needs no introduction, having served seven memorable years as Chaplain. Any of you who know him know that he is witty, multi-talented, highly intelligent, and deeply compassionate.
This is a bittersweet moment for me. I will not deny that I am deeply relieved to step aside from Dean duties and focus on some other priorities in my personal healing journey and in my two parishes. But my time as Dean has brought me to know and work closely with many of the leaders in the Regis community. We went through a couple of incredibly challenging years together - from a theft investigation to staff turnover to a global pandemic. These past several months, I have seen amazing teamwork, and have grown to love and respect deeply our administrators. I will probably see some of those leaders less, and I will truly miss those interactions. But rest assured, as pastor of one of our six supporting parishes, I will still very much be an active part of the Regis family!
Fr. Derek Sakowski
In light of this appointment, Fr. James Kurzynski will serve as Dean of the Eau Claire Catholic Deanery for a term of three years. That term began effective October 15, 2020.
Fr. Kurzynski is not only a priest of the Diocese of La Crosse, but also a hobby astronomer. Originally from the small town of Amherst in rural central Wisconsin, Fr. Kurzynski completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point, majoring in Applied Music (Saxophone, Voice, and Composition). After graduating from UW-SP, he worked at the University of Nebraska at Kearney as a Hall Director and pursued a M.S.ed. in Group Counseling. After a year at UNK, Fr. Kurzynski left his position to attend the University of Saint Mary of the Lake - Mundelein Seminary to discern his priestly vocation.
He earned a Bachelor in Sacred Theology, a Master of Divinity, and a License in Sacred Theology. While pursuing these degrees, Fr. Kurzynski also studied Spiritual Theology with the Institute of Priestly Formation at Creighton University and completed the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola.
Fr. Kurzynski was ordained a priest June 28, 2003. His first assignment was as an Associate at the Tri-Parishes of St. Mary’s - Durand, Holy Rosary Parish - Lima, and Sacred Heart Parish - Mondovi. After two years, he was assigned as Chaplain and Instructor of Religion at Regis Middle and High School and was also assigned Associate Vocation Director. In his final year at Regis, Fr. Kurzynski was also appointed Parochial Administrator of Saint Raymond of Penafort Catholic Church, serving south east Eau Claire County. From 2012-2015, he served as Pastor of Roncalli Newman Parish, serving the college students of Western Technical College and the University of Wisconsin - La Crosse. In 2015, Fr. Kurzynski was named Pastor of St. Joseph's Parish in Menomonie, Wisconsin, which also serves St. Joseph's Grade School (3K thru 6) and the Newman Center at the University of Wisconsin - Stout. In 2017, in addition to his responsibilities to St. Joseph Parish and StoutCatholic, he was also named Pastor of St. Luke Parish in Boyceville, Wisconsin. In July of 2018, Fr. Kurzynski was named the Pastor of St. Olaf Parish in Eau Claire. Wisconsin. He has also taught Introduction to Philosophy for the Diocese of La Crosse’s diaconal formation program.
In regard to his interest in astronomy, Fr. Kurzynski is a member of both the Chippewa Valley Astronomical Society and the La Crosse Area Astronomical Society. He taught an Introduction to Astronomy course during his time at Regis High School in Eau Claire. His first involvement with the Vatican Observatory came when an inquiry led to the development of the first "Faith and Astronomy Workshop" (FAW), designed for parish educators and clergy that are not professional scientists.