A native of Saginaw, Fr. Wachowiak, 55, attended elementary and high school there and continued his post-secondary education at Delta College and Saginaw Valley State University before enrolling in Sacred Heart School of Theology in Hales Corners, Wis. where he received his master of divinity. He was ordained to the priesthood for the Diocese of Gaylord at St. Mary Cathedral in Gaylord by Bishop Patrick R. Cooney on June 13, 1998.
While deeply respected for his ministry in the Diocese of Gaylord, Fr. Wachowiak has been feeling the need to return to his home diocese of Saginaw to be closer to his family.
“The last couple of years have been difficult as my parents aged and struggled with health issues. I have felt a strong need to be closer to them,” Fr. Wachowiak said. “After my mother passed away, I reached the decision that I really have to go home for a while. I’m really grateful to Bishop Hebda for his understanding and his pastoral heart. I’m also thankful for the opportunity given me by Bishop Cistone so that I will be able to continue to serve and minister to God’s people in the Diocese of Saginaw.”
In granting the leave, Bishop Hebda said, “I know Fr. Wachowiak has been discerning this for some time. It was not an easy decision and he knows he will be missed. He has done tremendous work in our diocese and I am already looking forward to the day when Fr. Wachowiak will return. In the meantime, he and his family will continue to be in my prayers.”
In the Diocese of Gaylord, Fr. Wachowiak’s first priestly assignment was as associate pastor at St. Mary-St. Charles Parish in Cheboygan. In June 2000, he was asked by Bishop Cooney to pursue graduate studies in liturgy at the University of Notre Dame. In August 2000, he was appointed administrator of Christ the King Parish in Acme while serving part time in the secretariat for worship and liturgical formation for the diocese. When he graduated with a masters degree in theology with concentration in liturgy in 2002, he was appointed director of the diocesan secretariat for worship and liturgical formation and sacramental minister for St. Anthony of Padua Parish in Mackinaw City. In 2005, he was appointed pastor of St. Matthew Parish in Boyne City and St. Augustine Parish in Boyne Falls while continuing to serve as the director of worship for the diocese. In 2008, he was appointed pastor of a third parish, St. John Nepomucene in Praga.
In 2004, Fr. Wachowiak was named to the board of directors for Sacred Heart School of Theology in Hales Corners and as the diocesan representative and a member of the board of directors of the federation of diocesan liturgical commissions. He also currently serves as vicar of the central region vicariate.
To meet the pastoral needs of the faithful of Boyne City, Boyne Falls and Praga, Bishop Hebda has appointed Patty Furtaw to serve as pastoral administrator for the three parishes, effective July 1. She has served with Fr. Wachowiak since 2006, as pastoral associate and director of faith formation.
In addition, Fr. Donald Geyman, director of vocations for the Diocese of Gaylord, has been appointed sacramental minister for the parishes while continuing his vocations duties. Fr. Geyman already has taken up residence at St. Matthew in Boyne City and is looking forward to meeting the parishioners of all three parishes.†