Father Donald Lawrence Meuret, Jr., at the age of 67 and a priest for 38 years, died on Saturday, October 29, 2022, in the rectory of St. Paul Parish in Mosinee, Wisconsin.
Donald Meuret was born on July 15, 1955, in Wausau, Wisconsin, a son of Donald L. and Catherine (née Martino) Meuret. Under emergency conditions, he was baptized at St. Mary’s Hospital in Wausau, and ceremonies were supplied at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Wausau. Donald attended St. Mark’s Grade School in Rothschild, WI, and D.C. Everest Junior and Senior High School in Wausau. Upon graduation, he entered the novitiate of the Franciscan Brothers of the Holy Cross in Riverton, Illinois. While there, he studied at Springfield College in Illinois, now known as Benedictine University at Springfield, for less than a year. Donald was then accepted as a seminarian for the Diocese of La Crosse and studied at St. Francis de Sales College Seminary in Milwaukee for two years. He decided to take time away from the seminary and showed a great interest in music. After three years of work as a chef and in a theater, Donald was again accepted as a seminarian for the Diocese of La Crosse and entered the pre-theology program at St. Mary’s Seminary in Baltimore. Back in seminary, he further developed his musical skills on behalf of the community. In the summer of 1980, shortly before entering theology studies, Donald expressed interest in working more with the poor, even the very poor. In early 1981, he became a seminarian for the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston in West Virginia. On June 23, 1984, he was ordained a priest at the Basilica of the Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart in Wheeling by the Most Rev. Joseph H. Hodges. His parents and godmother, Shirley Meuret, who sewed his vestments, were able to be present.
Father Meuret’s first three years of priesthood were as an Associate Pastor at St. Francis de Sales Parish in Wheeling. He was then assigned as the Pastor of St. Catherine of Sienna Parish in Ronceverte, Immaculate Conception Station in Williamsburg, and St. Louis King of France Chapel in Lewisburg. He led the community in Lewisburg to build classrooms, a small library, and a parish hall. From 1992-1999, Father Meuret was assigned as the Pastor of St. Peter Parish in Welch and Christ the King Chapel in War, West Virginia. While there, he coordinated chaplains for the Welch Emergency Hospital and worked to boost the local high school band. He provided free computer training and helped others find employment.
In 1999, Fr. Donald Meuret took a leave of absence from ministry. Part of that time he taught as a substitute teacher in public schools and then taught choir and band full-time in two elementary schools. Father Meuret was not able to be with his father when he died, and was only able to be with his mother for a few hours before she died. He wanted to be nearer to his family and return to active ministry.
Reflecting on all these things, he was given permission from his bishop to contact then-Bishop Raymond L. Burke to request permission to serve in the Diocese of La Crosse. In early May 2002, while arrangements were being made for Father Meuret to serve in the Diocese of La Crosse, extensive flooding occurred in West Virginia. Because of the damage, the affected area did not reopen their schools until the new school year. Temporarily out of a job, final arrangements were made for him to come to Wisconsin.
In July 2002, Father Meuret was assigned as an Associate Pastor at St. James the Less Parish in La Crosse. After a year, he was assigned as the Pastor of Our Lady of Peace in Marshfield. On July 13, 2005, Father Meuret became a priest of the Diocese of La Crosse. In Marshfield, he served two three-year terms as Dean of the Marshfield Deanery and a term on the Presbyteral Council. In January 2012, he was assigned to St. Bernard-St. Hedwig Parish in Thorp. In July 2013, he was assigned the Pastor of Immaculate Conception Parish in Eau Claire. In Eau Claire, he served a term as the Dean. In July 2018, Father Meuret was assigned as the Pastor of St. Paul Parish in Mosinee, where he served until his death.
Father Donald Meuret was interested in instrumental and choral music, education, and cooking.
Father Meuret was preceded in death by his parents and one brother, Patrick. He is survived by two brothers, Michael of Wausau and Ronald of Madison.
Father Meuret requested a private Mass of Christian Burial. This was celebrated at Holy Cross Diocesan Center on November 3, 2022. Interment followed at St. Joseph Mausoleum within Catholic Cemetery in La Crosse.
On Thursday, November 10, 2022, a Memorial Mass will be celebrated at 11:00 a.m. at St. Paul Catholic Church in Mosinee, Wisconsin. The Most Reverend William Patrick Callahan will be the main celebrant and the Reverend D. Joseph Redfern will be the homilist. Here is the link to the Memorial Mass: https://youtu.be/NTvMBD6ShKA