Father Chester J. Osowski, at the age of 92 and a priest for 66 years, died on Thursday, December 31, 2015 at his residence in Wisconsin Rapids.
Father Osowski was born on March 11, 1923 in the Township of Sharon in Portage County, Wisconsin, the eleventh of fourteen children born to Florian and Matilda (née Bushman) Osowski. He attended Bruski Elementary School. He pursued studies for the priesthood by enrolling at St. Bonaventure Minor Seminary in Sturtevant, Wisconsin; he graduated in 1940. In the fall of 1940 he joined the Franciscan Order and spent a year in the novitiate at Pulaski, Wisconsin. He then studied philosophy at St. Francis College in Burlington, Wisconsin and graduated Magna Cum Laude in 1945. He then studied theology for four years at Our Lady of Lourdes in Cedar Lake, Indiana and St. Mary of the Angels in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Father Osowski was ordained a priest at St. Francis Xavier Cathedral in Green Bay by Bishop Stanislaus V. Bona for the Order of Friars Minor, Assumption Province (known as the Pulaski Franciscans).
Father Osowski’s first assignment was as an Assistant at St. Mary of the Angels Parish in Green Bay. On June 20, 1951 he was named Pastor of St. Sebastian Parish in Sturtevant, Wisconsin as well as Professor of Latin, Polish and Ancient History at St. Bonaventure Minor Seminary in Sturdevant. On June 20, 1954 he was named Pastor of the newly established St. Thomas Aquinas Parish in Saginaw, Michigan where he labored to help build a school, convent and the gymnasium that served as a temporary church. In 1963 he returned to St. Mary of the Angels Parish in Green Bay as the Pastor. On May 23, 1967 he took up the work of the Home Mission Band with primary residence in Lake Geneva. As a Home Missionary he conducted many parish missions, retreats, and 40-hour devotions.
On September 2, 1969, Father Osowski exclaustrated from the Pulaski Franciscans with the intention of becoming a priest of the Diocese of La Crosse. It was at this time that he became an Assistant at St. Joseph Parish in Black River Falls while also serving as the Administrator of St. Kevin Parish in Melrose and St. Malachy Parish in Roaring Creek. He was fully incardinated into the Diocese of La Crosse on September 15, 1972 and was assigned Associate at Immaculate Conception Parish in Eau Claire. On June 26, 1974 he was assigned Pastor of St. Anthony Parish in Loyal. On July 1, 1980 Father Osowski became the Pastor of St. Florian Parish in Hatley for exactly two years until he became the Pastor of St. Peter in Stevens Point. On January 14, 1987 he became the Pastor of St. Casmir Parish in the Township of Hull and St. Mary Parish in Torun. On May 26, 1987 he returned to St. Anthony Parish in Loyal as Pastor and remained there until March 6, 1990 when he became Pastor of St. James Parish in Vesper and St. Francis Parish in Arpin. On July 1, 1996 Father Osowski, in addition to his other pastoral responsibilities, was also assigned the Pastor of Holy Rosary Parish in the Township of Sigel in Marathon County until obtaining status of a senior priest on June 8, 2000.
As a senior priest Father Osowski took up residence at St. Philip Rectory in Rudolph, Wisconsin and helped out at numerous parishes. Since January 2015, he resided at Arborwood Lodge Assisted Living in Wisconsin Rapids.
Father Osowski was preceded in death by his parents, six sisters (Regina, Frances, Joanna, Teckla, Esther and Theresa) and by six brothers (Roman, Nick, Leo, Henry, Francis and Stanley).
He is survived by one brother, Edward, and by many nieces and nephews, great and great great nieces and nephews, and a host of cousins.
The Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, January 5, 2016 at Saint Peter Parish, Stevens Point. The Most Reverend William Patrick Callahan, Bishop of La Crosse, will be the main celebrant and Reverend Derek J. Sakowski will be the homilist. Burial will be at St. Adalbert Cemetery in Rosholt following the funeral luncheon.
The visitation will be on the day of the funeral from 8:30 a.m. until the time of the Funeral Mass.
The Diocese of La Crosse and the family are being assisted by Pisarski Funeral Home in Stevens Point.
Members of the Purgatorial Society are reminded to offer three Masses for the repose of the soul of Father Chester Osowski. Requiescat in pace!
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Rev. Kurt J. Apfelbeck