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The Life of Father Joe Walijewski

Learn how the priestly zeal and heroic virtue of Servant of God, Father Joe Walijerski, was lived out in his life filled with hope.

Diocese of La Crosse

on 1 May 2018

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Transcript of The Life of Father Joe Walijewski

Servant of God - 1924 - 2006
a Pencil in Our Lord's Hands
The Life of Father Joseph Walijewski

"I do not know how long I will live, but while I live, Lord, let me give some comfort to someone in need by smile or nod, kind word, or deed."
Father Joe ordained at St. Joseph Cathedral in La Crosse, Wisconsin,
soon to serve parishes of Mosinee, Thorp and Stevens Point.
His parents, sister, brother & niece in the front yard of family home in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Bishop John Treacy presents Father Joe with the Mission Cross, granting his request to serve the poor of Latin America. Referring to Pope Pius XII’s Apostolic Letter, he goes to Bolivia and founds Holy Cross Parish in Santa Cruz.
Father Joe Walijewski moves to Bolivia and founded the Holy Cross Parish in Santa Cruz, Bolivia. July 2015, Pope Francis visited Santa Cruz Parish during his apostolic journey to Bolivia, Ecuador and Paraguay. His Holiness was the second pope to visit the sites of missionary work begun by our beloved Father Joe Walijewski.
The Father Joseph
Legacy Guild
March 19 - Bishop Callahan announces the opening of the Cause for Father Joseph Walijewski. Dr. Andrea Ambrosi, the postulator for the Cause of Canonization for Father Joseph Walijewski from Rome, addresses those gathered for the opening of the Cause the Cathedral of St. Joseph the Workman in La Crosse.
The Father Joseph Walijewski Legacy Guild
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March 15, 1924
Joseph Walijewski,
born to Polish immigrant parents Frank and Mary, in Grand Rapids Michigan.
Baptized on March 22, 1924
His First Communion
December 4, 1945
Joseph Walijewski writes to Bishop McGavick requesting his excellency
to adopt him as a seminarian. Bishop McGavick responds and requests to meet him at his residence in La Crosse on April 23, 1946.
February 4, 1949
Joseph Walijewski writes to Bishop Treacy thanking his excellency, and the Diocese of La Crosse, for adopting
him as a seminarian.
Graduation picture from Saint Francis de Sales Seminary in Milwaukee, WI.
April 16, 1950
Walijewski Family portrait.
Ervin Klick and Leona Stroinski’s wedding took place at St. Hedwig’s Chapel at 9 am on
Sept. 9, 1950
. Father Joseph Walijewski, assistant pastor, officiated the ceremony.
June 29, 1955
Apostolic Letter
Pope Plus XII
Father Joe returns to Wisconsin, serving several parishes, including as pastor
of St. Hedwig’s Parish in Thorp.
Father Joe asked to leave for Peru, requesting to work among the poor. Cardinal Juan Landázuri Ricketts assigned him to a group of 8,000 earthquake refugees who eventually settled around Lima on land mapped out for a military industrial complex. It was just rock, sand and dirt — “Like the moon,” Fr. Joe says — but they named it Villa El Salvador, City of the Savior, and it instantly became a town. It also became Father Joe’s parish.
Cristo Salador Parish
Inscription at the site of Cristo Salvador Parish, the first church established by Father Joseph Walijewski in Villa El Salvador, Peru, which reads ‘Place where Mass was celebrated on December 24, 1971 by Cardinal Juan Landázuri Ricketts recognizing Padre Jose Walijewski as the first pastor. In attendance were: nine children, five women, two men, and fifteen dogs.
Father Joe and Bishop Freking gather with the families and children
in Villa El Salvador, Peru.
A memory of the blessings of Saint Joseph Church by Cardinal Juan Landázuri Ricketts on
March 20, 1983
. Founded by Father Joseph Walijewski Szydlo
13th of December 1981
Fr. Joe describes how he helps the people
of Villa El Salvador.
Father Joe founds St. Joseph’s Chapel in Villa El Salvador, Peru.
Fr. Joe meets Pope Saint
John Paul II in Poland.
Pope Saint John Paul II visits Peru, leaving $50,000. That money was used to help Father Joe begin building an orphanage modeled after Father Flanagan’s Boys Town.
Father Joe founds Casa Hogar Juan Pablo II in Lurín, Peru, which is now home to 64 children.
Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger (later Pope Benedict XVI) visits Father Joe in Peru.
Thorp Catholic School’s Mission Club
Bishop Burke visits Casa Hogar and made it an official mission of the Diocese of La Crosse.
Father Joe is granted senior priest status, but continues his work.
Bishop Listecki
visits to Casa Hogar.
Father Joe founds
St. Joseph’s
Retirement Home
in Chontabamaba, Peru.
Fr. Joe in his own words....
"The Joy of a Christian is to Know
that You Can Serve Others"
April 9, 2006
Father Joe’s last Mass, Palm Sunday,
with children at Casa Hogar Juan Pablo II.
April 11, 2006
Father Joe passes away from this life, returning to the Lord.
March - Casa Hogar celebrates its 25th Anniversary with a special visit from Bishop Callahan of La Crosse. During his visit to the tomb, Bishop Callahan witnesses the faith of those gathered and understands the heroic virtue of Father Joe.
The Mission
Fr. Joe’s Legacy Guild is an association of people dedicated
to furthering the cause of the Servant of God Fr. Joseph
Walijewski and providing continued support for the legacy he left behind.

Padre Jose’s spirituality is rooted in seeing Christ crucified in everyone he met; especially the orphans, abandoned, marginalized and poor. Unwilling to turn and walk away, Fr. Joe established parishes, soup kitchens and an
orphanage to meet the basic needs of these people.

The missionary zeal inspired by Fr. Joe’s legacy is passed
on to us today. We are called to imitate Fr. Joe’s heroic virtue,
and respond by embracing the people we encounter representing
Christ crucified in our everyday lives.
The Father Joseph Walijewski Legacy Guild: Outreach
1. Promote Devotion:
by learning more about Fr. Joe, his vision
and spirituality. Recognize across the Diocese and throughout
the Church that Fr. Joe is a Priest Hero of our time.

2. Build a league of supporters:
involve them through active
devotion to this saintly man. Currently 1,750 members.

3. Educate and Study:
by providing education on Fr. Joe’s life
and legacy and its relevance to our communities today.
3 Wishes of Fr. Joe’s mother
Served at St Hedwig Parish in Thorp, Wisconsin
Mary Walijewski
Born December 26, 1884
Died March 19, 1971
“We in the missions have a saying: You either go native, go crazy or go home.” - Father Joe
Casa Hogar
Juan Pablo II
Following devastating earthquakes in Peru, Father Joe returns to South America
April 11, 2005
Full transcript