REV. RALPH KOWALSKI
CLASS OF 1942
Detroit— Those who knew Fr. Ralph Kowalski remember him as an intelligent, good-natured priest with an ardent love for the people of the Church.
Fr. Kowalski died Tuesday morning while on vacation inFlorida. He was 91 years old and had been a priest for 66 years.
Fr. Kowalski took on a vast array of assignments during his priesthood. He was a professor, pastor, vicar, tribunal judge, director of the archdiocesan Office of Education, moderator for transitional deacons, a member of the priests senate and presbyteral council, and an editorial writer for The Michigan Catholic.
Fr. Kowalski was born on March 23, 1917, in Detroit. He attended Sacred Heart Seminary high school and college, Detroit; the GregorianUniversitythrough the North American College in Rome; and the Catholic University of America. He later returned toRome to earn a doctorate through the Angelicum.
He was ordained May 30, 1942.
After a brief assignment as an assistant pastor at St. Alphonsus Parish, Dearborn, in 1942, Fr. Kowalski served as an assistant pastor at St. Catherine Parish, Detroit (1942-47), Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament,Detroit (1947-50), and at Santa Maria del Lago inRome during his studies at the Angelicum (1950-52).
He was a philosophy professor atMarygroveCollege,Detroit(1952-66), and then pastor of St. Francis de Sales Parish (1966-72).
Fr. Kowalski was pastor of St. Bede Parish, Southfield(1972-79) and of Our Lady Star of the Sea Parish,Grosse Pointe Woods, from 1981 until attaining senior priest status in 1987.
He was chairman of the Liturgical Commission for Synod 1969, director of Continuing Education of Priests (1971-79), moderator for transitional deacons (1978-81), and director of the archdiocesan Office of Education (1979-81). He was vicar of the local vicariate during his tenures at both St. Francis de Sales and Our Lady Star of the Sea.
Fr. Scheuerman, who was traveling with Fr. Kowalski at the time of his death, said Fr. Kowalski loved to travel, to golf and to cook.
"He was very outgoing, very friendly and very affable," Fr. Scheuerman said of Fr. Kowalski.