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Reverend Francis Gerard Dobrzenski, Age 73 Died on Pentecost Sunday, May 28, 2023 at the Trillium House in Marquette, MI after a courageous battle with pulmonary fibrosis.
He was born January 16, 1950 in Stambaugh, Michigan to William John and Celia (Brozak) Dobrzenski. He attended St. Agnes grade School in Iron River, MI and after discerning a call to the priesthood attended St. Lawrence Seminary, Mount Calvary, WI for high school. In 1969, He attended Sacred Heart Seminary in Oneida, WI and St. Nobert College, DePere, WI, where he earned B.A. degree. In 1972 he attended St. John Provincial Seminary in Plymouth, MI, where he earned a Masters in Divinity.
Father Francis was ordained to the priesthood on June 4, 1977 at his home parish of St. Agnes in Iron River, MI by The Most Reverend Charles A. Salatka. His parish assignments included Associate Pastor at St. Patrick in Escanaba and St. George in Bark River, as well as St. Mary-St. Joseph in Iron Mountain. He was pastor of several parishes including Sacred Heart in Ewen, the Mission of St. Francis in Sidnaw, Immaculate Conception in Watersmeet, St. Joseph/St. Patrick in Escanaba, St. Joseph in Lake Linden, St. Cecilia in Hubbell, and Holy Family in Flat Rock. He also served as temporary administrator of several parishes as the need arose.
In 1981, he studied Canon Law at the Graduate House of Studies at the North American College in Rome, Italy. In 1982, he studied Canon Law at Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C. After his studies, he served in many capacities in the Diocesan Tribunal. He also served on many diocesan boards and at one time was the Dean of the Ironwood Deanery.
In 1999, he was released to serve at Sacred Heart Major Seminary, Detroit, as a professor and undergraduate Spiritual Director. He positively influenced many men as they discerned their vocation to the priesthood. He came back to the diocese on July 1, 2002.
In 2013, he was elected to serve as Diocesan Administrator of the Diocese of Marquette until a new bishop was appointed and installed on February 11, 2014.
In 2017, he took a brief leave of absence to explore religious life, but returned to the diocese and was appointed as Temporary Administrator, Holy Family, Gladstone. He was appointed as Pastor, Holy Family, Gladstone, later that year and served until he was granted senior priest status on July 1, 2020. In retirement, he resided in Menominee and helped out at the local parishes.
He was preceded in death by his parents, three infant brothers, Billy, Tommy and Thomas, and his three sisters and two brother-in-laws, Mary Kay (Gerald) Niemisto Therese (Ron) Peterson, and Ancele Dobrzenski.
He is survived by his brother, Mark (Robin) Dobrzenski of Oro Valley, Arizona and several nieces and nephews.
Father Francis was an avid reader and had a great mind and wit. He loved tea and was an incredible cook. He was a devoted parish priest, teacher, mentor, and took great care with the Sacred Liturgy. He will be missed by many.
Visitation will be held on Sunday, June 4 from 6-7 PM followed by a vigil service led by The Very Reverend Brian C. Gerber at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Lake Linden, MI. There will also be visitation on Monday, June 5 from 11 AM-1 PM at the Church.
The Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Monday, June 5 at 1:00 PM at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Lake Linden, MI with The Most Reverend Allen H. Vigneron, Archbishop of Detroit, presiding. The Most Reverend David J. Walkowiak, Bishop of Grand Rapids, MI will be the homilist. Bishop John F. Doerfler and clergy of the Diocese of Marquette will concelebrate the Mass.
A luncheon will follow in the parish hall. Interment will be held in at Rest Haven Cemetery in Iron River, MI.
The family would like to express their gratitude to the Trillium House in Marquette, MI for their excellent care of Father. They would also like to express their gratitude for everyone who offered any acts of kindness and love to Father, especially prayers in the last weeks.
In lieu of flowers the family asks that donations be sent to the Trillium House in Marquette, MI.
The Pearce Funeral Home in Lake Linden, MI is assisting with arrangements. Online condolences may be left at pearcefuneralhome.com