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If you are visiting my blog, expecting to see 'Toward a Progressive Catholic Church,' I have changed my title to reflect my wide assortment of interests. Having retired from my secular job, I hope to devote the rest of my life to my hobbies, ministries and perhaps a part-time job that makes good use of my communications skills. This blog will be designed to address my multi-faceted interests.

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Location: Rochester, New York, United States

I have an M.A. in Theology and an M.Div (Master of Divinity) from St. Bernard's School of Theology and Ministry. I am currently a media consultant and promoter of classical music. I am also certified as an officiant by the Federation of Christian Ministries for baptisms, weddings and funerals and minister independently of the Rochester Diocese. My life has encompassed many interesting paths: broadcasting, free-lance writing, video-production, music, ministry and a secular job in government. In addition to this blog, I have a YouTube site at www.youtube.com/priestray and I have a Facebook page.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Tribute to Mike Krupiarz

Dear Friends:

I just thanked Marketta Gregory of the Democrat & Chronicle for the wonderful article she wrote on Mike Krupiarz. I am posting this to my blog and to the CORPUS (www.corpus.org) forum, because several of Mike's seminary classmates from St. Bernard's are members of CORPUS.

Mike Krupiarz was a great guy and was very instrumental in my faith formation and choices I eventually made.

Back in 1990, when I was discerning the priesthood as part of a group for older men, Mike was my initial spiritual advisor. (He prepared for the priesthood himself, but had left the seminary without getting ordained, due to the celibacy issue. He became a married deacon instead.) Mike was very helpful in my discernment over celibacy and other issues facing persons who are discerning the seminary process.

Some of my memories of Mike have an element of humor. When he was a pastoral associate at St. Mary's Church downtown, he asked me to attend a peaceful rally outside the Seneca Depot, at which a Mass was being celebrated by Fr. James Callan to protest the manufacture of weapons at the facility. (Mike teased me by telling me he was going to jump over the fence as an act of civil disobedience. When he saw I was getting nervous, he told me he was just kidding.) I do, however, remember one incident that resulted in his being arrested for civil disobedience. (He laid down on the Broad Street Bridge to block traffic, in an attempt to protest the conditions homeless persons faced by living under the bridge.) This was simply Mike's way of calling attention to the disadvantaged in our society.

I wish I had known that Mike was in his final stages of life. I certainly would have visited him and shared with him the news of my being ordained a married priest. (I think he would have enjoyed my sharing that with him.)

Marketta Gregory's article was a wonderful tribute to Mike, and I am sure his family appreciated it. The article follows:

February 14, 2007

Aquinas teacher M.J. Krupiarz mourned
Marketta GregoryStaff writer
Democrat and Chronicle
Rochester, New York

Nearly 800 people — about half of them students from Aquinas Institute — gathered Tuesday to remember a man who saw God in all of creation.Michael J. Krupiarz, a theology teacher, a poet, a firm believer in the potential of people, a devoted father and husband, died Saturday. He was 57 and had battled cancer for several years.

"He was a man who felt that anything was possible," said the Rev. John Mulligan, pastor of the Cathedral Community and celebrant at Tuesday's funeral Mass at Sacred Heart Cathedral. "If you could think it or dream it, Michael thought you could do it."

He wasn't a Pollyanna about it, though. He was a realist, one who saw and understood society's ills, said Eugene Oberst, a social studies teacher at Aquinas. But Mr. Krupiarz believed in plugging away at problems and doing what he could to bring about change.

"He would go up and down Dewey Avenue and plant flowers," said Oberst, who worked with Mr. Krupiarz during Mr. Krupiarz's 16 years at Aquinas and at the former Cardinal Mooney High School before that.
"He'd go back and water them every other day."He also built up his students, even when they were in trouble."If kids acted up in his class, he'd pull them into the office and have them call their parents," Oberst said. After the student had explained how he was behaving, Mr. Krupiarz would take the phone. "He'd tell the parents, 'You've got a great kid. We just want them to be all that they can be. Can you just encourage them?'"

And he encouraged his colleagues as well, said Ann Habershaw, assistant principal at the private high school in Rochester."He always reminded me that material goods weren't necessarily the best things in life to go for," she said. "He lived very simply. He didn't look for lots of extras."

He lived in the neighborhood right around Aquinas, Habershaw said. He picked up litter in the neighborhood. He walked to school every day.And he spent time with his wife, Sharon, and his son and daughter, Michael C. Krupiarz and Michelle N. Krupiarz.

"He taught me a lot about life," said Michelle Krupiarz. "Now that he's gone, I won't remember the toys or gifts that I got for birthdays. I'll remember trips to the zoo, working on homework together, going to get ice cream. I'll remember all the time we spent together."

Even as she and her brother got older, their father wanted to know what was happening with their lives and their jobs. He was always ready to go fishing or biking, and he would get excited over little things, like seeing a hawk in the back yard.

He had a tremendous love of nature, said Mulligan."He was a lover of God's creation. If God created it, Michael loved it, and the nice thing was that that included people."

MGREGORY@DemocratandChronicle.com

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