March 3, 2010

Obituary for Fr. Floyd J. Welna

SAGINAW - Father Floyd J. Welna, 93, a priest of the Catholic Diocese of Saginaw, died Wednesday, March 3, 2010 at the St. Francis Home in Shields.

He was born on June 21, 1916, in Opole, Minn., one of 18 children of John and Mary (Deja) Welna. He attended public grade school and high school in Holdingford, Minn., before pursuing higher education at St. John University in Collegeville, Minn., and the University of Okalahoma in Norman, Okla., where he earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and master’s degree in chemistry, respectively.
It was while working for The Dow Chemical Company in Detroit during World War II that Father Welna heard and responded to God’s call to the priesthood. He went on to receive his priestly formation at St. John University in Collegeville, Minn., Ss. Cyril & Methodius Seminary in Orchard Lake, Mich., and the University of Ottawa in Ontario, Canada. He was ordained to the priesthood for the Diocese of Saginaw on June 3, 1950 by Archbishop James J. Byrne at the Cathedral of Saint Paul in St. Paul, Minn.

During his priesthood, Father Welna served as assistant pastor at Queen of the Holy Rosary and St. Stephen parishes in Saginaw. In 1954, he was appointed as pastor at St. Michael Parish in Wilmot, where he served until 1960. From 1960 to 1967 he served as a professor and spiritual director at the former St. Paul Seminary in Saginaw. He was later pastor at St. Josaphat Parish in Carrollton from 1967 to 1975, Ss. Peter & Paul Parish in Saginaw from 1975 to 1984 and Sacred Heart Parish in Kawkawlin from 1984 until his retirement in 1986.  He also was temporary Administrator at St. Patrick Parish in Ryan in 1988.

In addition to his parish and seminary assignments, Father Welna also served as director of diocesan sodalities, president of the Priests’ Senate, director of the transitional diaconate program, member of the diocesan finance board, chairman of the diocesan commission on liturgy, member of the diocesan building commission, and member of the Clergy Benefit Society board of directors. He was granted senior priest status (retirement) on July 14, 1986. For most of his retirement – up until he was 90 years old – Father Welna continued his priestly ministry by offering parish support and celebrating Mass most weekends of the year both in the Diocese of Saginaw during summers and in the Diocese of Venice, Fla. He thoroughly embraced Vatican II and the renewal of the liturgy, which was his great love.

He is preceded in death by his parents and 16 of his 17 brothers and sisters: Christopher, Anna (Albert) Theile, Theodore (Catherine), Alphonse (Anne), Agnes (Joseph) Bias, Louis (Frieda), Cecelia (Michael) Sherman, Edward (Matilda), Leone (Sid) Johnstone, Tecla, infant boy, Valeria, Theresa (Philip) Rask, Ambrose, Lauretta (Charles) Fritz, and Fidelis (Elizabeth).  He is survived by his sister Frances (Morris) Jacobson, who will celebrate her 100th birthday on March 9, and his brother-in-law, Charles Fritz, as well as many nieces and nephews.

 The funeral Mass will be celebrated at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, March 6, 2010 at Ss. Peter & Paul Church, 4735 W. Michigan Ave., in Saginaw. The Most Rev. Joseph R. Cistone, Bishop of Saginaw, will preside. Father Patrick C. O’Connor will preach the homily. Burial will take place at Mt. Olivet Cemetery.

Visitation will take place from 2:00  to 8:00 p.m. at Ss. Peter & Paul Church on Friday, March 5, 2010, including a 7:00 p.m. vigil liturgy led by Father Phillip Rask, who is Father Welna’s nephew. There also will be an opportunity for visitation beginning at 9:00 a.m. on Saturday until the time of the funeral Mass.  

1 comment:

Tim Ferguson said...

Recquiescat in pace, Fr. Welna. I served a ton of funerals for you back at St. Pete's, and so many of those memories are etched in my mind (Everytime I hear "The Strife is O'er" or "Yes I Shall Arise" I think of you).

Signifer sanctus Michæl, repræsentet eum in lucem sanctam,
quam olim Abrahæ promisisti
et semini ejus.