Date of death: 4/18/2010
Saint Meinrad Class: O 1983
Reverend William Lewis Zwiefka, 53, entered eternal life on Sunday, April 18, 2010. Fr. Bill was born June 29, 1956 in Manistee, Michigan to William and Patricia (Osborn) Zwiefka. He attended Jefferson, Oak Hill and Guardian Angels Elementary Schools and was a graduate of Manistee Catholic Central High School. He attended Michigan State University and then Saint Meinrad Seminary College in Indiana where he received his B.A. degree in Classical Languages. He continued his preparation for the priesthood and attained his Master of Divinity degree from St. John’s Provincial Seminary in Plymouth, MI. He was ordained to the priesthood on November 25, 1983 by the Most Reverend Robert J. Rose, Bishop of Gaylord, at St. Mary Cathedral in Gaylord. After his ordination, Father Zwiefka served as Presbyteral Intern for St. Mary Cathedral in Gaylord and the Associate Pastor for the parishes of St. Mary Cathedral, Holy Redeemer in Vanderbilt and St. Thomas Aquinas in Elmira. In 1985 he studied Canon Law in Rome at the Pontifical Gregorian University. After receiving his J.C.L. he served as Administrative Assistant to the Bishop for Ordinary Administration and Canonical Affairs and as Adjutant Judicial Vicar in the Tribunal. In 1988 he became the Presbyteral Moderator to the Pastoral Administrator and Sacramental Moderator for Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish in Tawas City. He was appointed Judicial Vicar of the Diocesan Tribunal on March 15, 1989 for a six-year term and was relieved as Administrative Assistant to the Bishop. His appointment as Judicial Vicar was later extended to June 30, 1996. Fr. Bill became the Pastor for St. Anthony of Padua Parish in Mancelona and Sacramental Moderator for St. Luke the Evangelist Parish in Bellaire in 1991. In 1997 he was appointed as Pastor for St. Joseph Parish in Manistee and as a Judge and Defender of the Bond in the Tribunal. In August, 2005 Fr. Bill was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and fought an inspirational and courageous battle, graciously accepting his suffering through treatments and other conditions that followed until his death. One of Fr. Bill’s favorite past-times was spending time at his Aunt Barb & Uncle Harlan’s cottage where he would entertain his priest friends and colleagues from St. Meinrad’s through his joy of cooking and the culinary arts. He also enjoyed canoeing on the Pine River and seeking peace, solace and meditation in the Federal Park. Fr. Bill loved and cherished his family. He enjoyed spending time with them and being involved with family gatherings especially during the holidays and serving as host of his family’s Labor Day reunion. Fr. Bill is survived by his mother, Pat Zwiefka of Manistee, MI; his brother Mark Zwiefka of Vicksburg, MI; several aunts and uncles; and numerous cousins. He was preceded in death by his father, grandparents, one aunt and three uncles. An Evening Vigil Service will be held at 7:00 p.m. on Sunday evening April 25, 2010 at St. Joseph Catholic Church, 241 Sixth Street, Manistee, MI. Fr. Bill will lie in state at the Church on Sunday, April 25, 2010 where the family will be present to receive friends from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. and from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. Mass from The Order of Christian Funerals will be celebrated at 11:00 a.m. on Monday, April 26, 2010 at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Manistee with Bishop Bernard Hebda as celebrant. Burial will follow in Mt. Carmel Cemetery also in Manistee. In lieu of flowers, the family has requested that those wishing to remember Fr. Bill may do so by contributing to a memorial established in his name for the Manistee Catholic Central Schools Tuition Assistance Fund. Envelopes will be available at the church on Sunday. Condolences may be sent to Fr. Bill’s mother, Pat, in care of the Catholic Community of Manistee, 254 Sixth Street, Manistee, MI 49660.Information provided by the Diocese of Gaylord on 4/21/2010.