Genoa Parish Celebrates 50th Year in Church
By Pat Szpekowski, Observer Correspondent
September 19, 2019
GENOA—St. Catherine of Genoa Parish has experienced numerous locations and challenges since its humble beginnings as a mission church in 1912, and well before, in this farmland community. 
With sacrifices by former pastors, priests and parishioners, the parish has been filled with God’s immeasurable graces over the years resulting in its prosperity and growth.
Over 300 parishioners celebrated the 50th anniversary of the building of the parish’s modern circular church with its center altar and award-winning architecture on Sept 15, here, during a Mass celebrated by Bishop David Malloy.
The bishop was joined by Father Francis Wawryszuk, pastor; Father Darwin Flores, Hispanic ministry; and assisted by Deacons Bill Stankevitz and Greg Urban. 
This date also signified the death of St. Catherine of Genoa, for whom the parish is named, in 1510 in Italy.
It was indeed a celebration of God’s goodness when looking back at the church building’s history when it was opened 50 years ago.
“A place like this means so much for the eternity that awaits us,” said Bishop Malloy. 
He asked parishioners how many made their first Communion and confirmation in the church and how many were married there, too. 
“I am so happy to see that so many of you have received the sacraments here,” he said, seeing so many raised hands. 
“Let us also pray for everyone before us who sacrificed to build this church,” he added. “We have a connection with them when we get to heaven.”
Bishop Malloy said an important part of the parish is “getting together, like you will do after Mass. An important element of faith is rubbing shoulders and being with others.”
“We love our parish and all of our parishioners are like family,” said Carol Engel, who with her husband Frank have been members of St. Catherine of Genoa Parish for 48 years. 
“When we moved here from Hampshire,” she said, “all of our three children made their first Communion here.”
Beverly Buda, who has been a parishioner for 20 years, said, “I really love the crucifix that rests above the altar.”
Following Mass, a dinner reception was held in the parish hall. The room was filled with tables decorated with flowers, tableware, bright white linens and napkins, anonymously donated by a parish member. 
Parish volunteers, including June Stott Kubasiak, were busy serving food and wine and assisting diners. 
“I am so thankful for this parish,” said Kubasiak, who converted to the Catholic faith upon her marriage to husband Steve. She previously was a member of the Methodist church located directly across the street. 
Among the many volunteers were Kubasiak’s sister, LuAnn Dreska, also a convert to the Catholic faith, and her sister-in-law Mary Johnson, who oversees the parish building and grounds.
The church and its large parish complex was built in 1967 for $1 million raised with the support of parish members.
However, the opening of the church was delayed until 1969 when state inspectors ruled that the sewer system did not meet building standards. 
The extra costs incurred during that time were met with the establishment and help of the Diocesan Investment and Loan Department (DIAL) under the leadership of the late Bishops Arthur J. O’Neill and Thomas G. Doran.  
That program coupled with the sacrificial giving by parishioners over the years, and a bequest from the estate of Jane and Kathleen Coffey, sisters who were loyal parishioners during their lifetimes, helped the parish erase its debt in 1997