Monsignor Dewane: “Driven by the Holy Spirit”

“If you look forward in your life, you don’t know where it’s going to take you.  When it comes along, you deal with it at the time.  My life has been driven by the Holy Spirit.  I see it as the hands of God at work.” – Rev. Monsignor John Bernard Dewane

Rev. Monsignor John Bernard Dewane, a Catholic Foundation board member emeritus, devout pastor, and diocesan administrator, passed away on February 15, 2024, at the age of 89.  His leadership was driven by the Holy Spirit.  He brought Jesus to hundreds through his diocesan work and played an important part in the beginning years of the Catholic Foundation.

When the Catholic Foundation was established in 1997, Msgr. Dewane was one of the founding board members who helped the Foundation in its early years.  His dedication to Catholic causes and the mission of the Church helped the Foundation get to where it is today.  We are grateful for his dedication and service, and it is clear the Holy Spirit was at work through Msgr. Dewane as he supported the Foundation.

“You could just feel His love of the Lord when you talked to Msgr. Dewane,” shared Cindi Brawner, former Executive Director for the Catholic Foundation. “He was committed to the Foundation’s mission.  His faithful service helped the Foundation become the organization it is today.  I am grateful to have received Msgr. Dewane’s support for so many years.”

In addition to helping the Foundation, Msgr. Dewane shared Jesus with people through his roles as a pastor and administrator in the Diocese of Green Bay.  He was a pastor at several parishes, including St. Mary Parish in Menasha, Nativity of Our Lord Parish in Ashwaubenon, and more.  He served as an administrator for Lourdes Academy in Oshkosh and Catholic Central High School in Marinette, giving our youth a faith-filled education that placed Jesus at the center.  His dedication to Catholic parishes and schools made him a respected and recognized leader in the Diocese.

After serving parishes and schools for twenty-five years, Msgr. Dewane worked in administration for the Diocese of Green Bay.  He was made the vicar of priests in 1988, and Msgr. Dewane went on to become the vicar for administration, vicar general, and moderator of the diocesan Curia for fourteen years.

Throughout his time serving the Church in northeastern Wisconsin, Msgr. Dewane lived one day at a time, allowing the Holy Spirit to work through him and help him bring Jesus to more people.  We thank God for the gift of his leadership and life.  Msgr. Dewane was truly “driven by the Holy Spirit,” and his faith-filled legacy will continue to live on in the Diocese of Green Bay for years to come.

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