Saying Goodbye
By Luke Bader

Retirement Party, Sunday, June 25 from 2–4 PM at St. A

After three years being a part of the Jesup community and 51 years in the priesthood, the time has come for Monsignor Lyle Wilgenbusch of St. Athanasius parish to say goodbye. On July 11, he will be saying his final goodbyes as he enters retirement. Even though he will be moving on, many of Jesup’s citizens will remember him fondly for the work he has done in the community.

Over the years, Msgr. Wilgenbusch has gotten to know many of the Church’s parishioners on a personal level, acting as a priest, confidant, advisor, and friend. He has encouraged many people to become involved with the parish council and events. One thing Msgr. Wilgenbusch has noticed about St. Athanasius is that it is not an “old church.” During his time here, he has witnessed more and more younger people and families attending Mass, which he was very happy to see. Of course, with each of these new members of the church, Msgr. Wilgenbusch has made an effort to get to know them, welcome them and invite them to be involved in parish activities.

After he leaves Saint Athanasius in July, Msgr. Wilgenbusch plans to go up to Alaska with a friend and enjoy his time off. While he may be retiring, there will always be work to be done. Retired priests will often take chaplaincy jobs at places such as convents.

According to Msgr. Wilgenbusch, the new priest for St. Athanasius will be Fr. Jeff Dole, who was previously at Dyersville, IA.

Some Personal History

Msgr. Wilgenbusch has served as a priest for the Diocese of Dubuque in Northeast Iowa for over 51 years.

Lyle Wilgenbusch knew from an early age that he was interested in the priesthood. Growing up in Dubuque, IA, he was never far from his local parish located across the street from where he lived above his father’s shop, in his family’s apartment.

“The local priests were in my dad’s barber shop all the time...They were buddies of ours,” said Msgr. Wilgenbusch as he recalled what influenced him to enter the priesthood.

After high school at the local boys’ academy, Lyle Wilgenbusch studied at Loras College to earn his Master’s degree in theology. Following his graduation, he continued his education at seminary school in Dubuque where he would prepare to enter the priesthood. Finally, after years of study and hard work, Father Wilgenbusch was ordained on June 4, 1966 at St. Raphael Cathedral in Dubuque, IA.

A few weeks later, the new priest went off to his first assignment in Bellevue, IA as a summer fill-in (due to the large number of priests at the time, there was no immediate position for him to be stationed anywhere full time).
Following this position, Father Wilgenbusch would go on to move around four more times within the first fifteen months of being ordained. Later he earned his Master’s degree in Religious Education at the Catholic University of America in Washington D.C. and would go on to teach theology to high school students at both Wahlert Catholic High School in Dubuque for eight years and Regis Catholic High School for nine years.
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