Dudzinski was quick to point out, though, that these projects were not his vision alone. Several church committees worked to bring them to fruition.
He has led the churches through his last projects. His time in Kokomo is quickly running out. He’s in Europe right now on a pilgrimage. He will return to Kokomo next week to say his final masses at St. Joan. He begins his new job in Lafayette July 1.
It will be hard to let go.
“I’ll miss everything about this,” he said. “It will be hard not to pray with my people every day, not to be a part of their lives.”
Mawbey said Dudzinski has been a fixture in the lives of their church members for so long. She fondly recalled the dinners she invited him to at her home. He interacted so effortlessly with everyone from her children to her mother, she said.
“We’re really sad,” she said. “I don’t know what we’re going to do. It hasn’t sunk in yet.”
Dudzinski said the churches will remain strong as fathers Martin Sandhage and Mike McKinley take over.
“I feel very comfortable in leaving because we as Christians believe Jesus Christ is the true shepherd,” he said. “He will be here in our next pastors.”
Lindsey Ziliak, Tribune education reporter, can be reached at 765-454-8585 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.