(5/2/13) The La Crosse Catholic Diocese will try to get the Vatican to name a late former central Wisconsin priest as a saint.
If canonized, Father Joe Walijewski would become only the fourth saint born in the U-S, and the 11th from North America. Walijewski founded an orphanage in Peru, and he created parishes in Bolivia. He also served in a number of Catholic parishes in central Wisconsin in places like Stevens Point, Mosinee, Thorp, and Almond. Walijewski died in 2006 at age 82. Yesterday, about 250 people attended a service in La Crosse to honor him, and to kick off the campaign to pursue sainthood. The regional church has formed a panel of priests and lay people to round up facts about Walijewski's life. They'll collect documents and interview a host of acquaintances – and they'll present their package to Catholic officials in Rome for their consideration.