Msgr. DeBock celebrates 60th jubilee as priest Print E-mail
Around the Diocese
Thursday, May. 14, 2009 -- 12:00 AM
 Msgr. William DeBock
 Msgr. William DeBock

MADISON -- Msgr. William DeBock, pastor emeritus, residing at the Bishop O'Connor Center, will celebrate the 60th anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood with a Mass and reception on Sunday, May 24, at 3 p.m. at St. James Parish, Madison. All brother priests and friends are invited to attend.

Concelebrants with Monsignor DeBock will be Bishop Robert C. Morlino, Bishop William H. Bullock, Bishop George O. Wirz, Msgr. Thomas Baxter, and Msgr. Terrence Connors. Homilist will be Bishop Morlino. A reception will follow in St. James Church auditorium. All are welcome; no RSVP needed.


Monsignor DeBock, the son of Joseph C. DeBock and Celeste M. Dupon is a native of Beloit and St. Jude Parish, Beloit. He attended elementary school at Brother Dutton School, Beloit; minor seminary at St. Francis Minor Seminary, Milwaukee; and theological college at Catholic University, Washington, D.C.

He was ordained May 28, 1949, by Bishop William P. O'Connor at St. Raphael Cathedral, Madison.

He served as parochial vicar at St. Mary Parish, Platteville; St. Mary Parish, Portage; St. John the Baptist Parish, Waunakee; and Our Lady Queen of Peace Parish, Madison. He served as pastor at St. Olaf Parish, DeForest, and mission of St. Thomas Parish, Poynette; Holy Redeemer Parish, Madison; St. James Parish, Madison; and St. Joseph Parish, East Bristol.

Monsignor DeBock was on the Matrimonial Tribunal,  Dean of the Madison Deanery and the East Dane Deanery; on the Priest Senate, the Personnel Board as a diocesan consultor, and the St. Raphael Priest Retirement Fund.

Reflection on priesthood

He offered the following reflections on his priesthood:

"As I look back on the 60 years of my priesthood, I can only say that I am amazed at the Providence of God. He chooses as He wills and never lets go of those He chooses," Monsignor DeBock said.

"My call to priesthood certainly had its background in the lives of my parents, Joe and Celeste, natives of East Flanders in Belgium. Their sound, loyal love of God and the Catholic Church, their deep respect for priests, were part of the air I breathed in my younger years.

"The kindness, the example of priestly life, one of serving the people and the kids of the parish, of being involved in civic and public affairs, shown by my gentle and learned pastor, Msgr. Joseph Hanz, and his associates, especially Fr. Dave Ryan, were the main reasons I felt drawn to their kind of life. The Sisters of St. Agnes who taught me for nine years in Brother Dutton School were another source of inspiration to me for a life of spiritual service.

"From the day I entered St. Francis Minor Seminary in Milwaukee in the fall of 1938, I would constantly be in the presence, with few exceptions, of good priests until my ordination -- the last seven years under the Sulpician Fathers at Catholic University in Washington, D.C. Upon beginning my ministry in June of 1949, I was blessed from the start by living and working with some great priests and experiencing the Catholic faith and values of the parishioners I served.

Second Vatican Council

"The Second Vatican Council was the occasion for far-reaching changes in the liturgy, in the sharing of the apostolate with the laity, in new parish structures, in the sense of an 'updating' of the Church," Monsignor DeBock commented.

"Over time some of the interpretations of Council documents led to results that strayed from the intent of John XXIII and Paul VI and the Council Fathers. But under the leadership of John Paul II and our present Holy Father, Benedict XVI, it appears that the bark of Peter is being righted and put back on course. It seems to me that the future, despite the many problems afflicting the Church today, is one of hope and positive growth. The spirit of many of our young people offers great promise.

"To sum it all up -- my life as a priest is God's gift, the influence of solidly Catholic people, priests, and Sisters. There have been challenges, dark periods, times of suffering, but the Lord never allowed me to be tempted beyond what I could bear with the help of His grace. After these 60 years I can only say: Deo Gratias; and thank you and God's blessings to all the people who were part of my life."

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