Father Randy Budnar, current pastor of Holy Rosary, was ordained a catholic priest in 1988 and this year marks the silver jubilee of that occasion.
To celebrate there will be a mass at 2:00 p.m. at Holy Rosary Catholic Church in Darlington on Sunday, June 23 with a reception to follow at Bridges Restaurant and Banquet Center, also in Darlington, at 3:00 p.m.
The reception will feature speakers including the mayor of Darlington Dave Breunig. Father Randy’s parents will also be present.
Not only will this occasion be a celebration of Father Randy’s 25 years in the priesthood, but it will also be a farewell.
Father Randy was recently assigned to be pastor at St. Ann’s Catholic parish in Soughton and will soon be departing Darlington, leaving many behind who are sad to see him go.
“I’ve always felt like we’ve been really blessed to have Father Randy,” said Diane Smith-Hole, principal of the Holy Rosary Catholic School. “He’s been very supportive and involved with the students and the school and religious education programs,” she said.
Father Randy is very popular with many of the students at Holy Rosary Catholic School and many of them were actually baptized by Father Randy. “Father is cool,” said Josie Meister, who was a first grader at Holy Rosary during this past school year.
Oftentimes Father Randy has lunch with the students and joins them in having fun at recess as well. He also goes into the classrooms and conducts weekly lessons on topics like the 10 commandments and the mystery of the rosary.
“He puts his heart into his parish and cares about everyone he meets,” said Tanya Horne, kindergarten teacher at Holy Rosary.
This summer will mark 11 years that Father Randy has been at Holy Rosary in Darlington.
After being ordained, Father Randy first spent five years at St. Victor in Monroe, then served three years at St. Maria Goretti on the west side of Madison. From there he spent one year at St. John in Waunakee and two years at Sacred Hearts in Sun Prairie. Next was one year as pastor at St. Augustine in Footville then two years as pastor of St. Patrick’s in Hollandale and Immaculate Conception in Blanchardville.
From there Father Randy went to Holy Rosary in Darlington, where he has been ever since. When Father Randy was first told he had been assigned to Darlington, the bishop told him that he was going to like Darlington. “And he was right,” said Father Randy, “I do like Darlington.”
Of his silver jubilee, Father Randy said he can really see how God has been at work in the last 25 years. He said that through the years he’s been able to really appreciate people’s ability to take care of their families even with the continual time crunch and that they have the ability to see that God is important in that.
With the shortage of pastors that the priesthood has been experiencing lately, the parishes of Darlington, Seymour, Elk Grove, Truman and Calamine were combined under one priest (Father Randy) in July of 2012.
“I was very impressed with people’s willingness to work together with all of the parishes,” he said of the situation. “It is only possible because the parishioners are willing to do things,” he added.
Father Randy grew up in McFarland to parents Roland and Joyce and is the second oldest of six children: Suzanne, Linda, Jim, Lisa and Rebecca. He is also a fond uncle to his nieces and nephew.
Father Randy explained that initially he didn’t think of going into the priesthood at all. During his senior year of high school he took an interest test that gave him a list of possible career directions, one of which was the priesthood.
“I just crossed it off initially. I didn’t think I was going to be a priest,” he said with a laugh. But the idea just seemed to stay with him.
Father Randy said he continually prayed about it and talked to his own parish priest and found that the more he studied and thought about the idea, the more he thought that this was the direction and the talents that God had chosen for him.
“He just loves being a priest,” said Marge Carr, parish secretary and bookkeeper. “He’s got a positive attitude about everything and he looks for the good points in everything and everybody,” she added. “He’s a great friend and a great boss.”
Father Randy will be leaving Darlington to officially start in his new parish in Stoughton on July 13. Father John Bosco of St. Matthew’s parish in Shullsburg will be taking over the Holy Rosary parish at that time.
“I will miss Darlington, Calamine, Truman, Elk Grove and Seymour,” said Father Randy. “They have been blessings in my life. “