Rev. Donald Ulatowski, Longtime Priest
By Lolly Bowean
July 6, 1999
Rev. Donald Francis Ulatowski knew early on he wanted to be a priest.
"He decided to try it and it turned out he liked it," said Michael Goc, a longtime friend. Father Ulatowski attended Quigley Preparatory Seminary, a high school for young men thinking about pursuing the priesthood.
After finishing, he went to St. Mary of the Lake Seminary in Mundelein. He was ordained a priest of the Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago in May 1956. He immediately began working as an assistant pastor at St. Francis of Assisi in Chicago. There he said mass regularly, listened to confessions and worked with people of all ages.
"He often said he was happiest working in a parish in a neighborhood," Goc said.
Father Ulatowski, 68, died Wednesday in St. Joseph's Hospital in Marshfield, Wis. from a bacterial infection.
He was born in Chicago and baptized at Immaculate Conception Church on the Southeast Side.
In the 1960s, Father Ulatowski began working at St. Jane de Chantal as an assistant pastor. At that time the Catholic Church was going through the Vatican II reforms, which ended the use of Latin and introduced English. "He was a leader in his parish in implementing those changes and making them very meaningful to the people," Goc said. "He did it by bringing people in and making them a part of it."
Father Ulatowski also worked as an assistant at Immaculate Conception and at St. Dismas, both in Waukegan. He spent a short time at St. Gilbert in Grayslake. In the early 1980s, he returned to St. Francis of Assisi as the pastor. He later became the pastor at St. Maria Goretti in Schiller Park, which is where he ended his career.
During his time in the church, Father Ulatowski was noted for his wonderful singing voice and his dedication. "He was a wonderful musician," Goc said. "There were always wonderful choirs at any church that he served at." Father Ulatowski was named after St. Francis, the patron saint of wildlife. "For Don that was very important to him," Goc said. "He loved being in the outdoors and actually seeing God through nature."
"He was very much a man of the people, open to everyone," Goc added. "Willing to help people be better people."
Father Ulatowski is survived by an aunt, Sister Ethelreda Zalewski,; a nephew, George; a grand niece, Caitlyn; many cousins and friends. Visitation is from 2 until 9 p.m. Tuesday at St. Maria Goretti Church, 10050 Ivanhoe Ave., Schiller Park. A service is 7 p.m. on Tuesday at St. Maria Goretti. Mass is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday in the church.
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