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On June 19th 1970, Fr Tom Puzio was ordained to the priesthood for the
Archdiocese of Detroit. This June he finishes his fiftieth year of priestly service to
the Archdiocese of Detroit. In 1980 Fr Puzio became the Chaplain of the Fr.
Saylor Knights of Columbus Council #3774, Allen Park Michigan. Thus he has
just completed 40 years of service to our Council. So this June we celebrate a
double anniversary of service as priest and as our beloved Chaplain.
His record of service is exemplary, St Philomena (Detroit) Associate (1970-73), St.
Frances Cabrini (Allen Park) Associate (1974-78), St Mary (St. Clair) Associate
(1978-79), Our Lady of Mount Carmel (Wyandotte) Associate 1979-83), St.
Andrew (Detroit) Pastor (1983-87), St Louise (Warren) Administrator (1987), St
Christopher (Detroit) Pastor (1987-89), Shrine of the Little Flower (Royal Oak)
Associate (1989-92), St Dorothy (Warren) Pastor (1992-2010), Our Lady Queen of
Heaven (Detroit) Pastor (2010-14), Senior Priest (2014-Present). But a lot of it is
just a life of service, in the four corners of the Archdiocese and in the parishes of
its core in Detroit. Saying mass, presiding at funerals, hosting first communions
may be unspectacular but mean so much to the parishioners you serve. You never got to be a pastor of one of
the big, affluent churches of the Archdiocese or bear the title of Monsignor or Bishop or Rector but you were
one of the priests that are the “Boots On The Ground” of the Catholic Church. You are the under-recognized
and under-honored heart and soul of the Church.
You were so much more to us here at Fr. Saylor. Usually in the Knights of Columbus, Chaplain is honorific.
You find a priest that is willing to be listed as one. He goes at the top of the masthead, and you see him maybe
once a year or even more rarely twice a year, at Installation of Officers or at the Memorial Mass. In this
reporter’s experience, I have never seen a Chaplain show up regularly for the meetings of a Council and act in
a real pastoral mode and certainly not for decade upon decade. Fr. Saylor #3774 is arguably the best Council
in the state of Michigan. If this is true, it is only because of one guiding hand over 40 years and that guiding
hand is Fr. Puzio’s. Good Grand Knights serve a two year term and then move on. A generation (the Greatest,
the Boomers, the GenXers) will lead a Council for a decade or two, and then move on. But Fr. Puzio has
stewarded Fr. Saylor through 3 generational changes. In the North Central US I believe that record is unique.
Fr Puzio was the honoree of our 65th Anniversary Dinner. Now in June, we will honor him even more. He is
the heart and soul of our Council.