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Enter: Reverend Monsignor Michael F. Kosak, P.A.

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of the virgin islands
in the house of representatives

Wednesday, December 3, 2014


Mrs. CHRISTENSEN. Mr. Speaker, I rise to pay tribute to an outstanding leader from my congressional district in the U.S. Virgin Islands, the Reverend Monsignor Michael F. Kosak, a Roman Catholic Priest, for his many contributions to St. Croix and the Virgin Islands community over 44 years.

Born in Brooklyn, New York on December 7, 1938, the first-born child of Michael and Rose Marnick Kosak, Monsignor Kosak graduated from high school in 1956 and enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps in 1957, serving for several years before beginning his religious studies. In 1966, Monsignor Kosak earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in philosophy from St Mary's College in St. Mary, Kentucky and his Masters in Divinity from St Mary's Seminary and the University of Baltimore, Maryland in 1970.

On June 6, 1970, Monsignor Kosak was ordained as a Roman Catholic Priest for the Prelature of the Virgin Islands by the Most Reverend Edward J. Harper, Bishop of the Virgin Islands at the Basilica of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Brooklyn, New York. That same year on July 26, Monsignor Kosak became pastor of St. Ann's Church, Barrenspot Hill, St. Croix, Virgin Islands and was appointed Director of Vocations in 1970; Director of Charismatic Renewal in 1977; Director of the Office of the Permanent Diaconate in 1981; Director of Communications in 1982; Dean in 1985; and Episcopal Vicar, St. Croix, a position he held until 1987. Monsignor Kosak was appointed to the position of Vicar General of the Diocese on July 30, 1987, and the title of Monsignor was conferred upon him by the Most Reverend Sean O'Malley on March 13, 1989.

Mr. Speaker, through Monsignor Kosak's ministry at St Ann's Church, it grew in stature from a simply country chapel to a significant parish in the community, which offers Christian education classes to children who attend public and private schools in order that they may receive the sacraments. He has always encouraged the training and involvement of youth in the music ministry of the church. As spiritual director at the St. Joseph High School, Monsignor Kosak, was instrumental in obtaining summer youth programs at St. Joseph's in the early 1970s for the youth of the St. Croix community. He presented evangelical seminars to the churches, first in St. Croix and then in St. Thomas and St. John, the impact of which spread to every island in the Caribbean and, since 1982, to Ghana, Uganda, Botswana, Kenya and Zimbabwe.

After Monsignor Kosak was appointed Pastor of Sts. Peter & Paul Cathedral, St. Thomas, Virgin Islands on May 16, 1989, he performed spiritual director service in Trinidad and in Malta from 1990 to 1991; He was again appointed Pastor of Sts. Peter & Paul Cathedral on August 1, 1992. During the 1990s, Monsignor Kosak oversaw the renovations of the Cathedral which included preserving precious works of art that dated back to the 19th century.

On October 1, 1995, Monsignor Kosak was appointed Pastor of St Ann's Church, where he began major construction of the Sts. Joachim & Ann Church and the renovation of the sugar mill into the Shrine of Our Lady of Barrenspot. Other major construction of the Marian Hall, the paving of new roads and the parking lot, as well as the beautification of the 9.5 acres of parish property at St. Ann's commenced from 1999 to 2007. Always one to continue the path of education and spirituality, Monsignor Kosak took a sabbatical at North American College in Rome 2000 and took a spirituality course at Angelicum, Rome in 2004. The Most Reverend Bishop George Murry appointed him as Vicar General on August 15, 2005 and following Bishop Murry's transfer, Monsignor Kosak was elected Diocesan Administrator.

Mr. Speaker, in January 2008, Monsignor Kosak published his memoir titled, ``Journey of a Homeboy,'' which chronicles his life's journey from his time at a home for boys in Brooklyn to the tropical breezes of the Virgin Islands. He writes of serving as pastor during life-altering events to include the destruction of Hurricane Hugo in 1989 and Hurricane Marilyn in 1995 and spiritual experiences along the way, including a mountaintop experience at Mt. St. Benedict in Trinidad on January 6, 1977 that lit the shepherd on fire and there was no turning back in his ministry.

Mr. Speaker, Monsignor Kosak celebrated his 40th anniversary as an ordained priest on June 6, 2010 and later that year, the Holy Father conferred upon him the papal honor of Prothonotary Apostolic, which is dated July 12, 2010 at the Vatican. From June 2012 to December 2013, Monsignor Kosak served as Editor of the Catholic Islander, the Diocesan Monthly Magazine.

Monsignor Kosak retired as pastor of St. Ann's Catholic Church on August 31, 2014 and is now Pastor Emeritus of St. Ann Barrenspot. Monsignor Kosak will remain active as a Diocesan Consulter to The Most Reverend Herbert Brevard, Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of St. Thomas to assist him in matters concerning health care, property insurance and pension issues in the diocese. At the conclusion of his memoir, Monsignor Kosak wrote, ``God isn't finished with me yet and I ask your prayerful support so that this `homeboy' will always be a faithful disciple of the Holy Spirit.''

Mr. Speaker, Monsignor Kosak has served his country and my constituency well and on behalf of the people of the U.S. Virgin Islands and a grateful flock, I wish ``Father Mike'' continued success and on behalf of the Congress of the United States, thank him for his long, dedicated and bountiful service to the parish of Sts. Ann and Joachim, the community of St. Croix and the Diocese of St. Thomas. May God continue to richly bless him with good health and many more years in service to the Almighty God