NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Rev. John Benson Wironen, C.S.C., 78, died at Holy Cross House, Notre Dame, Ind., on Wednesday, October 16, 2019.
Fr. Wironen was born in Leominster, Mass., on April 4, 1941 to John R. and Katherine (Benson) Wironen. He attended St. Leo's Parish Grade School in Leominster and graduated from St. Bernard's High School in Fitchburg, Mass. in 1958. In September of that year, he entered St. Joseph Hall at Notre Dame as a candidate for the Holy Cross Brothers. After his novitiate year in Jordan, Minn., he pronounced his First Vows on August 16, 1960 and returned to Notre Dame and participated in the Holy Cross Brothers formation program at Moreau Seminary. During that three-year period he served as a Sacristan of Sacred Heart Church and then as a nurse's aide at Holy Cross House.
In 1963, he was assigned to Alexian Brothers Hospital School of Nursing in Chicago. The following year he made his Final Vows on August 16, 1964, at Moreau Seminary. In July of 1966, he earned a diploma in nursing. He then received his license as a registered nurse and was assigned to Holy Cross House as director of nursing. In 1969, he was assigned to the staff of the candidate program at St. Joseph Hall and continued his nursing education at Indiana University South Bend. In 1972, he was awarded a bachelor's degree in nursing at Indiana University Medical Center in Indianapolis, and a year later he earned a master's degree in physiological nursing at the University of Washington in Seattle. In 1973, Brother John was assigned to teach nursing at the University of Portland and in 1976 he returned to Notre Dame and Moreau Seminary to study for the priesthood. After completing his theology studies at Notre Dame, he returned to Portland where he spent his deacon year at St. Elizabeth of Hungary Parish and was ordained to the priesthood in Sacred Heart Church on April 21, 1979 by Bishop Paul Waldschmidt, C.S.C.
From 1979 to 1981 Fr. Wironen was associate pastor at St. Elizabeth's and chaplain at Oregon Health Sciences University hospitals. From 1981 to 1983 he was director of the University of Portland's Salzburg Program in Austria. From 1983 to 1985 he was chaplain at Providence Portland Medical Center. From 1985 to 1987 he was pastor of St. Francis Xavier parish in Burbank, CA, and then from 1987 to 1990 he was religious superior of the Holy Cross Community in Oregon. Beginning in 1990, Fr. Wironen spent the next ten years as pastor of St. Elizabeth of Hungary parish and chaplain of Oregon Health Sciences University hospitals in Portland. In 2000, he returned to Providence Portland Medical Center where he served as chaplain until 2005. From 2005 to 2007, he served as director of the University of Portland Salzburg Program in Salzburg, Austria. From 2007 to 2011, he was pastor of Holy Cross Parish in Portland Ore., then assisted the parish from 2014 to 2017. Fr. Wironen moved to Holy Cross House in 2017.
Preceding him in death are his parents, John and Katherine Wironen. He is survived by his sister, Jane A. Geary; and brothers, James M. Wironen and Jeffrey M. Wironen.
Visitation will be from 3:30 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, October 23, 2019, at Moreau Seminary, Notre Dame, Ind., where there will be a Wake Service at 7:30 p.m. The Funeral Mass will be at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart on the Notre Dame campus on Thursday, October 24, 2019 at 9:30 a.m. Burial will be in the community cemetery at Notre Dame. Kaniewski Funeral Home, South Bend, is in charge of the arrangements.
Memorial contributions in support of the mission and ministries of the Congregation of Holy Cross can be made to: United States Province of Priests and Brothers, Office of Development, P.O. Box 765, Notre Dame, IN 46556-0765 or online at donate.holycrossusa.org.
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