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Popular Norwalk Pastor Dies Suddenly

Msgr. Walter C. Orlowski
Msgr. Walter C. Orlowski Photo Credit: Catholic Diocese of Bridgeport

A beloved longtime Fairfield County pastor died suddenly this week at the age of 68.

Msgr. Walter C. Orlowski, the pastor of St. Matthew Parish in Norwalk, died Monday, Dec. 21, in Bridgeport, announced the Catholic Diocese of Bridgeport. 

“It is with a deep sense of sadness and of profound loss that we announce the passing of Msgr. Walter Orlowski, beloved pastor of St. Matthew Parish. His passing is an even more difficult Cross to bear for his parish family and all those who loved him, coming as it has just a few days before Christmas,” said Bishop Frank J. Caggiano.

A Bridgeport native, Orlowski graduated from Bullard Havens Technical School in Bridgeport and Saint Thomas Seminary in Bloomfield. 

He completed his seminary studies at Saint Mary’s Seminary, Emmitsburg, Maryland, and was ordained in 1979.

His first assignment was as parochial vicar at Saint Augustine Cathedral in Bridgeport. In 1984, he was named parochial vicar of Saint Mary Parish in Bethel, serving as temporary administrator of that parish in 1989. The following year he was assigned to Saint Luke Parish in Westport, before coming pastor of Saint Matthew’s in 1994.

In July 1994, he was named the fourth pastor of St. Matthew Parish in Norwalk where officials said he brought great enthusiasm and energy to his ministry. 

Under his leadership, on September 29, 1995, the groundbreaking for the new Parish Center became a reality with a Mass of Celebration officiated by Most Rev. Bishop Edward M. Egan.

On the occasion of his 40th anniversary as a priest, Msgr. Orlowski addressed the congregation during his homily for the Mass of Thanksgiving. 

 On that day, priests, religious, dignitaries, and five generations of parishioners packed the church. The procession into church included representatives from the 1,016 baptized by Orlowski while at St. Matthew, 2,252 First Communicants, 1,599 young adults he prepared for confirmation, and 407 couples who received the Sacrament of Matrimony.

Orlowski served as a member of the Priests’ Council and the College of Consulters, Dean of Deanery G, Mary, Mother of Divine Grace. He also served as priest president of the board of All Saints Catholic School in Norwalk, and as a board member of Elderhouse of Norwalk.

Plans for his funeral have not been released at this time. 

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