The Reverend Monsignor Matthew George Malnar of La Crosse, WI passed away on Saturday, February 6, 2021 at Mayo Clinic Health System in Sparta, WI. Due to COVID-19, a private Mass of Christian Burial will take place at Holy Family Catholic Church, in Willard, WI on Friday, February 12, 2021 at 11am with private visitation one hour prior to the Mass. The service will be recorded and uploaded on the church website (www.stanthonyloyal.org) for the public to view. Burial will take place in St. Mary’s Cemetery in Greenwood, WI. The Most Reverend William Patrick Callahan, Bishop of the Diocese of La Crosse will be celebrant of the funeral rites.
Monsignor Malnar was born on April 3, 1935 in Chicago, IL, the son of Matt and Mary (Briski) Malnar. When he was a year old, his parents moved to Willard, WI, where he attended grade school, graduating from the Willard State Graded School in 1948 with a special honor diploma. He subsequently attended the Greenwood High School, from which he graduated as Valedictorian in 1952. As a professional student, he attended nineteen colleges, seminaries, and universities, both in the United States and in Europe. He earned eight degrees, including three Bachelor, three Master, one Licentiate, and one Doctorate. He was functional in seven languages and possessed dual-citizenship, both United States and Croatian. As a world traveler, he visited all 50 States in the United States and 43 other countries.
On May 28, 1966 he was ordained a Catholic priest at the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist, Milwaukee, by the Most Reverend William E. Cousins, Archbishop of Milwaukee. He served in the Dioceses of Amarillo, Texas and La Crosse, Wisconsin. On June 22, 1972 he entered the Chaplaincy of the United States Air Force, where he served at bases in Illinois, Thailand, Maine, Turkey, Minnesota, Germany, Texas, and South Dakota. During his military service in Germany, he taught at three Air Force bases. He retired with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel on July 1, 1992, and then went to Rome to study Canon Law. As a priest, he was an assistant pastor, a Newman Club chaplain, a high school teacher, a hospital and nursing home chaplain, a grade school principal, a military chaplain, a canon lawyer, a historian, a psychologist, and a college and seminary professor. He also served as a contract chaplain at Fort McCoy Army Post for three years.
He was member of the Third Order of Carmel, the Schoenstatt Movement, the Fourth Degree Knights of Columbus Council 839, the Marian Movement of Priests, the World Apostolate of Fatima, the Work of the Holy Angels, the American Legion Roy L. Vingers Post No. 52 of La Crosse, Wisconsin, the Croatian Fraternal Union of America, the Slovenian Druzba, the Slovenian Union of America, the Canon Law Society of America, and the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem, where he held the rank of Knight Commander. He was named a Prelate of Honor (Monsignor) by Pope John Paul II on September 24, 1992.
Monsignor Malnar is survived by five nieces and nephews, as well as great, great-great and great-great-great nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his parents, his sisters Rose Krultz and Dolores Zukowski, two nieces Roseanne and Annette Zukowski, and two nephews Robert Krultz and Michael Krultz.
In lieu of flowers, mass offerings for the repose of his soul will be appreciated.