SS. Cyril and Methodius Seminary mourns loss of two faithful priests

Longtime educators, formators Fr. Louis Madey and Canon Stanislaw Flis were ‘always available’ to Polish-American seminary students, staff
ORCHARD LAKE — The community at SS. Cyril and Methodius Seminary are in mourning following the recent passing of longtime educators Fr. Louis Madey, 76, and Canon Stanisław Flis, 75, in close succession.

Vice-rector Fr. Przemyslaw J. Nowak expressed his sadness at the passing of both priests and the void that their deaths will leave with the seminary.

“I have a lot of respect for them, how they lived out their priesthood, how they were faithful; faithful to prayers, and always serving the people even on the weekends,” Fr. Nowak said. “They were always available.”

Fr. Louis Madey (April 4, 1944-Dec. 22, 2020)

After suffering for many years from a long-term pulmonary illness, Fr. Madey passed away peacefully on Dec. 22.

Fr. Madey was born near Lublin in eastern Poland in 1944. He earned his degrees from the Catholic University of Lublin and earned double doctorates in philosophy and theology. He was ordained at the Metropolitan Cathedral of St. John the Baptist in Lublin, Poland, on June 16, 1968. He came to the United States in 1977 and was incardinated to the Diocese of Lansing.

Fr. Madey served as a chaplain to the U.S. Marine Corps for eight years and also as the academic chaplain at Regis University, the University of Calgary, and Eastern Michigan University, and as a pastor of St. Joseph Church in Jackson, Mich.

In addition, he taught theology and philosophy at Ave Maria University in Florida, Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit, and SS. Cyril and Methodius Seminary in Orchard Lake. While at Sacred Heart from 2001-03, he briefly served as associate dean of formation. At SS. Cyril and Methodius, where he served from 2006 until his death, he took on the role of vice rector and dean of formation.

Fr. Madey was diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis in 2017 and retired from active ministry, although he remained an adjunct professor at SS. Cyril and Methodius, finishing his last semester of teaching just a week before he died.

Despite serving as a priest of the Diocese of Lansing for much of his priesthood, Fr. Madey remained connected to the Archdiocese of Lubin. On Sept. 29, 2019, he marked the 50th anniversary of his priestly formation at the Archdiocesan Shrine of St. John Paul II in Orchard Lake. At the time, the secretary-general of the Conference of Catholic Bishops in Poland, Bishop Artur Miziński, installed Fr. Madey as honorary canon of the Archdiocese of Lublin, Poland.

Fr. Madey will be remembered for his joy, often repeating the phrase, “Keep smiling! Don’t worry, keep smiling.”

Fr. Nowak said many on campus were inspired by Fr. Madey’s perseverance throughout his priesthood, especially after his diagnosis, his stamina of service, and for his “redemptive suffering.”

“In spite of being diagnosed with the sickness, he continued on and he embraced it, and he didn’t complain but always remained active, joyful, persevering, and patient,” Fr. Nowak said.

Fr. Madey will be laid to rest at St. John Cemetery in Davison. His funeral Mass was held Wednesday, Jan. 6, at St. John the Evangelist there. A requiem Mass in celebration of Fr. Madey’s life will be held Friday, Jan. 8, at 7 p.m., at the Archdiocesan Shrine of St. John Paul II in Orchard Lake.

Memorial contributions can be made in Fr. Louis Madey’s name to SS. Cyril and Methodius Seminary.

Canon Stanislaw Flis (July 31, 1945-Jan. 2, 2021)

Canon Stanislaw Flis passed away on Jan. 2 after 52 years of service, 33 of which were spent serving the Orchard Lake Schools.

Canon Flis was born in Dzwola near Janów Lubelski in Eastern Poland in 1945. He attended the Higher Theological Seminary in Lublin from 1963-69. He graduated with a master of science in theology and was ordained to the priesthood on June 17, 1969.

Canon Flis served as a vicar in the Archdiocese of Lublin until 1971, when he was sent to postgraduate studies at the Catholic University of Lublin. He continued to serve in Poland until 1986, when he was sent to work at SS. Cyril and Methodius Seminary.

Canon Flis served in several capacities over the years at SS. Cyril and Methodius, including as director of recruitment and admission of Polish students (1986-2005), director of the Polish-American Liturgical Center and director of Polish American Central Archives (2009-2019), for which he was awarded the Skowyrów (Lublin Nobel Prize) by the Catholic University of Lublin for outstanding contributions to the preservation of the heritage of the Polish diaspora and the Polish Apostolate in the United States.

Canon Flis chose not to retire and continued to work full-time in the seminary until his passing.

“His service as a priest was inspiring. He could have retired earlier, but he still kept working,” Fr. Nowak said. “I am grateful that I came to know him.”

Fr. Nowak said Canon Flis was particularly devoted to the rosary, and could often be seen walking on campus grounds with a rosary in hand.

“He was a very spiritual man, very devoted to the sacraments of the Church,” Fr. Nowak said.

According to Fr. Nowak, “everything is summarized in this ministry. It is sometimes very difficult and requires great sacrifice, almost to the cross of Christ, but it is always beautiful and joyful. The way with Jesus, even to Calvary, is the essence of priestly service for him.”

A funeral Mass for Canon Flis will be held on Saturday, Jan. 23, at 11 a.m., at the Archdiocesan Shrine of St. John Paul II in Orchard Lake, with a viewing an hour before. Canon Flis will be laid to rest at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in Southfield.

Memorial contributions can be made in Canon Flis’ name to SS. Cyril and Methodius Seminary.

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