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The Reverend Fr. Leo T. Lulko

March 5, 1940 May 26, 2013
The Reverend Fr. Leo T. Lulko
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Obituary for The Reverend Fr. Leo T. Lulko

Fr. Leo T. Lulko, parish priest and, for 33 years, the pastor of Church of the Holy Spirit in Highland, MI, died at his home on early Sunday morning, May 26, 2013 of a heart attack. He was 73 years old. Born on March 5, 1940 in Detroit, Fr. Leo was the son of Leo S. and Mary (Mularski) Lulko. His parents operated a market on Detroit�s East Side.

He attended parochial schools � Assumption until the 6th grade, St. Valentine for junior high, St. Agatha and St. Francis de Sales from which he graduated in 1958. Hearing the call to a priestly vocation, he studied at SS. Cyril & Methodius Seminary at Orchard Lake and then Sacred Heart Seminary in Detroit. He was ordained on June 5, 1965. His first assignment was to St. Florian parish where he preached and heard confessions in Polish as he did later at Our Lady Help of Christians, both parishes serving Detroit�s large Polish Catholic community.

In May of 1980, Fr. Leo was assigned as the second pastor at the recently organized Church of the Holy Spirit in Highland Twp. � a growing community in northwest Oakland County whose founding pastor, Fr. John Howard, had died suddenly after a few formative years.

In his more than three decades as pastor and spiritual director at Holy Spirit, making a home with his widowed mother, Mary, Fr. Leo oversaw the building of a new church and parish hall as well as a perpetual adoration chapel. Beyond the brick and mortar, his constant example of Christ�s love, his abiding faith and hope helped form a true and vibrant Christian community based on the sacraments and beatitudes and the corporal and spiritual works of mercy. His wide smile, warm hugs, easy humor and unambiguous joyousness made him a loving and beloved parish priest. Fr. Leo could never say no to people in need and gave his life in service to others. He always had a pocket full of cash to help people in need, and time to listen, empathize, console and encourage. To the un-churched, and lapsed, to non-believers and naysayers, he was the same beacon of love and kindness that he was to people of unshakeable faith. He won souls by his abundant and generous humanity, his lifelong imitation of Christ, his unshakeable faith in the power of prayer and his ability to discern the good in those who had lost sight of it in themselves. Everyone was made to feel worthy and welcome at the table of God�s mercy and forgiveness, grace and love.

When he was thirteen, Leo Lulko suffered a bout of rheumatic fever and suffered complications of heart disease in his adult life. He would not, however, lessen his duties or retire with his disability. He regarded life as a game of chance � everyday presenting new opportunities to reflect God�s love in the lives of suffering humanity. Truth told, Leo enjoyed games of chance and would often go gambling at what he called his �cathedrals� -- casinos where, if he won, he�d call his sister to tell her, and if he lost, he�d say nothing. Either way, he always seemed to enjoy himself.

One could not spend time with Fr. Leo without growing ever more certain that we are all blessed children of a loving God.

Preceded in death by his father and brother, and just last November, by his dear mother, Fr. Leo is survived by his sister, Barbara (David) VanHellemont; nieces, Debora (Steven) Marsh, Dionne (Joseph) Wetzel, Darice (James) Hoffman, Julie VanHellemont and Mary (Thomas) McCarley; nephews, David Lulko and Donald (Darla) Lulko, many great and great great nieces and nephews and a multitude of loved ones everywhere, who grieve the death of an exemplary man and give thanks to God for his ministry among them.

A Funeral Mass will be held at Church of the Holy Spirit, 3700 N. Harvey Lake Road, Highland, on Friday, May 31, at 11AM. Burial will follow at Highland Cemetery.

Visitation will be held at Church of the Holy Spirit on Wednesday, May 29, 1-8PM, with Men�s Club and Knights of Columbus prayers at 7:30PM, Thursday from 1-8PM, with Women�s Club prayers at 7:30PM, and on Friday from 9AM until the time of Mass.

Memorials may be made in his memory to Church of the Holy Spirit.

For further information please phone Lynch & Sons Funeral Directors, Milford, at 248-684-6645.

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