Bio: Novak, Rev. Father John J.
Contact: Stan

----Source: Greenwood Gleaner Clips found in Greenwood Library Scrapbook, Census Records, George Plautz & Crystal Wendt

Surnames: Novak


Reverend Father John J. Novak

Greenwood, Clark Co., Wisconsin


        Rev. J. J. Novak in 1937



Father John Novak came in the fall of 1918 as the permanent pastor and remained for 15 years.


In 1933 Father Novak left Willard. 


Father John Novak moved into the parish in Abbotsford, WI May 1933 and remained for three and one-half years.


The Franciscan Fathers of Lemont Illinois (Slovene Franciscan Commissariat of the Holy Cross) accepted care of the parish.  He is buried in the Holy Family Catholic Cemetery, Hendren Twp., Wis.


Father J. J. Novak belonged to the prestigious Greenwood Commercial Club and was a committee member for the Banquet held in honor of the unveiling of the Peace Monument given to the city by Ernest Durig in 1937.  He was also one of the area residents who had a bust made by the artist.  J. J. Novak of Willard also served as vacancy pastor at St. Mary's in Greenwood, WI.


News Clips


Rev. J. Novak Resigns From St. Maryís Church

On Sunday evening, April 22, 1951, at St. Maryís Church hall was packed to overflowing with parishioners and visitors to take part in farewell ceremonies in honor of Rev. J. Novak, who is leaving this week.

The program started with two songs by the upper grades of St. Maryís school and presentation of a Spiritual Bouquet from the school children. Oliver Kesler, secretary of the Holy Name Society, serving as master of ceremonies, introduced the visiting clergy, namely the Very Rev. Father Keinhofer, Dorchester, Dean of this Deanery; Father Bornbach, Owen; Father Leo, Spencer; Father Pritzl, Neilsville; Father Beschta, Colby;
Father Schultz, Abbotsford; Father King, Loyal and Father Augustine, Willard.

The point that was brought out most forceably in the addresses were the sacrificing life of the priesthood. A priestís life is made up of the joys and sorrows of his whole congregation and because of this great burden, a priest can carry on only because of the Grace of God. Charity and Sacrifice are vital to this work and Father Novak was blessed with an abundant share of each.

A purse of money was presented to Father Novak, in his acceptance speech, Father Novak, thanks most sincerely everyone in the parish for all the kindnesses shown him during these past fourteen years, which helped to make his life just a little bit easier and happier.

The program closed with two songs by the Denk brothers, Gerald, Leonard and William Jr. Lunch was served by the ladies and was followed by a social hour.

Rev. Father John J. Novak

Father John J. Novak was born in Jugoslavia in 1883. He attended grade school and graduated from a college in Ljubljana, Jugoslavia and came to the St. Paul Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota, in 1904. He was ordained on December 8, 1906 by the Most. Rev. John Stariha at Lead, South Dakota. For two years he assisted at the Lead Cathedral. From there he went to Tripp County, South Dakota, where he had charge of twelve missions.

In 1914 he made a trip to Europe and upon his return entered the Catholic University at Washington, DC, where he studied Sociology for one year under the famous professor, Dr. John Ryan.

In 1917 he came to Willard where one of his great accomplishments was to construct a parish house and a social hall. In 1933, Father Novak too charge of St. Bernardís congregation at Abbotsford where he remained until 1936, when he came to Greenwood.

The past fourteen years he labored faithfully in a growing congregation. He saw the school attendance rise from 74 pupils in 1940 to 114 pupils in 1950. For the past two years he labored struggling with the problem of a new school to meet the growing attendance. Finally, in February 1951, the plans and hopes were nearing realization with the letting of the general contract, on a stipulated fee, plus materials.

In the meantime, Father Novakís health began to fail, hence he asked his Bishop for a leave of absence until he recovered. This leave of absence was granted to him by his Excellency The Most Rev. John P. Tracy, Bishop of La Crosse.

Source: Clipping from the Scrapbook of Mrs. Frances Plautz, probably printed in the Greenwood Gleaner in 1951.



1930 Census, Wisconsin, Clark County, Hendren


Novak, Rev. John J. (head) born 1884, birth place Yugoslavia, single, immigration year 1904, occupation clergyman, Catholic Church


1920 Census Wisconsin, Clark County, Hendren


Novak, J. J. (head) , single, birth place, occupation Clergyman, church

Living in the household of Kobal, Frank





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