Rev. Wayne Joseph Barta

Rev. Wayne Joseph Barta, a faithful and beloved priest of the Milwaukee Archdiocese, has died.

Father Barta, who served in the priesthood of Jesus Christ for 47 years, passed into eternity on April 11, 2007 at the age of 72. He left this life, but not our hearts.

Born the first of three children to Clarence and Alice (nee Dettlaff) Barta on June 10, 1934, he attended St. Veronica Grade School in Milwaukee.

There at the tender age of 10, he heard the first whisperings of Jesus calling him to the priesthood.

In 1948 he entered St. Francis De Sales Minor Seminary where he earned a degree in philosophy.

On May 28, 1960 he was ordained at St. Johnís Cathedral in Milwaukee by the late Archbishop William E. Cousins.

A giant of a man with a heart as big as his shoulders, Father Barta went forth to serve the people of God with fidelity. As a newly ordained priest he was assigned as assistant at Sts. Cyril and Methodius in Milwaukee.

There he served as the district moderator for the religious education program of Southeastern Milwaukee County.

From 1963 to 1980 Father Barta served as an assistant at St. Anthony Parish in Menomonee Falls. The director of the religious education program, he exemplified an untiring zeal for religious education of the parish children, undoubtedly a gem in his merited crown.

Father Bartaís gentle warm spirit, warm smile and humble service won the hearts of the children and parents in all the parishes he served.

As one St Anthony parishioner recalled, Father. Barta was affectionately known as the Gentle Lamb.

Akin to his dedicated priesthood, Father Barta made an outstanding contribution to boyhood as chaplain for St.Anthonyís Boy (Cub) Scout Troop 105.

While chaplain he organized and directed many pilgrimages and retreats for scouts, designing a commemorative badge for each of them.

His scouting units earned several national unit recognition awards endorsed by Pope Paul VI.

He worked diligently to foster and promote the Ad Altare Dei emblem program, the highest honor given a Catholic Boy Scout who strives for excellence in the learning and practice of the Roman Catholic faith.

In April of 1973 Father Barta was awarded the St. George emblem for his outstanding service to the spiritual development of the Catholic youth in the program of the Boy Scouts of America.

He furthered his great contribution to the Boy Scouts of America by serving as chaplain for the Potawatomi area council from 1969-1979 and as state chaplain from 1972-1976.

In 1978 Father Barta was given the Community Leaders and Noteworthy Americans Award in recognition of past achievements and outstanding service to community, state and nation.

In July of 1980 Father Barta was assigned pastor of both Our Lady of Angels, Armstrong and St. Michaelís Parish, Dotyville. There he pioneered the duel pastorate for the Milwaukee Arch-diocese.

A former parishioner remembered Father. Barta as a most congenial priest who really served his people with a spirit of self-sacrifice and unfailing dedication.

From 1991 to 1999 Father Barta served the pastoral needs of St. Martin Parish, Ashford and St. Kilian Parish, St. Kilian.

His understanding and humble leadership to provide for both parishes (with the noble assistance of Father Victor Kemmer) was treasured by many.

Many faithful traveled great distances to attend his Masses and avail themselves to the sacrament of confession which he made amply available to his people.

In July of 1999 Father Barta retired from all administrative duties, but remained in residence at St. Martin Parish where he graced the parish as he continued, with increasingly poor health, to offer daily Mass, hear confessions and make possible Eucharistic Adoration for the faithful of St. Martin Parish until the time of his passing.

A priest after the heart of Christ, he continued to be deeply loved as he climbed the hill of his Calvary in a long battle with cancer.

He will be sorely missed and affectionately remembered for his many years by those whom he served with fidelity in this life.

Father Barta was a longtime member of the Knights of Columbus Menomonee Falls Council 4240.

Survivors include his dedicated caregiver and housekeeper of many years, Lee Ann Schoofs; a brother, Ronald (Michelle) Barta of Elkhorn and their three daughters, Angelique, Noelle and Calise; a sister, Mary Alice (Dwayne) Warwick of Milwaukee and their two children, David (Karen) Warwick and Laurie (Paul) Grooms; two great-nieces, Amanda Warwick and Alician Marie Grooms; other relatives and friends.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered on Monday, April 16, at 11 a.m. at St. Martin Parish, Ashford (N1271 Minnie Lane of rural Campbellsport, off High-way 67). The Most Rev. Timothy M. Dolan will officiate.

Choir members from each of the respective parishes served by Father Barta are invited to lead the faithful in song.

Visitation will be held at St. Martin Parish on Sunday from 3 to 8 p.m., followed by a solemn prayer vigil until 10 p.m., and again on Monday from 9 a.m. until time of Mass.

The mortal remains of Father Wayne Joseph Barta will be reverently laid to rest in the holy ground of St. Anthony Parish Cemetery, Menomonee Falls to await the sound of Gabriel's mighty trumpet announcing the great day of the Resurrection.

Father Barta requested Mass offerings in lieu of flowers. Memorials may be given to the Boy Scouts of America Religious Emblem Program.

The Twohig Funeral Home, Campbellsport, is assisting the family.

We give him back to yoy Almighty and ever living God who in love gave him to us.