Joseph Michael Torzewski was born in Detroit to Polish immigrant parents Ladislaus and Stella Torzewski on September 15, 1903 and was baptized five days later at St. Casimir’s Parish. He attended Sacred Heart Seminary High School and College in Detroit, and completed his preparation for the priesthood at Mt. Saint Mary’s Seminary in Norwood, Ohio. He was ordained on April 6, 1930 and celebrated his first Mass the next day at his sister’s convent. The formal celebration of his first Mass was at St. Casimir’s in Detroit, his home parish and the place he received the sacraments and attended grade school. His first assignment was at Sweetest Heart of Mary Church in Detroit, where he had the opportunity to serve with his cousin, mentor and godfather, Bishop Joseph Plagens. Prior to being appointed Pastor and Founder of Christ the Good Shepherd in Lincoln Park, he also served as an assistant pastor at St. Stanislaus and Transfiguration Churches in Detroit and St. Florian’s in Hamtramck. He served as pastor of Good Shepherd for 25 years. He then requested and was granted an associate pastorship, staying on at Good Shepherd. October 1, 1973, he retired and was granted the title “Pastor Emeritus.” He entered into eternal life February 8, 1987 at the age of 83. His friend and former assistant, Fr. John Phelan, celebrated his funeral Mass.
Fr. Torzewski will always be remembered at Good Shepherd for his dynamic leadership. On the occasion of his 25th anniversary to the priesthood, he wrote in the Vigil, “I should like to return to Sweetest Heart of Mary Church on April the sixth to celebrate Mass as thanksgiving to God for granting to me the greatest of all His gifts, namely to share in His Divine priesthood.” On the occasion of his 50th anniversary to the priesthood, he recalled the highlight of his career as being appointed pastor to found Christ the Good Shepherd Parish.
Anna and Adolph Redwick were blessed with three sons, Stanley, John, and Adolph, Jr. Two of the boys, Stanley and Adolph, became priests. Fr. Adolph Redwick was born in Detroit August 28, 1932. He graduated from St. Hyacinth’s Grade School and St. Mary’s of Orchard Lake High School. He attended the University of Detroit for one year before enrolling in St. Mary’s College. The examples of priests he knew sparked his vocation. He graduated from St. John’s Seminary and was ordained June 6, 1959. He served as an assistant pastor at St. Thomas the Apostle on the eastside, then Sts. Peter and Paul Parish on the westside of Detroit before coming to Christ the Good Shepherd.
Fr. Redwick served at Good Shepherd from 1972 through 1990, first in a co-pastorate with then assistant and classmate Fr. John Leo Phalen and continuing as sole pastor after Fr. Phalen was appointed founding pastor of Our Lady of the Woods, Woodhaven, in 1975. Under Fr. Redwick’s direction the parish debt was finally paid off. He recalled his fondest memory at Good Shepherd as, “the people’s concern for Catholic education and the ability to maintain the schools amidst the crisis of school closings in the area.” Fr. Redwick loved the schools. Once on vacation in Florida he caught an 83 inch Sailfish and proudly brought his trophy back home. His “Name the Fish” contest caused excitement at the school and hundreds of kids submitted their entries. To this day the fish is known as Buddy Blue Eyes. Fr. Redwick said he will always remember “the goodness of the people”, and “felt fortunate and happy to serve the people of Good Shepherd.” In 1990 Fr. Redwick became pastor of St. Joseph’s Parish in Dearborn. Fr. Redwick passed away on March 6, 2006.
Cyril and June Buersmeyer welcomed the third of their five children, David, to the world October 28, 1953. Fr. Buersmeyer attended St. Anselm’s Grade School and University of Detroit High School. He graduated from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor with a degree in mathematics prior to enrolling at St. John’s Seminary, Plymouth. He was ordained to the priesthood June 20, 1980, and served as an associate pastor at St. Christopher’s in Detroit, chaplain at Bishop Borgess High School in Redford Township, and assistant professsor of theology at Sts. Cyril and Methodius Seminary, Orchard Lake, prior to being appointed pastor of Christ the Good Shepherd Parish in 1990.
Like Fr. Torzewski and Fr. Redwick, this parish was his first as pastor. Looking at that fact, as well as at the many newly-ordained associates and deacon-interns who have been assigned to the parish over the years, Fr. Buersmeyer remarked that “Christ the Good Shepherd should be commended as a parish that welcomes its priests, helps them to learn what it means to be a priest and pastor, and should be proud of the ways it has helped form young priests over the years.” In June 2002, Fr. Buersmeyer went to SS John and Paul Parish in Washington, Michigan.
For a parish of fifty years, the number of priests who have been part of its history is relatively few: three pastors, twenty-three assistant or associate pastors, several long-time weekend assistants.