Saint Mary’s Father Bob Kus retiring after 20-year career as priest

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — A 20-year career as a Catholic priest in North Carolina is coming to an end for Father Bob Kus. He spent 12 of those years at Basilica Shrine of Saint Mary in Wilmington, but Father Bob’s mission is not over.

Monday, he’ll head to Honduras, to join two other priests serving 50,000 people in 87 churches.

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“I’m gonna be a missionary priest, doing regular priestly ministry,” Father Bob said. “I want to get more into gardening and videography and I write books.”

Father Bob is excited for the new challenge, but he will also miss Saint Mary, his parishioners and Wilmington.

“It’s a beautiful building, the Basilica Shrine of Saint Mary, but even more beautiful are the people,” Father Bob said. “It’s a fabulous parish, very exciting, very mission-oriented, very peppy kind of a parish.”



Father Bob has made his mark on the Port City.

Reverend John McLaughlin at St. Jude’s Metropolitan Community Church says he and Father Bob are good friends. He says the priest’s presence in the community will be missed.

“He was always in the community doing something,” Rev. McLaughlin said. “Chaplain on the police force, chaplain at the hospital, chaplain at UNCW, the Rotary Club, the priest of a big church downtown. He was always in action, showing what he might preach on a Sunday morning.”

Looking back on his time in Wilmington, Father Bob says he’s most proud of the creation of the Saint Mary Health Center and establishing a sister parish in Honduras.

Father Bob will say his final masses at Saint Mary this weekend before starting his next chapter.

Reverend Ryszard Kolodziej of Shallotte and Reverend Francisco Garcia of Wake Forest have been appointed by the Diocese of Raleigh to succeed Father Bob at Saint Mary.