Dec 28, 1932 Mar 15, 2023
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Monsignor Benedict J. Zientek, 90, of Brenham, Texas, passed away on March 15, 2023. Father Z, as he was lovingly known, was born December 28, 1932, to the late John J. and Frances (Bilski) Zientek.
He was born in Brenham, TX, and grew up on a farm where he and his six siblings worked at picking cotton, milking cows, and raking hay. He was the sixth of seven children.
Msgr. Zientek attended grade school at St. Mary Parish School in Brenham, then studied for the priesthood at St. John’s Minor Seminary in San Antonio, TX; St. Mary Seminary in La Porte, TX; and St. Mary Seminary in Houston, TX. He was ordained a priest on May 24, 1958, for the Diocese of Austin at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Austin, TX.
After his ordination, he began his priestly ministry at St. Mary Parish in Brownwood, TX, where he was serving when Brownwood became part of newly established Diocese of San Angelo in 1961. Over the years, Msgr. Zientek served at St. Mary, Brownwood; St. Joseph, Raton; St. Mary, Odessa; Sacred Heart Cathedral, San Angelo; St. Joseph, Rowena; St. Charles, Eden; St. Boniface, Olfen; and his final assignment at St. Mary, Brownwood, where he had originally begun his priestly ministry. On January 23, 2003, Msgr. Zientek was named monsignor by Pope John Paul II.
He retired on January 27, 2003, at the age of 70. Upon his retirement, Msgr. Zientek returned to live in his hometown of Brenham, TX. He lived on his family farm for about 10 years and remained active at St. Mary Parish in Brenham. Eventually he became a resident of Kruse Village in Brenham. Msgr. Zientek was a member of the Knights of Columbus for 70 years, as well as a member of the Lions Club in San Angelo, Rowena, and Brownwood for 54 years.
Msgr. Zientek was preceded in death by his parents, John and Frances; his brothers, Julian, Stanley, Aloysius “Alois”, and Msgr. Boleslaus “Boli” Zientek; and his sisters, Mrs. Mary Januszewski and Sophie Zientek. He is survived by many nieces, nephews, cousins, friends and their families.
Visitation for Msgr. Zientek will be held on Friday, March 17, 2023, at Brenham Memorial Chapel, located at 2300 Stringer Street, Brenham, TX, from 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., followed by a Vigil Service at 7:00 p.m.. Msgr. Zientek’s Funeral Mass will be celebrated on Saturday, March 18, 2023 at 10:00 a.m. at St. Mary Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, located at 701 Church Street, Brenham, TX, with Bishop Michael Sis, Bishop of San Angelo, presiding. Interment will follow in the priests’ section of Calvary Catholic Cemetery in Brenham. A memorial Mass for Msgr. Zientek’s many friends will be celebrated by Bishop Michael Sis on Wednesday, March 29, 2023, at 6:30 p.m. at Sacred Heart Cathedral in San Angelo.
Memorials may be given to Priest Formation Fund, Retired Clergy Religious Fund, Brenham Evening Lions Club or charity of choice.
Services are in the care of Brenham Memorial Chapel, and online condolences and memories of Father Z may be shared at www.brenhammemorialchapel.com.