Deacon Ray Lukowski known for his Rosary devotion

It would seem fitting that Deacon Ray Lukowski died on a day honoring Our Lady of the Rosary.

The Rosary drew him deeper into his Catholic faith and he prayed it daily, his former pastor, Father Thomas Weisbecker, said.

Deacon Lukowski, of St. Gerald Parish in Ralston, died Oct. 7, the memorial of Our Lady of the Rosary. He was 68.

His funeral Mass at St. Gerald was Oct. 13, another significant Marian date, marking the last apparition of Our Lady of Fatima. During those apparitions, the Blessed Virgin implored people to pray, especially the Rosary, Father Weisbecker said.

Burial for the Army veteran was Oct. 14 at Omaha National Cemetery.

Deacon Lukowski had been in precarious health for more than 20 years, suffering numerous cardiac problems. Yet “the Blessed Mother had him wrapped up in her mantle,” allowing him to die in a hospital and receive an anointing of the sick, said Father Weisbecker, now pastor of St. James Parish in Omaha.

He was ordained in 2000. He and his wife of 49 years, Sue, helped couples at St. Gerald prepare for marriage and helped introduce a program to the parish that welcomed fallen-away Catholics back to the faith.

Deacon Lukowski also taught religious education to second-graders, was chaplain to the St. Vincent de Paul Society program at St. Gerald, and enjoyed leading the Stations of the Cross during Lent.

Deacon Doug Marsh of St. Gerald, a longtime friend, said he considered Deacon Lukowski his brother, especially as fellow military veterans and deacons.

They often prayed for each other, Deacon Marsh said, and his friend was typically smiling and helpful. “He was a good brother.”

Deacon Lukowski worked for the former Missouri Pacific Railroad before resigning for health reasons.

Survivors include his wife; sons and wives Timothy and Mandy Lukowski and Scott and Ryen Lukowski; four grandchildren; siblings and spouses Larry and Stef Lukowski, Linda Bird, Ann and Denny Twomey, Lori Menichetti, and Dan and Connie Lukowski; nieces and nephews.

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