Recently Departed Marians
Father Henryk Utykanski, MIC
(11.10.1936 – 12.14.2005)
On December 14, 2005, at 8pm, Father Henryk Utykanski, MIC, died at the hospital of Our Lady of Grace in Curitiba. He was 69. The burial Mass was celebrated the next day at 3pm at the Shrine of Divine Mercy, led by the Provincial, Fr. Jair who also preached. The body was then deposed in the Marian cemetery next to the Shrine. Marian priests, seminarians, and novices attended the funeral along with the Sisters of the Merciful Jesus, Sisters of St. Joseph, and Polish priests-friends.
Father Henryk Utykanski, M.I.C. was born in a small town of Wlodawa, near Lublin, on November 10, 1936. He completed his elementary and high school education in Wlodawa, and then entered the Seminary in Siedlce. Ordained a priest on May 27, 1961, at the Cathedral in Siedlce by the Ordinary of the Diocese, Bishop Ignacy Swirski, he later worked as a vicar in the following parishes: Tuczna, Sobolew, Ulan, Ostrow Lubelski, Kock, Wojcieszkow, Huszlew, and Terespol on Bug.
In 1970-72, he made his theological studies at the Catholic University of Lublin and in 1973 he was made pastor of the Kodeniec parish.
Father Henryk Utykanski, M.I.C. came to Brazil on March 18, 1980, upon the invitation from Bishop Piotr Filipak, Ordinary of the Diocese of Jacarezinho, PR. He served as a vicar in the town of Wenceslau Braz, PR, also giving lessons of Latin and Greek at the Diocesan Minor Seminary in Jacarezinho, PR, until 1994.
In 1995-1996 he worked at the Good Shepherd Parish and St. Sebastian Parish in Sao Jose do Rio Preto. From November 30, 1996, to November 13, 2000, he was a pastor in the parish of Joachim Tavora town in Parana, Diocese of Jacarezinho.
On November 17, 2000, he was admitted into the Marian postulancy where he began to prepare for the novitiate under Fr. Stefan Szwajkowski’s guidance. Father Henryk entered the novitiate on December 7, 2000, and also made it under Fr. Stefan Szwajkowski’s guidance at our religious house in Manoel Ribas, PR. On December 8, 2001, Fr. Henryk made his first religious vows.
In 2002, Fr. Henryk served as a vicar in Manoel Ribas. In 2003, he was sent to a Rio de Janeiro parish, also as a vicar. In the same year Fr. Henryk began to have serious health problems: he was diagnosed with cancer of the intestines. Then began a painful and long battle with the disease.
On December 8, 2004, Fr. Henryk made his perpetual vows at the parish church in Manoel Ribas, PR. His health deteriorated still. For this reason he was transferred from Rio de Janeiro to our central house in Curitiba. There he found himself under the seminarians’ tender care.
Father Henryk continued to be active until practically the last moments of his life. He heard confessions and celebrated Holy Masses. On December 7, 2005, he began to sink very fast. On the morning of December 14th he was brought to the hospital, where he passed to the Lord the same day, at 8pm.
Father Joseph Sielski, MIC
(02.18.1914 – 06.09.2005)
Father Joseph John Sielski, MIC, died Thursday, June 9, at Villa Rosa, a nursing home in Mitchelleville, Md. He was 91. Father Sielski, MIC, had a distinguished life of service with the Marians that included: two terms in Rome as Superior General of the Marian Congregation; two terms as Superior of the Province of St. Stanislaus Kostka headquartered in Stockbridge, Mass.; and two terms as Director of the Association of Marian Helpers, which is also headquartered in Stockbridge. He also had the distinction of being the first Polish-American to persevere in becoming a member of the Marian Congregation.
Born in Jersey City, N.J., on February 18, 1914, son of Michael and Thecla Sielski, he was orphaned at an early age. The Felician Sisters of Lodi, N.J., cared for him during his childhood. Joseph Sielski joined the Congregation of Marians of the Immaculate Conception in 1929 as a minor seminarian. After completing high school, he entered the novitiate on August 14, 1933, and made his first vows in Washington, D.C., on August 15, 1934, at the age of 20. As a seminarian, he pursued college and theological studies and was awarded his B.A. and then his licentiate degree in theology at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. As a student, he also spent a year in Poland, returning to the United States shortly before the outbreak of World War II in Europe. While in Poland, he studied the Polish language and theology, experiencing Marian community living among his Polish conferes.
He was ordained a priest on June 10, 1941, shortly before the U.S. entered World War II. Almost immediately, Fr. Sielski took on leadership posts in the Marian community due to a shortage of personnel. He came close to completing his doctorate in theology (S.T.D.) from the Catholic University of America, but community commitments forced him to end his studies. In 1944, Fr. Sielski moved to the new Marian House in Stockbridge and was appointed Assistant Master of Novices. He was appointed the first Superior at Stockbridge, remaining at the post until 1947. He then moved to Detroit, Mi., where he helped open a Mission House and served as its first Superior. In 1948, at the age of only 34, he was elected Vice Provincial of the newly formed St. Stanislaus Kostka Province. In 1951, Fr. Sielski succeeded the Very Rev. Fr. Joseph Luniewski, MIC, as the Provincial Superior. He was the second Superior of the Province.
During his 12 remarkably productive years in office, he guided the Marians in becoming more firmly established in the U.S. A new house of studies was built in Washington, D.C., the famous “Marian Week” debuted in Stockbridge, and the Mercy of God Shrine (now recognized as the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy) was completed. Foundations for Marian houses were also laid in Brookeville, Md., and Portugal. During this time, the Marians also began their expansion to England and Brazil, and Fr. Sielski was one of the first Marians to work in Brazil.
In 1963, he was elected to the General Council and took up residence in Rome. Within two years, he was appointed Vicar General and helped to put in motion the program of renewal and adaptation that the Second Vatican Council asked of all religious communities. Father Sielski was then elected Superior General in 1969, and he served two terms until 1981. As Superior General, he would lead meetings at the Generalate in Rome in Latin and Italian. Unfortunately, his work of making pastoral visits to all the Marians around the world was severely hampered by the communist governments in many of the countries in Eastern Europe where the Marians were stationed.
After his last term as Superior General, Fr. Sielski returned to the U.S., going back to Rome periodically, especially to work on revisions to the Marian Constitutions in the 1980s. Father Sielski held a number of posts in the Province upon his return.
He served as the Director of the Association of Marian Helpers — headquartered at the Marian Helpers Center in Stockbridge — from 1983-1984 and then again from 1986-1988. After these terms in Stockbridge, he worked as a spiritual director at the Washington, D.C. House in the late 1980s and early 1990s. He then worked as a chaplain at St. Joseph’s Nursing Home in Catonsville, Md.
A Liturgy of Christian Burial was celebrated on June 14, at 10:00 a.m. at the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy in Stockbridge, MA, U.S.A., presided by the Superior General of the Marians, Very Rev. Fr. Jan M. Rokosz, MIC. Fr. Sielski was laid to rest in the Marian Community Cemetery on Eden Hill.
Father Eugeniusz Ogiński MIC
(08.18.1922 – 01.23.2005)
Father Eugeniusz Ogiński, MIC, son of Jan and Michalina née Jałbrzykowska, was born on August 18, 1922, in the Czarnowo-Dąb village in the diocese of Łomża, Province of Łomża. After middle school he entered the Marian Lower Seminary at Bielany in 1937 and completed two grades before the onset of WWII.
During 1940-41 he first resided at his family home and then moved to the Mańkowski Institute at Wileńska Street in Warsaw and completed his remaining years in middle school there. In 1943-44 he did his novitiate in Skórzec, after which he made his first religious vows in Warsaw-Praga on August 15, 1944. He then stayed for a year at Bielany and two years at Praga finishing his studies at the King Ladislaus IV high school. He made his perpetual vows in Skórzec on August 15, 1947. From 1945-51 he studied at the Marian Institute of Philosophy and Theology at Bielany, which was affiliated with the University of Warsaw. He was ordained on August 19, 1951, by the Metropolitan of Gniezno and Warsaw, Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński, the Primate of Poland, at the Church of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary at Bielany. After his ordination, from 1952-56 he served as parish vicar and catechist in Głuchołazy. From 1956-57 he was the catechist and chaplain of the Sisters in Licheń. In 1957 he worked for a short while in Rdzawka, Bielany, and Włocławek. In 1958 he became the chaplain of the Dominican Sisters in Zielonka near Warsaw, and then of the St. Elizabeth Sisters in Grudziądz (1959-60), while assisting the Marian pastoral work. In 1961-62 he served as catechist and minister in Skórzec. In 1962 he was sent to study Dogmatic Theology at the Catholic University of Lublin and took up residence at the monastery school for priests studying at the CUL. For five months in 1965 he was the chaplain to the Missionary Sisters of the Holy Family in Ratów and ministered also to the faithful at St. Anthony Church in Ratów. From 1966-67 he served in Włocławek as the chaplain to the Sisters of Communal Work and later as the Provincial Librarian. Transferred to Licheń in 1967, he became the spiritual director of the local religious house and Fr. Nieciecki’s assistant in his work as the Provincial Promoter of Spiritual Life. In December of the same year he was sent to Wieniec near Włocławek as the chaplain to the Sisters of Charity. From there he commuted to Włocławek with his conferences for the seminary students and to work at the library. In October of 1969 he was transferred to Góra Kalwaria, where he took over duties of the Provincial Promoter of Spiritual Life and the confessor of the novices in Skórzec. In May of 1970 he completed his studies obtaining the Master’s Degree in Dogmatic Theology by defending his thesis “Father Dominik Kochanowski, OFM’s teachings on spiritual motherhood of Mary.” In December of the same year he was transferred to Warsaw-Praga. From 1072-74 he supervised the retreat house on Cyrhla and provided pastoral care for the faithful at the local chapel. Sent to Skórzec in 1977-79, he conducted pastoral work and delivered conferences on Mariology for the novices. Residing in Lublin in 1979-1984, he fulfilled duties of the Promoter of Marian causes assigned by his superior. From 1984-85 he did pastoral work in Głuchołazy. In 1985-87 he resided in Sulejówek, and in 1987-1990 in Elbłąg, assisting with the ministry. In 1990-91 he was the rector of St. Francis Xavier Church in Grudziądz. In 1991 he helped with pastoral work at the rectoral church in Sulejówek. In 1992-93 he underwent treatment in Fawley Court. Residing in Sulejówek from 1993-2001, he translated from Latin Fr. Founder’s works. From 2001 he resided at the novice house in Skórzec. In the past he served twice as the Master of Perpetual Novitiate (1962 and 1981), a member of the Formation Committee, a lector of Mariology in the novitiate, and postulancy moderator.
Father Józef Glinka, MIC
(03.03.1918 – 01.10.2005)
Father Józef Glinka, MIC, was born on March 3, 1918, to a craftsman’s family living in the colony of Jamielnik, the Stoczek Łukowski Parish. He completed elementary school in 1932 in Stoczek Łukowski and continued his education at the Preparatory Gymnasium for Boys of the Congregation of Marian Fathers at Warsaw-Bielany.
In 1938 he entered the Marian novitiate, and on August 15, 1939, made his first religious vows, and his perpetual vows on August 15, 1945, before Bishop Jan Seferyński. After graduating from the Metropolitan Major Seminary in Warsaw, he was ordained to the priesthood on December 7, 1946, in Siedlce by Bishop Ignacy Świrski.
Right after his ordination he took over the boarding school for boys at Wilenska Street in Warsaw. In 1947-48 he served as main educator at the Bielany school in Warsaw. At this time Fr. Adam Boniecki, MIC, was among his students. Next, he directed the Mańkowski Institute in Głuchołazy. From 1949 until September of 1957 he was the parish administrator and House Superior in Licheń and then the St. Laurence Parish administrator and House Superior Vicar in Głuchołazy. From 1964 he resided in the Marian religious house at Wileńska Street in Warsaw and held the office of the Provincial Promoter of Pastoral Work. He then resided in Kerkole, which was subordinate to the Stoczek Klasztorny Religious House, where he served as a parish administrator from 1970. Starting in 1975 he was the House Superior in Rdzawka, and from 1981 — the rector of the chapel in Sulejówek. During 1987-1990 he was the rector of St. Francis Xavier Church in Grudziądz, and then the House Superior Vicar in Sulejówek. In May of 1993 he went to Rzepiska to serve as a rector of a pastoral center, and then moved to Sulejówek, where he continued to give his pastoral assistance in spite of serious health problems. From 2000 he resided at the Góra Kalwaria Religious House, where he died during the night of January 9-10, 2005.
Father Leonas Lešinskas, MIC
(02.14.1924 – 09.16.2004)
On September 16, 2004, Father Leonas Lešinskas, MIC, age 80, passed away in St. Michael the Archangel parish of Mariampole.
He was born on February 14, 1924, in the village of Pailiai. He was the last of 10 children of a small-time farmer. He finished elementary school in Aukstelke, and then from 1937-1940 studied at a private Franciscan gymnasium in Kretynga. When this gymnasium was closed down by the Soviet authorities, he continued his studies at the 1st Gymnasium in siauliai and graduated in 1943. In 1946, he entered the Diocesan Seminary in Kaunas, but he had to leave it after the first term when the Soviet authorities began to decrease the number of its students. Leonas then joined the Congregation of Marians. In 1948 he completed his novitiate and returned to the seminary.
Leonas Lešinskas was ordained to priesthood on August 22, 1950. In the next year he finished his seminary studies and began to work as a vicar in Koszedary. During 1953-63, he served as pastor in following towns: Geguzine (1953-54), Skudutiskis (1954-60), Bagaslaviskis (1960-1961), Pazerai (1961-1963), and Karmelavie (1963). On August 15, 1963, he became a professor at the Diocesan Seminary in Kaunas and the Prefect of Studies. While working at the Seminary, in 1967 he defended his Doctoral thesis on fundamental theology.
In 1968, Fr. Leonas Lešinskas was appointed pastor in Balbieriskis, and, in 1971, administrator in Aukstoji Panemune. During 1975-89, he served at St. Michael the Archangel parish in Mariampole: first, as its administrator, and then, after 1979, as its pastor and dean. Thanks to his efforts, the chapel of Bl. George Matulewicz was created in the church in 1987.
Father Leonas Lešinskas became pastor in Budvietis in 1989 and Vice Dean in Mariampole. After two years of service he came back to Mariampole. First, he served as a chaplain in the restored Marian middle school and was the resident of St. Vincent’s parish. Since 1993 he resided at St. Michael the Archangel parish, where he passed away.
Since 1991, Fr. Leonas taught religion and theological matters in different Mariampole schools: restored the Marian middle school (until 1992), Major Pedagogical School (until 1996), Major Catechists School in the Diocese of Vilkaviskis (until 1998). In 1995, the Lithuanian Council for the Science granted Fr. Leonas Lešinskas, M.I.C. the rank of Assistant Professor.
Father Leonas Lešinskas’s funeral took place on September 18, 2004 in Mariampole.
Father Kazimierz Pacek, MIC
(10.08.1930 – 08.27.2004)
During the night of August 26-27, 2004, Father Kazimierz Pacek, MIC, died of cancer at the Marymont House in Warsaw. He was 74 years of age, 55 years of religious life and 48 years of priesthood.
Fr. Kazimierz was born on October 8, 1930, in Grudziądz. Having obtained his the middle school certificate from the 1st State Hihg School and John III Sobieski gymnasium in Grudziądz, in 1948, he asked to be accepted into our Congregation. He made his novitiate in Skórzec. On September 8, 1949, he also made his first profession of vows there. In 1949-51, he continued his education at high school and minor seminary in Bielany. In 1951-52, he completed his 1st year of philosophy at the House on Wileńska Street. In 1952-54, he studied at Bielany, and in 1954-56 – at the Major Metropolitan Seminary in Warsaw. He took his perpetual vows in Skórzec on August 15, 1954. He was ordained to the priesthood on March 16, 1957, at Our Lady of Lourdes Church in the borough of Praga in Warsaw.
After ordination, he served as vicar and prefect of religion in Góra Kalwaria for two years. In 1959-62, he made his licentiate studies on Biblical Theology. In 1962-63, he was the prefect of the Polish Province’s priests who participated in the annual Pastoral Studies Program in Cracow. In 1963-65, he stayed at the Marian House of Studies in Włocławek, preparing at the same time his Doctoral degree in Biblical Theology at the CUL. During his second year of residency in Włocławek, he also served as chaplain of the Sisters of Communal Work. In 1965-66, he was the vicar and prefect of the youth in Sierpiec, and in 1966-67 again the chaplain of the Sisters of Communal Work. In 1967-69, he served as catechist for the youth in his native town of Grudziądz. In 1969-75 he fulfilled the duties of the Provincial Councilor. In 1969-71 he was the Skórzec House Superior and the parish vicar. Being appointed the Provincial Secretary, he transferred to the Bielany House, and in 1981 – to the Marymont House. He stayed in this office for 10 years: from 1971 to 1981. Since 1977, he served as the chaplain at the chapel of Sisters of the Name of Jesus. While working at Marymont, he served local neocatechumen communities for years, being also a confessor of many religious sisters. Father Kazimierz carried out many different functions on behalf of our Province: beginning in 1981 he delivered lectures on Biblical Science at the novitiate without interruption. For many years he ran retreats for different groups of our confreres, especially those preparing for the profession of vows. Several times he served as Master of the Perpetual Novitiate. For several years also he was the censor of the Marian Publishing House.
Since July of 2004 Fr. Kazimierz was fighting his final illness. Funeral solemnities took place on August 30, 2004, at the Marian Fathers’ Church in Marymont. A large group of faithful attended. It included our Marian confreres, members of the Departed family, religious sisters, brethren from the Neocatechumen Way, parishioners. The Holy Mass for the intention of the Departed was led by Bishop Marian Duś. The body of Fr. Kazimierz was laid to rest at the Marian cemetery in Wawrzyniec, Warsaw.
Brother Jan Mieczysław Obrębski, MIC
(11.21.1938 – 07.20.2004)
Brother Jan Obrębski, MIC was born in Poland, village of Ziomek, in the parish of Baranowo, Diocese of Łomża, on November 21, 1938, to the parents Józef and Rozalia. The family had 10 children: three boys and 7 girls.
In 1945-52, he attended elementary school in Bakula-Ziomek. After graduating, for one year, he helped his parents with the farm. In 1953, he began studies at the Metal Trade School in Przasnysz, which he completed in two years with a certificate of a “Mechanic of Farm Machinery.” The following year he spent again helping his parents with the farm. At that time he discovered his vocation for religious life. He followed in the footsteps of his older sister, Zofia, who became a nun, and of his cousin, Fr. Casimir Komor, M.I.C., and in 1957 he joined the Congregation of Marian Fathers. Upon completing his half-year long novitiate in Skórzec, he made his first religious profession on August 15, 1958. For the next seven years he remained a member of the Skórzec Religious House. He fulfilled the duties of a conservator and helped with the farm. He pronounced his perpetual vows in Stoczek Klasztorny, on August 15, 1965.
During the years of 1965-84, he stayed at the Lublin Religious House, where the Marian Seminary is located. His superiors noticed his talents and sent him to high school. From July of 1965 to February of 1972, he studied at the Correspondence School of Mechanics and Electricity in Lublin, which he completed with a certificate of a technician-mechanics in the machinery construction. He obtained his high-school certificate in 1971. At the same time he worked as a metal-worker at a Cooperative of the Blind in Lublin. Brother Jan learned the Braille alphabet (1968), completed a course in economy and self-governing (1969), obtained a title of a Master in the trade of General Metal Working (1971), and truck-drivers courses. During the time of his studies, he also fulfilled the duty of conservator of the house and driver-mechanic.
Beginning in 1972, for five years, he served as the Lublin House Treasurer. During this period he also studied at the Institute of Higher Religious Culture at the Catholic University of Lublin.
Brother Jan continuously deepened his professional and religious knowledge wishing to put into life the concept of Bl. George Matulewicz who wanted to see Marian religious brothers becoming educated and competent people. Everything seemed to prove that Br. Jan had adequate intellectual capabilities to complete theological studies and aspire for the priesthood. To his confreres’ suggestions that he should become a priest he used to respond that he did not feel a vocation nor that he was worthy; he wanted to serve our Congregation and the Church as a religious brother.
In February of 1984, he was transferred to Rome, to our General House, where he consequently spent 20 years or almost half of his religious life. Practically from the beginning of his stay there and until 1999, he fulfilled the duty of the General House Treasurer. During 1987-93, he also served as our Congregation’s General Treasurer. In 1999, he was named II Councilor but was still assisting the House Treasurer as much as his health allowed.
Brother Jan was getting ready for heart surgery, which was planned for the beginning of 2004. In addition, he began to experience serious stomach ailments. Tests proved that he had a malignant stomach tumor. Unfortunately, two operations and therapy applied, failed to produce positive result. Brother Jan died after a six-month struggle with suffering and illness.
The last project undertaken upon his initiative was the renovation and roofing of St. Joseph’s statue placed in our garden. Saint Joseph – the Patron of good death – generously rewarded Brother Jan by obtaining for him the grace of a beautiful death. Brother Jan passed into eternity surrounded by the love and prayers of many people. He died shortly after Fr. General’s visit who came to see him at the hospital on his way from the airport upon his return from the United States.
A testimony of unlimited trust in God and an authentic faith that were shown in such a serene acceptance of suffering and readiness for death were the best summing up of his entire life, which was filled with humble service to God.
Upon the news of Brother John’s demise, many of our Marian confreres sent us letters of condolences in which they also expressed their gratitude for all the good that he had done to them when they were visiting the General House. Words such as “exemplary religious”, “deeply devout”, “true to his vows”, “diligent”, “obliging”, “trustworthy”, “quiet”, “entirely devoted to the Congregation”, “community’s conscience in living out the vow of poverty”, “cordial confrere”, and “a good man and a good Marian” were frequently repeated in those letters.
The funeral solemnity, led by Fr. Superior General, Mark Garrow, took place on July 23, 2004, at the General House Chapel.
Father Feliks Bartecki, MIC
(05.11.1925 – 07.09.2004)
Father Feliks Bartecki, MIC, was born on May 11, 1925, in Bukowy, parish of Zagórów, district of Słupiec, in the Włoławek Diocese of the Wielka Polska Province.
In 1949, after graduating from a gymnasium in Rumia, he asked to be admitted to the Congregation of Marians. He made his first religious vows in Skórzec, on August 15, 1950, having completed the novitiate. Being transferred to Bielany, he completed the final two grades of high school and passed his final examinations in 1952. Later, in 1952-54, he also studied philosophy at Bielany. During a recess in the academic year of 1954-55, he was sent to work on the farm of the Skórzec monastery. He had his first year of theology in Gietrzwałd, where he also pronounced his perpetual vows in 1956. The remaining three years of theological studies were completed in the Major Marian Seminary in Włocławek.
He received his ordination to priesthood on June 21, 1959, in Włoławek. Then he underwent a pastoral training called “tirocinium” in Cracow. In 1960, he began his pastoral service first in Skórzec and Warsaw-Praga (briefly), and then in Głuchołazy as a catechist and member of the pastoral ministry. In 1961-62, he fulfilled the same duties in Skórzec and Krekol. In 1964, he was transferred to the Bielany House and sent to study Canon Law at the Catholic Academy of Theology. After obtaining a Master’s in Canon Law, Fr. Felix became a notary at the Warsaw Metropolitan Court of Law. At that time he was assigned to the Sulejówek House, which he left in 1969 for the Praga House in Warsaw. In 1972, he became a chaplain of the Immaculate Sisters in Wrzosów and belonged to the Bielany House. In 1975-87, he served as a confessor and member of the pastoral ministry at the St. Francis Xavier’s Rectory Church in Grudziądz. Since 1987 he served as a confessor at the Shrine of Our Lady of Licheń.
The final months of Fr. Felix’s life were marked by great suffering. He passed away at the Licheń House on July 9, 2004, at noon.
The funeral solemnity, presided over by Bishop Czesław Lewandowski from Włocławek, took place at the Licheń Shrine on July 12, 2004, at 2 p.m.
Father Henryk Tomaszewski, MIC
(01.18.1914 – 06.26.2004)
Father Henry Tomaszewski, MIC, was born on January 18, 1914, in Żyrardów, Poland, to the parents Walenty and Antonina, neé Apczyńska. His father died during the Polish-Russian War of 1920. Since his father’s death, young Henry, along with his brother Romuald and his sister Maria, was brought up by their mother alone. Upon completing elementary and middle school, he attended the Major School of Commerce in Warsaw for three years. In 1937, he entered the Congregation of Marian Fathers.
He made his first vows on August 8, 1938, at the monastery in Skórzec. While in the novitiate, he met and kept in his memory the remembrance of Blessed Fr. Antoni Leszczewicz, who entered our Congregation, being already a priest and a missionary in Harbin, China. Father Henry was permanently impressed by his humility and willingness to assist, with which he waited at table on his much younger fellow-novices.
After making his first vows, Henryk was sent to the Vilnius Seminary and he began his studies at the Stefan Batory University. However, shortly after, he was transferred to the Seminary in Kaunas, and then to Mariampole and Druya. The time of his seminary studies proved to be the most difficult one for him because of WWII.
Precisely during the war struggles, while still being a seminarian, Henryk received the grace of witnessing a heroic action of two Marian priests: George Kaszyra and Anthony Leszczewicz, who were elevated to the altars in 1999. The Druya House Superior sent Henryk to Rosica to warn the above-named priests of approaching danger and to persuade them to leave the area. Those priests sent the messenger back to Druya, which saved his life, but they remained with the local people and on February 16-17, 1943, suffered a martyr death. Father Henryk’s description of their martyrdom based upon his own recollections and testimonials of other people contributed to the beatification process of the Marian Martyrs.
On February 7, 1944, Henryk made his perpetual vows in Vilnius, and 20 days later he was ordained to the priesthood in Mariampole, by Archbishop Romuald Jałbrzykowski. After ordination, Fr. Henryk continued his studies, which he concluded by defending his Master’s these in 1946. Later he worked as a vicar and a catechist in several Marian parishes, staying the longest in Druya and Warsaw, but primarily as an educator in the Marian College in Bielany.
Leaving Poland, Fr. Tomaszewski went to England, where he continued his work as an educator in Fawley Court for some time. Then he went to Portugal, and finally, in December of 1965, arrived in Brazil as one of the first Marian missionaries. He was the fourth member of the first Polish missionary team there.
Father Henry worked in the first Marian missionary parish in Brazil, in a town called Nossa Senhora da Gloria, State of Sergipe. In 1968, when the parish was closed, he came to Curitiba, State of Parana; and shortly after went further south – to the State Rio Grande do Sul, where he took over a parish in Barra do Ribeiro and remained there until 1969. In September of 1969, Fr. Henryk began a difficult pastoral ministry in the River Ribeira Valley, on the border betweeen the States of Parana and Sao Paulo. First, he served in two parishes: Riberia in the State of Sao Paulo and Adrianopolis in the State of Parana. Although his residence was in Ribeira, he built a beautiful parish hall in Adrianopolis. During the time of his pastoral labors in the parish of Ribeira, he succeeded in building more than 10 new chapels, restored the main church building and saved it from complete ruin, and rebuilt the devastated presbytery.
On January 17, 1988, Fr. Henryk was transferred from Ribeira to Adrianopolis, where he took over the duties of a pastor, which he fulfilled for the next five years in spite of his advanced age of 74. In total, Fr. Henryk gave 22 years of his life to working in the River Ribeira Valley – the poorest and most spiritually and materially neglected region. Through his service to the local people, which he fulfilled with zeal and love, he brought the Word of God closer and fostered material progress.
Then, after five years of service, on March 18, 1993, Fr. Henryk was transferred to the Diocese of Guarapuava and named the administrator of a chapel at the power plant in Segredo. He spent next five years of his life there, among the plant employees and their families.
In 1998 Fr. Henryk had to go to a hospital because of his failing health. On his return from the hospital, he was transferred to Barra Santa Salete as a resident at the novitiate. Another significant period in his life was the year 1999. With the beginning of this year Fr. Henryk was transferred to the Provincial House in Curitiba, where he had easier access to specialized medical care and was helped by the students of the Major Seminary. In June of that year he went to Poland for the last time. There he participated in the Marians’ meeting with the Holy Father in Licheń and the jubilee of the 50th anniversary of the Marians in Licheń, of which he was the first pastor. Finally, on June 13, 1999, in Warsaw, he took part in beatification of the Marian Martyrs – Frs. George Kaszyra and Anthony Leszczewicz, two confreres with whom he worked and whose martyrdom he witnessed.
In the beginning Fr. Henryk took care of himself in his illness. He celebrated Holy Mass, always recited the breviary in Latin, played solitare… As time went by, his state worsened: he was only able to concelebrate Mass, and he experienced growing memory problems and difficulties in walking… Shortly a need for constant supervision appeared, especially at night, which was managed through the dedication and zeal of the Marian Seminarians.
In the beginning of 2001 Fr. Henryk was not able to celebrate Mass or to walk on his own. Thanks to a dedicated care given by Fr. Edmund Grabowski, M.I.C., the Seminary Rector, students, and Sisters of The Divine Mercy, in 2002-2003 his health improved so much that he was able to go on short walks and participate in some of the bigger events. Although his ailments caused by age and illness made him loose his patience at times, he soon was able to restore his temper, when singing carols or other religious songs.
This year Fr. Henryk celebrated his 90th birthday and, on February 27th – his 60th anniversary of ordination to priesthood. Meanwhile his health became so poor that he couldn’t leave his room, being completely dependent of others in his needs. On June 15th he was hospitalized with serious heart and lung insufficiency. Father Henryk finished his life in this world on the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul.
During his life he was a publicist, a chronicler, and an avid reader, especially of history books. He had a talent for describing facts or events. He wrote down testimonies about the martyrdom of Blesseds Anthony and George in a book Martyrs from Rosica and prepared an account on the martyrdom of Fr. Eugeniusz Kulesza, M.I.C., also. He translated from Belarussian into Polish a book by Fr. Hermanowicz China, Siberia, Moscow, and from French – The heaven stronger than we are, by Wilhelm Hünermann. He was the author of many letters describing his missionary work in Brazil. Those letters were compiled by Fr. Stanisław Kurlandzki, M.I.C. into a book entitled Missionary adventures.
Father Henryk was an educator of children and youth – for many years he worked at the Bielany school, then in Fawley Court (England). Being a pilgrim avidly loving travel, he used his vacation time for visiting Marian shrines. He was incredibly hospitable and possessed a good sense of humor. Indefatigable in his pastoral and construction work, he was concerned about the sick and the poor in his parish and frequently organized charitable help for them.
Father Henryk Tomaszewski is the first Marian Missionary who died and was buried in Brazil, in the Marian cemetery at the Merciful Jesus Shrine. He received from God a grace of being well prepared for his death: purified through suffering and the holy sacraments, he went to meet the Lord, whom he tried to serve faithfully during his earthly pilgrimage, in the company of the Apostles Peter and Paul.
Father Michael (Miguel) Jodka, MIC
(12.03.1913 – 05.20.2004)
Father Michael (Miguel) Jodka, MIC, age 90, died in Rosairo, Argentina. He was sick with Alzheimer’s. A native of Lawrence, MA, he studied theology and philosophy at Marian Seminary in Hinsdale. He went to work in Argentina in 1957, serving mostly in our parish in Avellaneda. Unable to celebrate the Mass due to Alzheimer’s, he received the Eucharist on a daily basis. His work for Christ and the Church can be summed up in his own words: “I am quite pleased that you sent me. Thank you very much!”
Father George Groszewski, MIC
(06.18.1929 – 01.22.2004)
Father George Groszewski, MIC, age 74, died in Lublin. He was a priest of 48 years and a religious for 55. He served as a minister for the youth. In 1978-88, he ran the publishing apostolate producing books and prayer cards, which was a rare exception during the Communists times. He is buried in Góra Kalwaria.
Father Piotr Miros, MIC
(02.18.1915 – 01.13.2004)
On January 13, 2004, Father Piotr Miros, MIC, passed away in Góra Kalwaria.
He was born on February 18, 1915 in Kozłów, Poland. After finishing his middle school in Korzystno, he studied privately for a year at the gymnasium in Nowe Miasto on Pilica, and later, in 1930-32, became a Marian junior in Skórzec. In 1932-33, he made his novitiate in Raśna, where he also made his first religious profession on August 15, 1933. He continued his studies at Bielany, which he completed in 1936, obtaining a high-school certificate. His perpetual vows were made in Raśna on August 15, 1936. In 1936-43 he studied at the Major Seminary in Warsaw. During the interruption in his studies in the academic year of 1938-39, he served as a catechist in Skórzec. His ordination to priesthood took place on January 3, 1943 in Warsaw.
Being ordained a priest, he served as a vicar in Skórzec in 1943-44. Then, in 1944-45, he was the prefect at the Bielany gymnasium. In 1945-49, he worked in Głuchołazy: first, for one year, as a parish administrator in Gierałcice and Biskupice, and then as a gymnasium prefect and minister in Głuchołazy. Transferred to the Bielany house, in 1949-53 he studied apologetics at the Faculty of Catholic Theology of the Warsaw University, from which he also obtained his degree of Master of Theology. His second Masters Degree was in Romance Philology. Also at that time he was teaching French at the Minor Seminary in Bielany. In 1954-56, he taught apologetics in our seminary in Gietrzwałd. In 1956-58 he made his doctoral studies on apologetics at CUL. Also, during this period he was the prefect for priests studying there. In 1958-62 he stayed in Warsaw and taught apologetics, history of the Church, and French language in our Warsaw House of Studies in Praga. In 1960-61, he was named the Bielany House Superior, being at the same time the lecturer. In 1961-62, he was transferred to Góra Kalwaria, where he served as a catechist.
From June of 1962 Fr. Piotr worked in England. In 1962-67, he was a teacher for one year, and then has become the Deputy Director of the Divine Mercy College in Fawley Court. Then, in 1966-67, he taught Latin. Residing in Hereford in 1967-69, he served as a missionary and minister for Polish people in Cardiff. In 1969 he became pastor of the Polish parish in Slough. He built a beautiful parish church and John Paul II Catholic Center there. Father Piotr remained in Slough also as a resident during 1993-2002. On October 4, 2002, he was transferred to Góra Kalwaria.
Father Piotr passed away on January 13, 2004. His funeral took place on January 16th. Forty priests concelebrated the Holy Mass, led by H.E. Edward Materski, Bishop Emeritus of Radom and a friend of the Departed. Father Provincial, Andrzej Pakuła presided over the solemnity at the graveside.
Father Kazimierz Grzymala, MIC
(01.26.1934 – 11.02.2003)
In Valencia, Spain, Father Kazimierz Grzymała, MIC, a long-time minister for Polonia in Great Britain, passed away.
He was born on January 26, 1934, in northeastern Poland, in the Kosów Lacki parish. Upon completing grammar school, as a 15-year old boy, he came to Warsaw and entered the Minor Seminary of the Marian Congregation. There he obtained his high-school education. After one year in the novitiate he made his first vows on August 15, 1952.
During the period of studies I had an opportunity to get to know Fr. Kazimierz. He was always kind and fraternal, full of enthusiasm and ideals, bringing spontaneous joy everywhere. There was no better companion for seminarian recreation and vacation trips. He knew by heart dozens of songs with which he was able to attract the young people attention during bonfires at the lakeside, as part of our common trips. These talents and characteristics served him well later on in his ministry to the young.
After his ordination, Fr. Kazimierz worked in Poland for one year only. In June of 1962 his superiors sent him to England, and he dedicated the rest of his life to this country. For several years he served as the youth educator in The Divine Mercy College in Fawley Court. Then for three years he worked at Slough, but the longest – 33 years – he served in Ealing, London. He got to know several generations of people and everyone knew him. It has been rightly said about him that a large part of the Marian history in Ealing and history of Our Lady, Mother of the Church, parish is closely united with his person.
From his vacation trip to Spain he sent greetings to many of his friends. No one suspected that these would be his last greetings. Quite unexpectedly he became very ill. Despite the solicitous medical attention, his state grew so bad, that it made his return home impossible. His superiors from Fawley Court, Fr. Wojciech Jasiński, M.I.C., and later Fr. Czesław Pisiak, M.I.C. stayed at his bedside, but he was not aware of it. He passed away on November 2, 2003, at night.
During the funeral Mass the Ealing church was filled, as usually happens on holidays. This was an expression of gratitude from parishioners for Fr. Kazimierz longtime pastoral service.
Father Vincas Inkratas, MIC
(12.22.1916 – 10.10.2003)
Father Dr. Vincas Inkratas, MIC, an Assistant Professor and altarist in St. Michael the Archangel Basilica in Mariample, passed away.
He was born on December 22, 1916, in the village of Skardupiai, at the then district of Keturvalakiai, in Vilkavi kis region. In 1923-27, he attended elementary school in Skardupiai, and in 1930 he entered the Marian gymnasium in Mariampole, which he finished in 1938. He was accepted into the Congregation of Marians in 1935. Upon his graduation from the gymnasium, for several years he studied philosophy in Kaunas.
In 1940, he began his studies on the first year at the Faculty of Theology of the Inter-Diocesan Seminary in Kaunas. On May 2, 1943, he was ordained to priesthood. A year later he obtained his licentiate in Theology, defending his work: “The meaning of the Eucharist in the Church.” Serving at St. Gertrude’s Church in Kaunas, and also being a chaplain for the local Red Cross hospital, he was also preparing his doctorate on dogmatic theology. He wrote four dissertations on the topic: “The Church according to St. Paul, the Apostle: and at the and of 1946 obtained this doctoral degree.
In 1946, he served as a vicar at St. Ignatius’s in Vilnius, at Holy Trinity’s in Panevezys, and at the parishes of Linkuv and Vabalnikas. In 1952, he was named administrator of the Karsaki kis parish, but a few years later transferred to Papile, where he worked for 13 years. During 1967-74 he served in Tauragnai. After the old church there burned down, he built a new one, which was quite a rare event in the Soviet times. Later he was a pastor in Vie intos for 16 years. In 1990, he came back to his native diocese of Vilkavi kis. From the start he was named altarist in the Mariampole parish of St. Vincent de Paul. In 1993, he was transferred to the same post in Mariampole Basilica of St. Michael the Archangel. He resided in the Marian monastery in Mariampole until his dying day.
By his knowledge of foreign languages he served the Church hierarchy and our Congregation. Shortly before dying, he translated from Latin into Lithuanian the entire collection of Decrees and decisions of the General Chapters and meetings of the Marian Congregation in 1702-1999.
The funeral Holy Mass for Fr. Vincas Inkratas was celebrated on October 13, 2003, at the Mariampole Basilica of St. Michael the Archangel. The Mass was led by Bishop Rimantas Norvila with 30 priests concelebrating. The homily was delivered by the Superior of the Lithuanian Province, Fr. Vytautas Brilius. The deceased was buried at the old Mariampole cemetery, in its Marian part.
Father Antoni Papużyński, MIC
(08.08.1940 – 07.13.2003)
Father Antoni Papużyński, MIC, was born on August 8, 1940, in Kazakhstan, where his parents were in exile. In 1946, his mother brought him and his three brothers back from exile. His father and the oldest brother returned to the homeland as soldiers of the Polish Army. The family took up residence in the Głogów administrative district: first, in Kotla, and since 1950 – in Brzostów. On December 27, 1947, in Kotla Antoni was baptized and later went to the First Communion. In 1947-54, he attended elementary school, and in 1954-57, completed three years of secondary school in Głogów. In 1957 he was accepted to the Skórzec novitiate as a candidate for priesthood in our Congregation. Antoni made his first religious vows on August 15, 1958, at the novitiate house.
In 1959 he completed the 4th grade of secondary school in Głuchołazy. In 1959-60 he served at our religious house in Licheń, and in 1960-62 studied philosophy at the Marian Institute of Theology and Philosophy in Warsaw. He took his four-year course of theology (1962-66) at the Major Seminary in Włocławek. His perpetual profession of vows came on August 15, 1964. After graduating from the seminary he asked for prolonging the time of his service as a deacon. In 1966-69 he worked as a catechist in Licheń. He was ordained a priest in Włocławek, on February 2, 1967. In 1969-72 he made his post-graduate studies at the Department of Christian Philosophy (Section of Philosophy and Psychology) at the CUL. Upon completing his Master’s thesis entitled: “Psychological and pedagogical basis of the Founder of the Marians, Fr. Stanislaus Papczyński’s system of education”, he obtained his Master’s degree in psychology. In 1973-79 he served as the Provincial Vocations Director, and in the school year of 1979/80 – he ministered at Marymont borough in Warsaw. In 1980 he went to do pastoral work in England.
In 1980-82 Fr. Papużyński served in Fawley Court as a chaplain of the Divine Mercy College, and then he ministered in Slough (1982-85), and in the last year he served as the Vocations Minister. In 1985 he was transferred again to Fawley Court, where he was the chaplain of the College and Vocations Minister for a year, becoming later (since 1986) a House Superior, Treasurer, and Vocations Minister, and since 1987 also the Vice Provincial. In 1993-97, residing in Hereford, he was the 3rd Provincial Councilor.
From mid-1997, on account of special treatment that he was undergoing in Warsaw, Fr. Antoni resided at his nephew Sławomir’s house in Malbork, Poland. In response to his persistent requests, granted him in 1998 the indult of ex-claustration for three years. After the indult’s expiration, Fr. Papużyński remained outside the community life without his superiors’ permission. In March of 2003, he petitioned again for permission to reside outside the religious house on account of his health problems. He received such permission on May 23, 2003. At that time he resided in Warsaw.
Fr. Antoni died unexpectedly Sunday, July 13, 2003, in Gdańsk. The news of his demise just reached the Provincial Superior on July 17, 2003.
Our Associate Brother
Bishop Roman Andrzejewski
(02.19.1938 – 07.07.2003)
Noon, on July 7, 2003, Bishop Roman Andrzejewski, Vir Aggregatus of the Congregation of Marian Fathers unexpectedly passed away.
He was born on February 19, 1938, in Morzyczyn, Poland. In 1961, he graduated from the Major Seminary in Włocławek, and on May 21st of the same year was ordained a priest. Next, he studied classical philosophy at the Catholic University of Lublin. In 1973, he defended his Doctoral thesis at the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań. In 1974-75, he studied at the Pontifical Institute Altioris Latinitatis at the Salesian Pontifical University in Rome.
During the years of his service for the Church he held, among others, the office of an assistant at CUL (1966-74), Prefect of Education at the Seminary in Włocławek (1968-70), Professor of Latin and Patrology at the Major Seminary in Włocławek (1972-83), Speaker at the Polish Section of Radio Vatican (1974-75), confessor for religious sisters (1978-81), Professor of Church Latin and Latin Literature at CUL (1974-82).
He was consecrated a bishop by Bishop Jan Zaręba and erceived from him a domination to Vicare General of the Włocławek Diocese on December 20, 1981. In 1988-96, Bishop Roman Andrzejewski presided over a Committee of the National Conference of Bishops in Poland for the Ministry among Farmers. As a national minister for farmers, he showed great care for the future of Polish agriculture and the destiny of the village residents.
As a bishop, he decided to associate more closely with the Congregation of Marian Fathers. With a letter of November 16, 1992, written by hand on the commemoration of Our Lady of Mercy, Bishop Roman addressed the Provincial Superior, Fr. Stanisław Kurlandzki, M.I.C., with a request to be admitted into the Congregation as an “Associate Member”. In this letter he gave the following reasons for his request: 1. Devotion to Mary; 2. Care for priests serving all over the world, particularly, in the East; 3. Devotion to Poor Souls; 4. A desire to be buried at the Licheń Shrine, should he not make other provisions or impassable circumstances arise. Formulated in such a way, his motivation showed a deep concurrence of his spirituality with the main characteristics of our Congregation’s charism.
At that time the Bishop was 54 years of age, of which 31 years of priesthood and 11 years of bishopric service. On November 19, 1992, the Government of the Polish Province of our Congregation agreed to grant the Bishop the status of an “Associate Member”. In his letter of December 3, 1992, to the Provincial Superior, Bishop Andrzejewski warmly thanked for the grace of being aggregated in the Congregation and obtaining of appropriate privileges. He also expressed his willingness to fulfill all duties related to membership in the Marian community and his desire to serve the Congregation in his capacity of a bishop. On December 8, 1992, he was formally aggregated in the Congregation.
In 1992-2003, Bishop Roman consecrated to the priesthood several Marian Deacons, led the Holy Mass and delivered a homily on several occasions during Marian Chapters or Provincial Conventions; celebrated a Mass at church fairs and gave ardent sermons before pilgrims in the Licheń Shrine. He visited with pleasure different Marian communities in Poland and abroad, particularly the Licheń Shrine and the Provincial House in Warsaw. He stayed in close touch with the Provincial Superior in order to give reports on his “Marian way of life”. It can be said that he remained faithful to undertaking the responsibilities of an Associated Member.
On May 31, 2003, he consecrated to priesthood in the Licheń two Marian Deacons. A month later, sudden death took him away. Funeral solemnities were performed on July 10, 2003, at the Włocławek cathedral and on July 11, 2003, at the Licheń Shrine, where the Bishop was buried next to other persons of merit. The funeral Mass was led by the Apostolic Nuncio to Poland, Archbishop Józef Kowalczyk.
Father Witold Nieciecki, MIC
(03.01.1925 – 06.28.2003)
On June 28, 2003, on the commemoration of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Father Witold Nieciecki,MIC, passed to the Lord. He faithfully served Christ and Mary Immaculate. He lived for 78 years, of which 59 as a religious and 53 – a priest.
Fr. Witold Nieciecki was born on March 1, 1925 in Vilnius. Since 1933 he resided with his parents in Warsaw, where, in 1937-39 he completed 2 years at the St. Staszic State Gymnasium. WW II caught him there. In 1940-42, he took two years of schooling at the so-called “preparative courses for trade schools of 2nd degree.”
Inspired by the good example of his older friend, later a Marian, Fr. Włodzimierz Okoński, he conceived a desire of joining the Congregation of Marians and becoming a priest. In 1943-44 he made his novitiate at Skórzec. Upon completing his high school education (interrupted by war) at clandestine courses, he passed the final exams in 1945. In 1947, he professed his perpetual vows. During 1945-51 he attended classes at the Institute of Philosophy and Theology in Bielany, Warsaw. Also, in 1948-52, he studied at the Faculty of Catholic Theology of the Warsaw University, obtaining a degree in Moral Theology. Witold Nieciecki was ordained a priest on December 17, 1950, by the Primate of Poland, Stefan Cardinal Wyszyński, at the Church of Our Lord in Warsaw.
Fr. Witold Nieciecki fulfilled many important offices in our Congregation. In 1951-57, he was the Prefect of seminarians; in 1957-63 – Polish Provincial Vice-Superior; and on the turn of 1957-58 – a pastor of the Bielany church. The next year he stayed at Nowa Wieś near Michalin, regaining his health. In 1960-63, Fr. Witold Nieciecki completed his studies for licentiate degree at the Warsaw University, and in 1964 he defended his thesis “Main characteristics of the Congregation of Marians’ spirituality in the light of Marian Constitutions of 1930.” The thesis was published in Rome in 1965. During 1963-66 he served as a spiritual director of Marian seminarians in Włocławek, while in 1966-69 – the Provincial Spiritual Director with his residence in Skórzec.
Fr. Witold Nieciecki held the office of Polish Province Superior twice – from 1969-81. After the General Chapter of 1981 in Rome he was nominated President of the Constitutions and Directory Editorial Committee, because of which nomination in 1981-83 he spent most of his time in Rome, still formally belonging to the house on Wileńska Street in Warsaw. The opinion is that it was he who made an essential contribution to adapting Marian Constitutions to the directives of the Vatican II. In 1983-93 Fr. Witold Nieciecki was the spiritual director of our Major Seminary in Lublin. Since 1993 he became a resident of our Marymont house where he actively participated in parish ministry, mostly hearing confessions and being part of the neo-catechumen communities’ life. Fr. Witold also became known as a good retreat leader. He realized the importance of cooperation with the laity and he supported the creation of the Association of Marian Helpers in Poland. From the beginning he served as a consultant for the AMH’s magazine Z Niepokalaną.
Fr. Witold Nieciecki’s funeral solemnity took place on July 1, 2003, at the Marymont church, after which the body of the deceased was deposed at the Marian cemetery in Warsaw.
The Marian community, under the leadership of Superior General, Fr. Mark Garrow and Polish Province Superior, Fr. Andrzej Pakuła, attended the solemnity in great numbers along with members of the Deceased’s family, friends, parishioners, and members of the AMH. They bid farewell to Fr. Witold Nieciecki, confident of his faithful love for Christ and people, of his attitude of a great, and yet very humble, man of prayer known for his good deeds.
Brother Stanisław Nowaczkiewicz, MIC
(02.23.1925 – 06.02.2003)
On November 4, 1954, the Marian Novice Master in England, Father Edward Rytko, MIC, wrote in his letter to the Provincial that Stanisław Nowaczkiewicz came to the religious house in Lower Billingham, Hereford, “bringing with him all necessary documents and a petition to be admitted to the postulancy as a religious brother.” In the “certificate of morality” issued by Fr. J.L. Dryżałowski of Huddersfield, he said about the candidate: “From the time of his coming to this parish until the present day, he fulfilled well his religious duties and was always regarded as a quiet, controlled person and a good Catholic. For two years he actively and exemplarily participated in the Polish Parish Choir – Varsovia in Huddersfield.”
The candidate wrote in his autobiography: “I was born in Warsaw on February 23rd, and baptized on March 8, 1925, at the Nativity of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary Church. My father was a tailor by trade; he had already passed away, but my mother is alive and still resides in Warsaw. I also have two brothers and a sister. My mother, my brother and my sister were taken to the concentration camp in Auschwitz; thanks to the Lord our God they came out of it luckily. In my seventh year of life I went to school, which I completed in 1940. At the beginning of 1943, as the oldest son, I started to work to support my family. After the failure of the Warsaw Uprising in 1944, Germans took me to Germany as a laborer. I worked in quarries and also on railroads. After being set free by the allies, I was placed in a camp in Erfurt, where I stayed for several months. Later, I was transferred west, to another camp in Raine, where I stayed until my departure to England in 1948. In England I worked as a coal-miner in Barnslay until 1952. Then I changed jobs and moved to Huddersfield. In July of 1954, I made a pilgrimage to Holywell and Pantasaph, during which I decided to dedicate the rest of my life to God and spend it in the Congregation of Marian Fathers as a religious brother.”
Those few lines of Br. Stanisław’s biography reflect the history of an entire generation of Poles who experienced tragic war consequences. Although forcibly torn away from family and native land, a young man of 19 was able to organize his life according to principles of faith rooted in him by his family even in exile.
In his request for being accepted into the Marian community he wrote: “I ask Very Reverend Father Superior fervently and whole-heartedly to kindly accept me into the ranks of his Congregation, where, as I have hope in God, I would be able to work for God’s glory and the good of the order, as well as to strive for my own holiness and perfection under the direction of Superiors of the Order, which has as its goal to promote the devotion to Mary and lead to eternity as many souls as possible.” Signing this document, he added: “humble servant in Christ.”
Having completed a one-year novitiate, Br. Stanisław made his first vows on August 15, 1956. He pronounced his perpetual vows on August 15, 1963, after a seven-year period, upon receiving permission from the Holy See. In his religious life he fulfilled duties assigned to him by his superiors in religious houses of Hereford, Fawley Court, Rome, and the longest – for 30 years – in Ealing, London, as a parish sacristan. When Br. Stanisław’s health became worse, he was transferred in February of 2002 to our religious house in Fawley Court, in order to ascertain that good care is given to him. He died at that house on June 2, 2003. Br. Stanisław was buried at the Marian cemetery in Henley-on-Thames. The solemnity of burial was presided over by Fr. Provincial Andrzej Pakuła. The sister and brother of the departed participated in the ceremony along with Sisters of the name of Jesus, employees of the Fawley Court House, and the Marian community in England.
In his petition of April 20, 1963, requesting admission to making perpetual vows, Br. Stanisław wrote: “With assistance of God’s grace, I want to faithfully serve the Lord and the Most Blessed Mother in the Congregation of Marian Fathers until my death.” His petition was answered. May the Merciful Lord accept him to His glory.
Father Viktoras Šauklys MIC
(01.13.1908 – 04.14.2003)
Father Viktoras Šauklys, MIC, the oldest of the Lithuanian Marians, died on April 14, 2003, in the rectory of Girdžiai parish in the Archdiocese of Kaunas, where he was pastor for 25 years and retired since 1996. Last January he celebrated his 95th birthday.
He was born on January 13, 1908, in the village Gudziunai (Lithuania), as the youngest of the nine children of Peter and Aniela Šauklys. For six years he attended high school in Raseiniai. Then he learned accidentally about the possibility of continuing his studies in the recently opened Marian high school at Mariampole, where he could try to fulfill his priestly and religious vocation. He was accepted to the Mariampole boarding school in 1926. A year later he was admitted to the Marian novitiate and professed his first vows on August 15, 1928. After two more years of high school, in 1930, he was sent to Kaunas for theological studies at the Vitold the Great University. In 1931, he professed perpetual vows, and on June 25, 1933, he was ordained a priest by Archbishop Francis Karevi ius. A year later he completed his theological studies.
In 1932/33 he was editor of the periodical Sventuju bendravimas, published by the Marians at Mariampole for the confraternity of St. Joseph. In the years 1934-36, 1938-39, he edited altinis. In 1936, he was appointed rector of the St. Vincent a Paulo Church in Mariampole. He was also active as a director of the following charitable institutions: an orphanage, a day-care facility, and a house for the elderly. In 1938, he was appointed treasurer of the Mariampole house, and in 1940 – rector of the Holy Trinity Church in Ukmerge.
He was arrested on Dec. 17, 1946, in Ukmerge, upon the orders of the Communist authorities and was sent to prison in Vilnius. He was accused of creating religious, nationalistic groups under the cover of rosary circles, of celebrating the Mass in memory of killed partisans, and also, because on Dec. 8, 1945, young folks prayed in his church, imploring “deliverance from the red terror… ” On Nov. 15, 1947, Fr. Viktoras was exiled to Siberia for seven years. At the end of this term, he was moved to Ukhta, (Autonomic Republic of Komi), where the director of a hospital employed him for office work and nighttime duty in the isolation ward. He lived in a barrack for laborers, which was plagued by rats.
Being able to move freely throughout Ukhta, he discovered some exiled Lithuanians and embraced them with pastoral care. He was even able to celebrate a Mass for them in a house of an old woman. Sent on errands outside Ukhta, he took every opportunity to provide pastoral assistance to Lithuanians: baptisms, marriages, confessions, Mass celebrations.
On May 2, 1956, he was set free and returned to Lithuania. The Ordinary of Kaunas sent him for pastoral work first in Gruzdžai and then in šiupyliai. Since 1971, he was pastor in the Girdžiai parish. In 1989, in the last year of the Soviet regime in Lithuania, thanks to perestroika, he was rehabilitated.
We should particularly mention Fr. Viktoras merits in the field of vocation ministry. For many years he was giving hospitality and provided board in his house for the Marian clerics from Lithuania and Ukraine, who were studying in the clandestine seminary run by Marians and Jesuits. He took this opportunity to teach them the Marian way of life.
Worthy of note are his popular writings in the field of apologetics and spiritual life. He wrote also about Bl. George. Most of his writings remain in typewritten copies.
Father Paweł Jasiński, MIC
(08.10.1922 – 03.23.2003)
In the early hours of March 23, 2003, Father Paweł Jasiński, MIC, passed away at the age of 81 at our religious house in Fawley Court. He was a member of the Congregation of Marians for 63 years and a priest for 55.
Paweł Jasiński was born August 10, 1922, in Jabłonna, near Warsaw. He had four brothers and five sisters. Upon completing elementary school in his hometown in 1935, he entered the Marian Fathers’ gymnasium at Bielany, Warsaw. At the age of 18, after one year in the novitiate, he made his first religious vows. For the next three years he studied philosophy and theology at the Marian Institute of Philosophy and Theology in Warsaw. In September of 1945, he professed his perpetual vows and was sent at once for further studies in Rome. The completion of his studies at the Pontifical University Angelicum was crowned by a Doctoral degree. Paweł Jasiński was ordained a priest on February 29, 1945, at the Basilica of St. John on Lateran by the Vicar of Rome, Cardinal A. Tragli.
In June of 1950, Fr. Jasiński was sent to England to work in the Polish community. Along with Frs. J. Jarzębowski and E. Rytko, he organized in Lower Bullingham, Hereford, a boarding school for boys. He also fulfilled different functions related to the religious way of life. In July 1960, Fr. Jasiński began to work at the Divine Mercy College in Fawley Court. For nine years he served as the house superior and treasurer, unceasingly caring for the needs of his religious community, employees, and the school youth. These were years of the Divine Mercy College’s development, while Fawley Court became a place of meetings, both religious and ethnic, for Poles residing in London and the vicinity.
In 1969, Fr. Paweł went to Rome for a 6-year stay, during which he served as the General Councilor of the Congregation of Marians. Upon his return to England he was named the House Superior in Ealing, and in 1984, he became the pastor of Our Lady, Mother of the Church Parish in Ealing. Through his efforts as a pastor, and thanks to the Congregation’s help, he was able to acquire a church needed for the parish. The carefully restored shrine is still the heart of the religious life and the parish’s pride. Since 1989, for a certain time, Fr. Paweł fulfilled the post of the Provincial Superior, with residence at Fawley Court. On February 8, 1998, he celebrated the golden jubilee of his priesthood at the Ealing church.
After the closing down of the religious house in Hereford, where Fr. Paweł stayed for several months, he took up residence in Fawley Court (February 2000). He became ill with a terminal decease (leukemia), which he bore without complaints. He, a person of action and full of energy, was hidden in his illness behind the mystery of suffering, which brings cleansing power. He did not seek contacts with the world and did not conceal that receiving visits was tiring for him. He participated only in the Holy Mass celebrated in his room, thus fulfilling the days of his life.
Fr. Paweł Jasiński’s death in Sunday’s early hours, when the Church remembers the mystery of joyful resurrection and glorious ascension of Christ, inscribes his life into this mystery. Fr. Provincial reminded us in his homily that those who die in Christ will live with Him forever. After the Holy Mass at the Ealing church, which was presided over by the Rector of the Polish Catholic Mission in England, Fr. T. Kukla, and concelebrated by Marians and priests from the Mission, the body of Fr. Paweł Jasiński was deposed at the Marian cemetery in Henley-on-Thames.
Father Edward Rytko, MIC
(02.04.1921 – 03.11.2003)
In the 54th year of his priesthood and 62nd year of his religious life in our Congregation, Father Edward Rytko, MIC, died on March 11, 2003, in a hospital at Cardiff. A zealous and faithful priest who belonged to the generation of Marians, which for over half the century served the Polish Catholic community in Great Britain, passed away.
Fr. Rytko was born in Stary Sącz, in the southern part of Poland. He finished elementary school there and began his studies at a gymnasium in Nowy Sącz. Later, along with his parents and siblings, he moved to Łomianki, near Warsaw. There he met the Marians. Fr. Rytko obtained his high school diploma from the college at Bielany, Warsaw, and in 1940 was accepted to the novitiate at Skórzec, in Podlasie region. There, on August 15, 1941, he made his first vows, and in 1946 – his perpetual vows. Later he studied philosophy at Bielany. When at the end of the war the Germans expelled the Marians from Bielany, Fr. Rytko, along with other members of this house, suffered the trials of wartime homelessness.
In 1946, his superiors sent him to Rome to continue his studies. He took up residence at the International Marian College located at the General House. Fr. Rytko completed his theological studies at the Pontifical University Angelicum, receiving a Doctor’s degree in Theology. During his student days Edward met Karol Wojtyła, now the Pope John Paul II. Also in Rome, on June 27, 1949, he was ordained a priest and celebrated this first Holy Mass on Quirinal, at the tomb of his compatriot, St. Stanislaus Kostka.
Fr. Rytko wanted to return to Poland, but his superiors sent him to England instead, where there was a large group of Polish people in need of pastoral care, who found themselves there as war-refugees. Fr. Edward sacrificially gave up his own plans of returning to his homeland and enthusiastically united his religious and priestly life with service in England, which became his new home.
From July 1952 for three years he served as a Novice Master, introducing new candidates for the Congregation to the religious way of life. He was an educator of youth, first at Hereford, at Fr. Józef Jarzębowski, M.I.C.’s side, and then in Fawley Court, at the Divine Mercy College. He also served as a director of the Marian and Divine Mercy Apostolates. Fr. Rytko was the organizer of pilgrimages to Lourdes, Fatima, Rome, and Jasna Góra in Częstochowa in his beloved Motherland. In 1969, he became Pastor for Polish residents of South Wales and remained in that position until his last day. A friend of Fr. Edward – Bishop Edwin Regan – said in his homily at the funeral: “Fr. Edward knew Wales better than the Welsh: in service of the Polish community he traveled through towns and villages of its south and western parts.”
Archbishop Peter Smith presided over the solemn Mass of Christian burial at the cathedral of St. David in Cardiff, while Bishop Edwin Regan delivered the homily. The coffin with the body of the departed Fr. Edward Rytko was transported to Fawley Court. There, on the next day – the festivity of St. Joseph – Fr. Provincial Andrzej Pakuła led the Holy Mass in the presence of the Rector of the Polish Catholic Mission, Fr. T. Kukla, Polish priests, the Marians, and the faithful gathered in great numbers. The body was deposed at the Marian cemetery in Henley-on-Thames.
Bishop Jan Olszański, MIC
(01.14.1919 – 02.23.2003)
Jan Olszański, MIC, son of Jan and Maria (neé Bojko) was born on January 14, 1919, in the town of Hucisko Brodzkie (Tarnopol Province, now in Ukraine). He completed his theological studies at the Lviv Seminary and at the Jan Kazimierz University in Lviv in 1938-42. He was ordained a priest on November 15, 1942, in Lviv, by Archbishop Bolesław Twardowski. From 1942-91, Fr. Jan ministered in Ukraine, in the following towns: Kaczanovka, Lviv, Gorodok Podilsky, Khmelnicky, Studza, Manikoviche, Kitaygorod. He entered the Congregation of Marian Fathers during the Communist regime. Both his first and his permanent vows were made in secret and for that reason their dates are unknown. When Ukraine regained its independence, Fr. Jan became first Marian Superior in that country. He held this office for just a few months, because on January 16, 1991, he was nominated an Ordinary of the diocese in Kamyanetz-Podilsky, and then was consecrated bishop on March 2, 1991. He served as the Ordinary until May 5, 2002. Bishop Jan Olszański passed to the Lord on Sunday, February 23, 2003.
Bishop Olszański’s sacrificial and persevering priestly service during the times of the Church persecutions won him great respect and limitless gratitude of the faithful and clergy in Ukraine. Responding in 1944 to the appeal of H.E. Adolf Szlążek, Bishop of the Diocese of Łuck, he chose to work in Podole, a region abandoned by priests. For many years he was the only priest in the area of several hundred square kilometers. He was a hero of everyday work and untiring defender of his ideals. He never let the Soviet authorities intimidate him and did not seek a false compromise. In his ministry he used to combine the sacramental service with religious education of the indoctrinated youth, which was forbidden by the regime. He was often fined for this. The sensitivity of his heart made him reach out to the largest possible group of the faithful. Thus, when he was “exiled” to the town of Manikovtzy, almost completely cut off the world, where he resided in 1959-91, he suffered most painfully. During this time he spiritually supported the faithful in Khmelnicky and Latichov, where there were no priests.
When he became the head of Kamyanetz-Podilsky Diocese, the number of priests in the area began to grow steadily through his efforts. It was also helped by the opening of the Gorodok Seminary affiliated with the Theological Faculty of the Lateran University in Rome in 1991. The creation of the seminary was an unprecedented even in the scope of the entire country of Ukraine, especially because people wish to have priests here, and holy priests at that, as His Excellency Bishop emphasized. During the time of his pastoral work more than 100 shrines have either been regained, repaired or newly constructed. In 1991, when he began his bishopric service, only a few priests were ministering in his diocese. On the day of his retirement, namely May 4, 2002, there were already 150 priests serving in 270 churches. In his dealings with the faithful, Bishop Olszański always showed extreme tactfulness and engaging sensitivity for their problems and concerns. He was a holy man in the opinion of many.
The solemnity of his funeral took place on February 25th, at the cathedral of Sts. Peter and Paul. J.E. Marian Cardinal Jaworski, the Metropolitan of Lviv, led the funeral Mass. The Eucharist was jointly celebrated by many bishops from Ukraine and Poland, among whom was also present the Apostolic Nuncio to Ukraine, Archbishop Nikolay Eterović. The following attended the funeral in great numbers: clergy (230 diocesan and religious order priests), officials of the Kamyanetz-Podilsky, representatives of the religious communities, and the faithful. Also, the First Consul of the Republic of Poland in Lviv was present. After the Mass of burial, a procession carrying the body of the late Bishop Jan Olszański went around the cathedral. The body was then placed in the crypt of the Most Holy Sacrament in the Sts. Peter and Paul Cathedral at Kamyanetz-Podilsky.
Father Jose Manuel Morais, MIC
(06.22.1943 – 01.09.2003)
On January 9, 2003, in St. Mary’s hospital in Lisbon, after two months of terrible sufferings caused by cancer of the liver and large intestine, Father José Manuel Morais, MIC, passed to the Lord.
Fr. Morais was born on June 22, 1943, in Covelas, commune of Aflândega da Fé. He entered our Congregation in his early youth. The Marians at the time did not have their own seminary, thus he went to study in the diocesan seminary in Vinhais and then in the seminary of the Redemptorist Fathers in Vila Nova de Gaia. He completed his novitiate in Balsamão, under the direction of Fr. Władysław Mroczek, M.I.C., and made his first religious vows at the age of 18, on October 21, 1961. Fr. Morais completed his theological and philosophical studies at the University „Angelicum” in Rome. Also in Rome, at the University „Marianum” he obtained the licentiate’s degree by defending his these on Mary in the theology of the rest of Israel. He was ordained a priest on June 5, 1969, in Balsamão, where then he spent his first years of priesthood, serving as the Novice Master, Prefect and professor in the seminary. He also assisted with parish work in the neighboring villages.
In 1972, Fr. Morais was transferred to the Marian Seminary in Fatima, where he was given the function of the spiritual director. Up until 1984, he also served as the House Superior there, Rector of the Seminary, a school teacher (Center of Studies in Fatima), a delegate of the Provincial responsible for the vocation ministry and publishing and editing of a bulletin Fileiras Marianas (Marians’ ranks). Fr. Morais founded a vocation newsletter O Caminho (The Road) and worked closely with the vocation ministers in the diocese of Leiria.
After a one-year vacation that he spent partly with his family in Brazil, and two years of pastoral service in parishes entrusted to Marians from Balsamão (as well as working on the translation of the Constitution and other Congregation’s documents), he went to Rome to continue his Mariological studies.
From 1990, he resided at the House of Studies in Lisbon, where he served as a chaplain in a church in the borough of Telheiras, published the vocation newsletter O Caminho (until 1993), and was the Rector of the House of Studies, secretary and Vice Province Counselor. At the same time he zealously worked on preparation of materials regarding the Congregation’s charism for his new doctoral thesis on the topic of Mariology, which he did not finish. For the past years he was organizing Jornadas Culturais de Balsamão.
Fr. José Morais was marked by his enthusiasm, simplicity, and joy, his love and devotion for our Congregation, the Church, and modern man. He had great merits in deepening and consolidating of the Marian charism.
Grateful for the precious gift of Fr. José’s life (59 years, of which 41 as a Marian and 33 as a priest), we pray the Lord to grant new vocations for the Congregation of Marian Fathers.
Father Fidelis Grabowski, MIC
(04.14.1917 – 12.21.2002)
Fr. Fidelis V. Grabowski, MIC, who served as Superior General of the worldwide Marian Congregation and as Provincial Superior of its Stockbridge-based Province died on Dec. 21 at the age of 85 from a brain aneurysm. He was living at the Marian Assisted Living Residence in Brookeville, MD.
Father Fidelis was known not only for his leadership in the Marian community, but for his 25 years of service as Novice Master in the Province forming young men in the religious life.
His liturgy of Christian burial was celebrated Dec. 27 at the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy in Stockbridge, MA. The Very Rev. Mark T. Garrow, MIC, Superior General, was the celebrant and homilist. The main concelebrants were the Very Rev. Walter M. Dziordz, MIC, Provincial Superior and the Very Rev. Joe Roesch, MIC, Vice Provincial. During his homily, Fr. Garrow said, „The key to Fr. Fidelis is that he was a man of faith. He had a mind and heart illuminated by faith, and he conveyed that faith to others.” He was buried in the Marian Community Cemetery on Eden Hill in Stockbridge.
Originally from Evanston, IL, Fr. Fidelis was born on April 14, 1917, the son of Constantius Grabowski and Anna Szelagowska Grabowski. He joined the Marians at 18 in 1935 and made his first vows in the Marian community on August 15, 1936. He was then ordained a priest on May 22, 1945.
In 1975, Fr. Fidelis was elected Provincial Superior of the St. Stanislaus Kostka Province in Stockbridge. He held this post until his election to Superior General in 1981. His years as Provincial Superior were marked by a willingness to share greater responsibility with his provincial councilors, thus promoting a truly collegial spirit of government in keeping with the directives of the Second Vatican Council.
Father Fidelis only completed three and one-half years of his six-year term as General, resigning in November 1984 due to poor health. During his term, he had the foresight to insist that Marian missionaries then serving in Brazil also focus on formation to foster indigenous vocations there to the Congregation. And today native vocations to the Marians are flourishing in Brazil.
As his health allowed, during his later years, he would celebrate Mass, hear confessions, and provide spiritual direction. He also assisted the late Br. Alphie Gagne, MIC, at the Marian Helpers Center in pasting savings stamps into books for redemption to raise funds for the missions and renovations to the Shrine in Stockbridge.
Father Anthony Lubickas, MIC
(01.01.1919 – 07.05.2002)
The Marian Community in Argentina lost one of its “Jack-of-all-trades” members. On July 5, 2002, at 2:15 AM in Our Lady of Pompei Nursing Home, a few blocks from our Monastery, Father Anthony, “Antonio,” died of complications due to Parkinson’s disease; he was 83 years of age.
Father Anthony was born on January 1, 1919, in Vaiduotai, Lithuania. His elementary and secondary education was completed in local schools. Later, desiring to serve God as a priest, he entered the Diocesan Seminary in Kaunas from 1938-1940. His studies were interrupted by World War II. In August of 1944, Anthony was exiled to Germany. After the War he was sent to England and remained there from 1947-1949, when he went to Rome and entered the Marian Novitiate on December 7, 1959. One year later, on December 8, 1950, he made his religious profession, followed by perpetual vows in 1953. While in Rome, he continued his studies for the priesthood at the Angelicum.
On July 3, 1955, Anthony was ordained a Marian priest in Rome by Bishop Gawlina. His Superiors then sent him to Balsamão, Portugal, in August of 1956, to assist in the rebuilding of the monastery, which the Marians recovered in 1954. Later in December of 1956, Father Anthony was sent to Argentina. In Argentina he had assisted at different times in Avellaneda, Villa del Dique, and Rosairo. He finally returned to Avellaneda in 1973 util his death.
Father Anthony had been active in some of the construction around the school in Rosario and responsible for a shrine there and artwork in the church. One of his favorite pastimes was oil painting and a number of his works can still be seen in different places. From the time he returned to Avellaneda, Father Anthony worked the old printing press for the publication of both the “LAIKAS” and “MADRE DE MISERICORDIA”. He eventually “retired” from this task when the newspaper was no longer printed at the monastery.
Father Anthony was known for the twinkle in his blue eyes and faithfully fulfilled the tasks assigned to him by his Superiors. Even in his twilight years, he took upon himself the responsibility of seeing to it that the sacristy and sanctuary were properly in order for Mass.
Even though he had grown weaker, the local Community saw to his needs. It was only when that care became impossible at home that Father Anthony was transferred a few blocks away to Our Lady of Pompei Nursing Home. The members visited him daily and as the end approached the gleam in his eyes indicated that he was ready.
His body lay in state in Madre de Misericordia Church where he served for so many years. On the evening of July 5th, Father Christian Ugarte, M.I..C., Superior of the Marian Vicariate and Pastor, presided at the Mass of Christian burial, concelebrated by twelve priests. The church was filled with the faithful who came to pay tribute to the memory of this humble, happy, and obedient priest. The Bishop of the Diocese presided at the final absolution. Father Anthony’s cousin was present at the Mass and expressed her gratitude to the Congregation for the love and care given to “Padre Antonito”.
On the morning of July 6th, the body of Father Anthony was taken to Rosario for burial next to the other Marians. Father Julian Escudero, M.I.C., Pastor of San Casimiro Church in Rosario, presided over the burial liturgy.
“Well done, good and faithful servant; you have shown you can be faithful in small things, I will trust you with greater; come and join in your master’s happiness” (Mt 25:21).
Father John Savukynas, MIC
(12.05.1913 – 04.26.2002)
Once again God has called one of His priests home. On April 26, 2002, Father John Savuynas, MIC, quietly died at Provena Mercy Hospital in Aurora, IL. Due to failing health, Father John was a resident of Fox River Pavilion in Aurora since 1998. Over the years, he had been under a doctor’s care.
John Savukynas was born on December 5, 1913, in Pittston, PA, the son of Martin and Mary (Palonis) Savukynas, one of nine children, five brothers and four sisters; three sisters are still alive. Among nephews and nieces, his nephew, Rev. John Bulger, resides in Pittston.
Following elementary school, John attended and graduated from Jenkins Township High School in 1932. He then entered Marianapolis College in Thompson, CT. From 1934-1936, he studied philosophy at St. Mary’s Seminary in Baltimore. Feeling called to religious life, John entered the Marians of the Immaculate Conception in 1940. On July 16, 1941, he professed his first vows, followed by perpetual vows in 1944. During these years John studied theology at Marian Hills Seminary in Clarendon Hills, IL.
On August 13, 1944, Br. John Savukynas was ordained a Marian Priest at Marian Hills Seminary by Archbishop (later Cardinal) Samuel Stritch, Archbishop of Chicago. A few years after ordination he was Prefect and Treasurer of Marian Hills Seminary. In February of 1950, Bishop McNamara of Joliet, IL, asked the Marian Fathers to take a census of the new subdivision around the seminary. A Mission of Notre Dame Parish in Clarendon Hills was established at the Seminary chapel and became known as Tri State Mission. Father John was asked to care for this new Mission, the forerunner of the Marian parish of Our Lady of Peace in Darien, IL.
The assignment was a brief one, for in September of 1950, Bishop McNamara asked the Marians to care for St. Mary’s Parish in Plano and St. Patrick’s, its Mission, in Bristol. In the 1950’s the parish and Mission comprised the entire territory of Kendall County. Father John served as Pastor there from 1950-1960.
In 1953, St. Anne’s Mission was established in Oswego, IL. A church/hall was constructed. Many years later, the Mission became a parish and was relocated to a large church and community center. It is under the care of diocesan priests. In 1958, St. Mary’s School was opened in Plano.
Following his work in Plano, Father John was assigned to Our Lady of Vilnius Parish in Chicago from 1960-1970. He also served in Kenosha and Darien for awhile. Finally, in 1981, Father became a resident at St. Mary’s in Plano. With time his health was an on/off affair and as deterioration took hold, Father John became a resident at Fox River Pavilion in Aurora, IL.
Over the years, father Savukynas served the Congregation well, especially in pastoral ministry. He also was an active member of the Knights of Lithuania. Since 1940 Father John made rosaries as a hobby. With a smile he would say that he lost count of how many rosaries he made since his novitiate days. Thousands have been sent to India, Lithuania, Argentina, and elsewhere. For the Holy Father’s Golden Jubilee he and a friend made 100 gold-tone rosaries for the Pope.
Another favorite pastime of Father John was the printing of a page of jokes for friends, collecting them from a number of places. In his more active years, he was a good storyteller and punster. Even in the days before his death he always enjoyed a funny story and was ever ready to tell it to others. He also loved gardening and it was not unusual for the novices to now and then help him in Plano with the gardening.
In 1994 Father Savukynas celebrated his Golden Jubilee of Priesthood – a milestone in the Lord’s Vineyard! It was also special for him because of the presence of his good friend Cardinal Anthony Padiyara of Kerala, India. They had met many years before.
He loved his vocation and his priesthood, and the Congregation of Marians is grateful for all those years of service. As one gets older there is the passing thought that one’s old age and infirmities are stumbling blocks for others. However, with more time at hand, old age and infirmity can become blessing in the eyes of the Lord and many others become the recipients of the prayers and suffering offered up. Father John, like so many others, offered both his declining years and infirmity for the Congregation and the Church and those he loved. It was comforting to know that so many were in his prayers.
Father John is now with Christ whom he served for so many years. We pray that all those who preceded him: family, religious priests and brothers, and friends, may now welcome him into eternal life. May the Good Shepherd lead him to his place of rest!
A funeral Mass was celebrated for the repose of his soul at St. Mary’s Church in Plano, IL, on May 1, 2002. The body was then transferred to Chicago where a Mass of Christian burial was celebrated in the Nativity of the BVM Church on May 3rd, followed by burial in the Marian section of St. Casimir Cemetery in Chicago, IL.
Brother Clemens Kiestrzyn, MIC
(11.12.1903 – 01.06.2002)
On January 6, 2002, in the religious house of Fawley Court, Great Britain, at the age of 99, Brother Clemens Kiestrzyn, MIC, of the English Province, the oldest member of our Congregation passed away.
He was born on November 12, 1903, in a large Catholic family in Orle, district of Wyrzysk in Poznan Province (area of the Prussian partition of Poland), of father Michal and mother Katarzyna (nee Barczynska). He had 12 siblings: seven brothers and 5 sisters. Brother Clemens was baptized on November 15, 1903, in Zabartow, St. Jacob’s parish. His God parents were Tomasz Barczynski and Franciszka Wroblewska.
In 1909-1916 he went to school in Germany. In 1918, in Dzwierszno Wielkie he received the sacrament of confirmation from Bp. Szpagan Laubic. The certificate of confirmation was issued in 1954 by the Canon Wenecki, pastor of Sypniew. He also supplied a very good opinion of Brother Clemens’ morals before his entering the Congregation of Marians.
Having completed his education, Brother Clemens stayed at his family house until the age of 33, working as a farmer. When the WWII broke out, he was taking care of his parents. In April of 1943, he was drafted by the German army where he served until December 1944. On December 8, 1944, he escaped to France where he was imprisoned for 10 days. From France he was transported to Italy and incorporated into Second Polish Corps where he carried out a sentinel’s duties until October 1946.
On October 10, 1946, he landed in England and stayed in a camp near Barroro. In this camp he was enrolled into P.C.A.A. (Polish Corps of Assimilation and Allocation) and sent to work on a farm. On December 20, 1953, he abandoned his work on the farm because of his employer’s hostile attitude towards the Catholic faith.
Brother Clemens entered the Congregation of Marians probably on February 14, 1954, (the date of writing his biography). He made his first religious vows in Hereford, on September 15, 1955, and his perpetual vows – on September 15, 1958. Fr. Dr Edward Rytko was his Novice Master for three years and Fr. B. Jakimowicz – for nine months. Fr. Dr E. Rytko was also his Master in his perpetual novitiate. Having completed his novitiate, Brother Clemens served as a gardener and a cloakroom attendant in Hereford.
In 1969-70 he stayed in our General House in Rome where he got an intestinal illness. Because surgery was imminent, Fr. Joseph Sielski, the Superior General, sent him back to Great Britain. In Fawley Court, Brother Clemens took over the duties assigned to him by his Superior. Among other things, he ran a small store for the students, worked in the office, and joyfully did other jobs.
Brother Clemens has always been cheerful and kind to everyone. His characteristics were humility and poverty. Until almost the last day of his life he attended the Holy Mass in the chapel. He quietly bore all his sufferings. His brethren will always remember him as someone radiating with goodness and optimism.
Father Uladyslau Charniauski, MIC
(01.14.1916 – 12.22.2001)
On December 22, 2001, Father Uladyslau Charniauski, MIC, passed away in Vishneva (district of Valozhyn) in Belarus.He was buried in the same town, near the parish church, on December 24, 2001.
His Eminence Kazimierz Cardinal Swiatek, together with His Excellency, Bishop Kirill Klimowicz and Archimandrite Sergius Gajek, M.I.C., presided over the funeral solemnity. The Holy Mass was concelebrated by over 20 priests from the archdiocese of Minsk-Mahileu, the diocese of Horadnya, and from the Greek-Catholic Church of Belarus.
Priests of other churches also participated in the funeral: pastor of the local Russian Orthodox parish, the Director of the Bible Society of Belarus – Rev. Jakau Patupchyk, and Rev. Antoni Bokun – Editor of the first publication of the New Testament translated by Fr. Uladyslau. Representatives of the cultural circles and patriotic groups also attended. The Marian Community in Belarus was represented by Fr. Jozef Pietuszko and Fr. Antoni Los of the Religious House in Barysau.
Fr. Uladyslau Zavalniuk, pastor of St. Simon and St. Helen’s parish in Minsk, who for several months was taking care of the sick Fr. Uladyslau, delivered the sermon during the funeral Mass. The letter from Fr. General of the Congregation of Marians was read by his special delegate, Archimandrite Sergius Gajek. His Excellency Bishop Kirill Klimowicz delivered the eulogy. Also, a representative of the local faithful and the President of the Village Council spoke at the open grave.
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Fr. Uladyslau Charniauski, M.I.C. was born on January 14, 1916, in a Belarussian Catholic family, residing in the small village of Ambruzhyn, Province of Horadnya. His studies, which he began in his native area (among others, in Kreu and Baruny), were completed in the Marian school of Druya in 1937. Also in Druya he entered the Marian novitiate. Fr. Uladyslau was deeply moved by the deportation of Belarussian Marians from their Druya monastery, which was executed by Polish administrative authorities.
He pronounced his first religious vows on August 15, 1938, and his perpetual vows – on August 15, 1941. He was ordained to the priesthood on December 24, 1944. After receiving his ordination, Fr. Uladyslau was working in Lithuania.
From 1953, he served as pastor in the parish of Vishneva in district of Valozhyn, presently located on the border of the archdiocese of Minsk-Mahileu and the diocese of Horadnya. In spite of persecutions and vexations inflicted by the Communist officials, Fr. Uladyslau persevered in his service for the faithful in many local parishes deprived of priests.
In difficult conditions created for the Church in the Soviet Union during the 1960’s, Fr. Uladyslau undertook the translation of the Holy Scripture, based upon the official Vulgate text, into the modern Belarussian language. Inspired by the documents of the Vatican II, he also completed the translation into Belarussian of the basic parts of the Roman Missal.
In 1968, Fr. Uladyslau had a chance to go to Rome for a short time upon the invitation from the General Superior of the Marians, Bishop Chaslau Sipovich. There he was granted the audience with the Pope Paul VI who imparted his blessing for his translation work.
The Belarussian translations of the Bible and the Roman Missal had a tremendous impact upon bringing parts of the Belarussian patriotic intelligentsia closer to the Catholic Church, particularly in the 1980’s.
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On January 19, 2002 – the thirtieth day after Fr. Uladyslau’s death – the Belarussian community of the Marians gathered at his grave site for communal prayers, according to a Belarussian tradition. Marian seminarians from Belarus presently studying in Lublin, Poland, also attended along with the delegates of Marian communities abroad who were not able to participate in the funeral solemnity. St. George Province in Lithuania, to which Fr. Uladyslau belonged, was represented by Fr. Vaclovas Aliulis from Vilnius, Fr. Prosperas Bybnys from Kaunas, and Brother Linas Sipavicius (a Lithuanian seminarian from Lublin.) The Provincial Superior of Divine Providence Province was represented by Fr. Wojciech Sokolowski from Warsaw, and the Ukrainian Vicariate’s Superior – by Fr. Viktor Lutkovskiy.
Fr. Vaclovas Aliulis, who was Fr. Uladyslau’s classmate in the seminary in Lithuania, celebrated the Holy Mass and delivered the sermon in Belarussian. The sermon contained his many personal recollections of the departed.
Fr. Uladyslau Charniauski will remain forever in the memory of the Catholics and all Belarussian patriots as an outstanding and sacrificial priest as well as an untiring activist working for the renewal and development of the Belarussian Christian culture.
Father John Jancius, MIC
(03.26.1909 – 11.18.2001)
Father John Jancius, MIC, died in Chicago. He was 92, a religious for 76 years and a priest for 67. He served as a parish priest. He is buried at St. Casimir cemetery in Chicago.
Father Wladysław Wanags, MIC
(04.04.1931 – 11.11.2001)
On the morning of November 11, 2001, a legendary man, a Marian, Father Władysław Wanags, MIC, died in Ukraine. Books will be certainly written about him; and in the Gorodok Podilski church, which he erected and served to the end a commemorative plate will be installed. The town will maybe decide to raise a monument to him. Because Fr. Wanags belonged to that sort of people who are “although highly admired, difficult to bear at times, and to whose memory monuments are erected.”
He received his ordination to the priesthood after graduating from the Riga Seminary in 1973, and was sent to work in Gorodok. He was a Latvian by birth. I do not know if he had any family connections to Poland, but in Gorodok he ministered to Poles, because in the Podole region mostly Polish people belonged to the Catholic Church. For him the question of nationality was of little significance. And through this he fitted perfectly into the spirituality of Bl. George Matulewicz, Renovator of Marians, whom Fr. Wanags secretly joined in 1975.
Father Wanags liked to tell the story of his conversion. He used to speak of his youth (he was born in 1931), his military service as an artilleryman, and his life as a prosperous vegetable grower near Riga as of times of sin and wandering in darkness. Then, Jesus appeared on Fr. Wanags’s road to Damascus. The Lord won him over and led him out of darkness. Being converted, Władysław Wanags, a person given to ecstasies, past his youth, knocked on the seminary doors. Out came monk, a Marian known for his severity, Fr. Piotr Upenieks. And right away he took this newcomer, a complete stranger that he sees first time in his life, into his arms. “I knew then,” Fr. Wanags used to finish his story, “that Jesus Himself took me into His arms.” Fr. Wanags’s faith was a faith of a converted person and a faith of a child – it was marked by an unlimited trust in God’s help.
In Gorodok there used to be a chapel on the cemetery, but not church. Today, a church erected by Fr. Wanags stands there along with adjacent living quarters. That building, in a straight line beyond the altar, holds a “papal room.” Father Wanags believed that sooner or later John Paul II would visit Gorodok and stay in that room. Fr. built from scratch or raised from ruins several churches in the vicinity and revived the ministry. Once I asked him to tell me the story of his first construction project. He was only waiting to be asked. He liked and knew well how to tell stories. “My first sacred construction was – and at this point he used to make a pause – a restroom for Olympic games.” At the times, when the Gorodok faithful used to gather in the cemetery chapel, Fr. Wanags began the construction of a restroom on the cemetery outskirts, without obtaining any permission. He used the plans made for the restrooms that were built in Moscow for the Olympic games. The construction was already in its finishing stage, when a committee, composed of representatives of the District’s highest authorities, arrived. Fr. Wanags made a laughing stock of them. “What is it going to be,” he said, “when the world learns that the highest authorities personally get involved in the matter of construction…” and at that point he described the newly erected facility with a word devoid of class. So, they let him be. Next, something happened, of which Fr. Wanags did not like to talk, but which gave the beginning to a legend. To one of the officials who was making matters of the church construction difficult, Fr. Wanags told (or, more likely,) yelled at the top of his voice about a punishment forthcoming from God, and a few days later the poor man lost his life. I do not know what was the cause of his death since there were several different versions circulated through the grapevine. Suffice it to say that since that day everyone knew that one cannot toy with Fr. Wanags. And he pushed his way through. When he was going on business or when he was called by the authorities, he used to gather the faithful and command them to recite a 1,000 “Hail Marys.” This practice brought results.
But the church buildings were not the most important thing for him. Seeing surrounding poverty, particularly the dramatic situation of the elderly folks, he began to build nursing homes. Yes, homes (in plural) because he built several of them at the church in Gorodok, on the cemetery outskirts. When it was absolutely necessary, he moved the deceased into a communal grave, and kept on building for the living. Nobody would get away with it, but he did, because people trusted him unquestionably. I used to think with great fear of what would become of those homes when Fr. Wanags wouldn’t be around anymore. They had no other security besides God’s Providence. No books were kept, and doctors and nurses’ care was based upon chaotic volunteers’ services. Articles for boarders’ meals were donated by the local farmers. Amazingly enough, it all worked better than the state-run homes. Father Wanags kept saying with conviction that in Jesus’ eyes the poor took the first place, thus they are the most important. He obtained subsidies, raised donations, also in Poland, and kept enlarging those shelters. He was always deep in debts. Fortunately, the care over these institutions was later taken over by Caritas. And I saw that Fr. Wanags felt more sure about their future.
He used to work with the same sort of obstinacy, just like he used to pray, too. Before dawn and before the first parishioners would come, he used to kneel before the altar for over an hour; he recited the breviary, a multitude of other prayers, and meditated. He also did penance. His bed was a penitential one. And he fasted. He delivered his sermons as a prophet – arduously. Sometimes he could be a little old-fashioned, for example, he would not let a girl wearing slacks in the church. He thundered against such attempts from his pulpit. Once I said to him: “Father, it seems that you throw out of the church girls wearing slacks.” He denied: “I do not throw anybody out, I just ask them to go and change.” His was of piety based on innumerable long devotions, novenas, recitals and his ministry of a paternal sort could be at times unacceptable for the young. Father Wanags stepped down from his office of the Pastor in Gorodok. But he still had the care over existing nursing homes and finishing the ongoing construction projects. His former pupil has become the Pastor, the one who started his service as a clandestine priest. For a long time Fr. Wanags couldn’t get used to this new situation and still considered himself a Pastor. But because he was very humble and firmly believed in religious obedience, the matters finally smoothed out. Nonetheless, he was still regarded as the highest authority in the parish. He continuously made plans, initiated new construction pojects and enlargements, sought out funding, and disturbed the peace of the local bishop and sensible priests.
A few years before his demise, he became ill with cancer of the eye. First, he refused to undergo surgery; but having thought it over, he said: “I will give my eye to Jesus.” And indeed he did. The only problem was how to go among the parishioners without an eye – making an artificial one was the solution. Since then he never spoke about his eye.
Although terrifying in his anger, Fr. Władysław was a good and a cheerful man; and in this cheerfulness there was something of a child.
I saw him in Lviv during the Papal visit. He was very happy, but also concerned because the Holy Father never took residence in his “papal room.” Already at that time the lethal growth was ruining him. Until the very end, Fr. Władysław strived to lead a normal life, he kept on working. Later, he was placed in one of the Cracow hospitals. He knew then that the end was near. In his room he celebrated Holy Mass and kept the breviary by his bed. We had a long a conversation together, and he asked me to hear his confession. He was ready. The next day he left for Gorodok. A few days later he passed away.
His funeral, which gathered over 3,000 faithful and six bishops, has become a triumphal manifestation of love and respect, which he earned with the people.