Recently Departed Marians
Father Władysław Zdaniukiewicz, MIC
08.24.1924 – 05.25.2020
Father Władysław Zdaniukiewicz, MIC, the oldest member of the Polish Province of the Congregation of Marian Fathers passed away in the evening of May 25, 2020, at the St. Stanislaus Hospice in Licheń, Poland.
Father Władysław Zdaniukiewicz, was born on August 24, 1924, in Rakańce in the Vilnius region (Lithuania). In 1944-46, he was imprisoned and sent to labor camps. After returning to his homeland, he went to school in Warsaw and graduated from the four-year junior high. In 1947 he was admitted to the novitiate in Skórzec, upon completing which he made his religious vows on August 15, 1948. He made his seminary courses first in Warsaw, in the district of Praga and in Bielany, and then in Gietrzwałd and Włocławek, where, on June 23, 1957, the local Ordinary, Bishop Antoni Pawłowski ordained him a priest.
Following his ordination, Fr. Władysław served first as the local treasurer at Bielany, and then as a catechist and a vicar of the parish of St. Sigismund in Pola Bielańskie, in Praga, in Głuchołazy, and in Góra Kalwaria.
From 1966, Fr. Władysław served 11 years as the pastor of the Kiwity parish in Warmia, and then, from 1977, as the pastor of the Jegłownik parish, where he initiated the construction of a new church. On September 30, 1982, Fr. Zdaniukiewicz passed his office of parish pastor to his successor, a priest of the diocese of Warmia (Father Władysław Jancza).
In the following years Fr. Władysław worked in Rdzawka and then in Głuchołazy. In 1984, he went to Germany, where he served in the diocese of Augsburg: Vilgertshofen, Stadl, and, from 1989, as a hospital chaplain first in Schongau and then in Pfronten. In 1997, he came back home and was assigned to work at the Shrine of Our Lady of Licheń. From 2002-2005, he served in Sulejówek, from where he was transferred once again to Licheń, where he remained until the end of his life and was buried at the local cemetery.
Eternal rest grant onto him, O Lord,
And may the eternal light shine upon him.
Brother Leonard Konopka, MIC
Brother Leonard Konopka, MIC, a religious brother in the Congregation of Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception of the Most B.V.M., died on Sunday, April 5, 2020 at the Little Sisters of the Poor Jeanne Jugan Residence in Washington, D.C. He was 86.
Born on Aug. 8, 1933, in Detroit, Michigan, Br. Leonard was the youngest of seven children, of whom four became priests or religious.
He entered the Marian novitiate in 1951 and made final vows in 1958. During that time, he helped with the construction of the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, by carving some of the decorative wood pieces.
He was a professed religious for 67 years and spent about 45 of those years in the Washington, D.C., area. He served the community in many different capacities, including provincial councilor, member of the provincial formation committee, and superior of the Stockbridge and Brookeville houses, as well as treasurer and procurator (shopper) in the various communities in which he lived.
In the late 1970s, he helped found the Mother of Mercy Prayer Group at the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy, which continues to gather to the present day. He was also the cofounder of the Marian Home of Prayer, located at our former novitiate in Brookeville, Maryland, and on Oakview Terrace in Washington, D.C. The Home of Prayer provided spiritual healing and retreats and served many people from around the country.
He greatly cared for his confreres and for the many friends of the community, and he helped provide for the upkeep of the Divine Mercy Chapel in Brookeville and the house chapel in Washington, D.C.
Always ready with a smile and a humorous line, Br. Leonard was like a brother to all. He loved classical music, swimming, and sharing meals with families and friends.
Brother Leonard was also an extraordinary promoter of the message of the Divine Mercy. Since around the year 2000, he organized the annual Divine Mercy Sunday celebration at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. He also established a regular Sunday Mass and the praying of the Chaplet of the Divine Mercy at the (then) John Paul II Cultural Center (now the Saint John Paul II National Shrine).
He once shared that what drew him to become a religious brother in the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception was the desire to serve others the way Christ did.
“Service is what I came here for, to be like our Lord,” he said. “I came not to be served but to serve. Everything else is insignificant and passes away or falls apart; but [when it comes to] serving … there’s always a need.”
Reflecting on his role as the shopper for the Washington house, he added, “It’s bigger than [merely] buying food. That’s not the end [goal]. Buying food is the means by which you serve the Church.”
Over the years, his particular responsibilities would come and go.
“The Home of Prayer ended, the novitiate [in Brookeville] closed. But what kept me going was knowing that I was serving Christ through it all,” he said.
In his later years, Br. Leonard faithfully spent a holy hour every evening before the Lord. Earlier in his life, he says, he might have occasionally spent 1.5 or even 2 hours watching TV or a movie. Then, at a certain point, he sensed the Lord asking him, “If you can spend two hours watching a movie, why not spend one hour with me?” From that point onward, he was always faithful to his holy hour and to meditating on the Word of God.
Brother Leonard was a gifted pastoral councilor and spiritual director. Frequently, he would be surprised by the inspirations that the Lord would put on his heart while directing souls. He once said with a sense of wonder, “People show up” for spiritual direction, and helpful words “come out of my mouth.” He attributed this as a gift from the Lord and also to the time that he spent before the Blessed Sacrament.
Brother Leonard was predeceased by his parents, Anthony and Stefanie (Ostafin) Konopka; his brothers, Fr. Edward, Benjamin and Joseph; and his sisters, Helen Saunders and Sr. Edwardine. His sister Sr. Josetta is still living in Ohio. He has 10 nieces and nephews, 16 great-nieces and great-nephews, one great-great-niece and one great-great-nephew.
He was much loved by his family, who enjoyed spending time with him whenever he would visit them in Florida or Detroit. Many friends from different parts of the country, but especially from the Washington, D.C. area, will greatly miss his spirit of loving service and his sense of humor. And the members of his religious community recall with great fondness his Saturday morning eggs, his love for the Washington Redskins, and how he would describe any tasty food as “deadly!” or even “double deadly!”
Despite having been in and out of hospitals and a rehab facility for nearly two months, he was able to be transferred a few days before he died to the Little Sisters’ Residence. There, he received the Anointing of the Sick and, on the day he passed, Holy Communion.
Due to the coronavirus, the funeral Mass and burial at the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy in Stockbridge will be held privately, but the Marian Fathers look forward to celebrating a public memorial service when social distancing restrictions are lifted.
May Br. Leonard’s soul and the souls of all the faithful departed rest in peace.
Fr. Casimir (Kazimierz) Krzyżynowski, MIC
Rev. Casimir (Kazimierz) Krzyżynowski, MIC was born in Lublin, Poland on January 17, 1923. He did his schooling in Lublin and after the occupation of Poland by the Germans in 1939, he moved to Warsaw where he passed his secondary school final exams and began his underground electrical engineering studies at the Polytechnic Institute in Warsaw.
He fought alongside his brother Seweryn with the Polish Patriots in the Warsaw Uprising. In 1944, he became a prisoner of war in a camp in Austria. At the end of the Second World War, he was freed from the Camp by the Americans and he joined the Second Polish Corps under the command of General Władysław Anders. This Corps was under the British Command in Italy. In 1946, he was transferred for the demobilization to England where he continued his studies at the Polytechnic Institute in London. In 1948, he abandoned these studies when he was accepted as a candidate to the Congregation of Marian Fathers there.
In 1949, he went to the United States where he made his novitiate and in 1950, he professed his first religious vows. He then studied philosophy and theology at the Catholic University of America, obtaining a licentiate degree. He professed his final vows in 1954 and was ordained to the priesthood in 1956.
In 1958, he was transferred to Rome. He undertook studies at the Angelicum. At the end of his studies, he received a doctoral degree in Moral Theology. He then became the Assistant to the Postulator General. He wrote the Positio for the beatification cause of our Founder, Saint Stanislaus of Jesus and Mary Papczyński. He also prepared the text for a popular book on the life of the Founder called Under the Banner of Mary Immaculate and later on the Collective Writings of St. Stanislaus in its original Latin version. His lifelong work together with his extensive historical research had a tremendous and undeniable impact on the beatification process of our holy Founder. Father Casimir also served our Community with his deep and well-known knowledge of the Latin language.
From 1975-78 he briefly returned to the United States to serve in the offices of Local Superior and Provincial Secretary in Stockbridge, MA.
He was called back to Rome in 1978 where he also worked on the beatification cause of the Venerable Servant of God, Casimir Wyszynski. Through the years in Rome, he also served as Secretary General, General Councilor and Procurator General. He was a member of the Institute of Marian History and Spirituality.
In 2005, he was transferred to Washington D.C. where he remained until his death. For many years, he contributed to the formation of the novices in the United States by teaching a three-week course on the history and the spirituality of the Marians. Because of failing health, he spent the last year of his life being cared for in the Nursing Home of the Little Sisters of the Poor across the street from the Marian Scholasticate. Being strike with many physical aliments in the last couple of years he bore them patiently and with the submission to God’s will. He died on his 97th Birthday on January 17, 2020.
Father Gabriel Cillo, MIC and our young confreres from the Washington house were with him on January 17th. Fr. Gabriel shared with us a very touching description of the last moments of Fr. Krzyzanowski’s earthly life. At the bedside of Fr. Casimir there was also one of the Little Sisters of the Poor who asked the Marians to say or sing something in Polish. Since nobody from the group could speak Polish, Fr. Gabriel put St. John Paul II praying the Rosary in Polish on YouTube and then tears started coming down Fr. Casimir’s face for a few minutes. After about two decades of the rosary, Fr. Krzyzanowski peacefully departed for the House of the Father precisely at 6:54 PM…
Father Casimir Krzyzanowski will be remembered for his regular religious observance, and for his deep piety to our Blessed Mother and to our holy Father Founder. For many years together with his brother Seweryn, Fr. Casimir would annually obtain food and clothing to help needy families and orphans in his native Poland. It was something that he deeply cared about. In his spare time, he enjoyed reading, listening to music and watching movie musicals on T.V.
May he rest in Peace and may our Founder, Saint Stanislaus – whose sanctity – Fr. Casimir promoted throughout his entire religious life, intercede for him before the throne of our merciful Lord.
Brother Calvin Mpetong Essola, MIC
Brother Jean Calvin Octavian Mpetong Essola, MIC, was born December 24, 1993, in Cameroon. In 2019, he finished his postulancy in Nyakinama, Rwanda, and on July 6, 2019, he started the novitiate. Unfortunately, illness attacked him soon after, and he went to the hospital in Ruhengeri. From there he was transferred to the hospital in Kigali. In danger of death, he was admitted to his first profession of vows, which he made on August 14, 2019. He died on September 10, 2019, and was buried in the Marian cemetery in Kibeho, Rwanda.
Father Martin Rzeszutek, MIC
Father Martin Rzeszutek, a priest with the Congregation of Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, died Aug. 19, from complications following several strokes.
Remembered as a gentle shepherd of souls, a polyglot, and an avid gardener and birder, he was 93.
Born on Sept. 22, 1925, in Easthampton, Massachusetts, to Frank and Angela Rzeszutek, Fr. Martin was one of nine children.
Following graduation from public high school in Easthampton in 1942, he joined the Marian Fathers and served in many roles and many locations throughout his religious life.
He first moved to the Marian house in Washington, D.C., where he entered the novitiate in preparation for his religious vows. He professed his first religious vows on Aug. 15, 1943.
He received his bachelor’s degree in philosophy from The Catholic University of America in May, 1948. He then was sent to Rome, where he received his licentiate degree in theology at the Angelicum in 1951.
He was ordained to the priesthood in Rome on Oct. 7, 1951.
Immediately following his ordination, he returned to Washington, D.C. His duties included preaching missions in parishes in the Eastern part of the United States. In 1956, he was assigned to the Marian house in Stockbridge, serving various administrative and pastoral positions.
In 1958-59, he was assigned to the Marian Mission House in Detroit, where he would continue preaching missions in the Midwest until 1965.
He then returned to Stockbridge and served as secretary and first counselor of what was then called the St. Stanislaus Kostka Province. He served in these roles until 1969, when he was sent once again to Rome. There he served as secretary general for the Marian Congregation worldwide.
He then served as superior of the Marian Scholasticate in Washington, D.C., before being assigned to the Marian monastery in Balsamao, Portugal. In the 1980s, he served in Fatima, Portugal, as director of the Marians’ pilgrimage center there.
He was then assigned to Stockbridge in the early 1990s, where he ministered at the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy and served various administrative roles.
In the early 1990s, he was assigned to Brookville, Maryland, the Marians’ novitiate at the time. Then, in 1996, he was assigned to Bernalillo, New Mexico, to serve at the Southwest Divine Mercy Center. That assignment lasted until 2003, when he returned to Stockbridge.
He remained in Stockbridge for the rest of his life. He was known as a great confessor. He spoke many languages, including Polish, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, and German. He was a gifted proofreader and writer and contributed to many of the Marians’ publishing projects.
With farming skills honed in his youth, he grew vegetables on the Marians’ Eden Hill property in Stockbridge. Through last fall, he could be found in the orchard picking apples for pies that he would bake for friends and fellow Marians.
He was a promotor of blue birds. He would give homemade bluebird boxes to anyone who had land conducive to a bluebird habitat. He maintained dozens of boxes throughout the Eden Hill property.
Father Martin is survived by his sister Helen Yagodzynski of Hatfield, Mass. He is predeceased by his sisters Mariana Wozniak, Sophie Dusreane, Mary Yamer, and Josephine Rzeszutek, and his brothers Joseph, Stanley, and Walter.
Father Jazeps Sitnieks, MIC
Father Józeps Sitnieks, MIC, a member of the Latvian Vicariate, died in the morning of July 19, 2019, in Daugavpils (Latvia). He was 82 years old; a religious for 31 years, and a priest for 26.
Father Jazeps was born on February 11, 1937, in Rimsani (Latvia). He joined the Congregation in his mature years and made first vows on November 17, 1988, and perpetual vows on October 2, 1991. Previously he worked as a text editor on television and a publishing house.
He was ordained to the priesthood on June 13, 1993, following which he was appointed the treasurer of the diocesan seminary in Riga and fulfilled these duties for some time. Later he served as pastor of the parish in Jurmala and then in Vilani, holding at the same time the office of the house superior. From 1999 to 2005, he was the superior of the former Latvian Province of our Congregation, while in the years 2010-2013 he was the spiritual father of the Major Seminary in Riga.
In recent years, until his dying day, he served as a vicar in our parish in Daugavpils.
Funeral ceremonies will take place in the church of St. Michael in Vilani on July 22 at 11:00 am, following which the body will be buried in the Marian cemetery near the church.
Father Wiktor Krawczyk, MIC
09.18.1930 – 03.13.2019
Father Wiktor Krawczyk, MIC, son of Stanisław and Weronika née Godyl, was born on Sept. 18, 1930, in Giżyce, Diocese of Włocławek, district of Kalisz, Poland.
After graduating from elementary school in Giżyce. In 1945, he began studying at the three-year Secondary Vocational School in Grabów-on-Prosna, learning tailoring at the same time, where he received his middle school certificate, in 1949. Admitted to our Congregation, in 1949-50, he completed his novitiate in Skórzec, and, on Aug. 15, 1950, he made his first religious vows.He was sent to study at the scholasticate in Bielany, where he completed his 9th and 10th grades in 1950-52. Upon completing his 11th high school grade at the Marian house in Praga, he received his high school diploma in 1953. Also that year, he made his perpetual profession in Skórzec.
He studied at the seminary in Bielany (1953-54 – first year philosophy), then in Gietrzwałd (1954-56 – second year philosophy and theology) and in Włocławek (1956-59), where he was ordained to the priesthood on June 22, 1958, by Antoni Pawłowski, Ordinary Bishop of the Włocławek Diocese. In 1959-60, Father Wiktor took a course of theology (tirocinium) at the Franciscans Conventual in Krakow.
Father Wiktor’s first pastoral assignment took him to Skórzec, where he served as a catechist and assistant in pastoral ministry. Transferred to Głuchołazy, from 1961-64 he fulfilled similar duties there. Posted to our religious house in Warsaw-Praga, Father Krawczyk from 1964-65 served as a parish vicar at the local parish of Our Lady of Lourdes. In the following year he worked in Grudziądz as a catechist and assistant in pastoral work; and for the next five years (1966-1971) he performed the same duties in Warsaw-Marymont. Transferred again to Praga, he worked as a catechist in 1971-72.
In 1972, he was sent to work in Argentina. After returning to Poland in 1973, he became a catechist and assistant in pastoral ministry at our church in the Puszcza Mariańska [Marian Forest]. In 1974-81, he worked in Elbląg as a youth chaplain. Then, from 1981-86, he was a priest in Głuchołazy, also serving during his first four years there as the house superior. From 1986-87, he assisted in the pastoral ministry at Stegny, and from 1987-90, he was the house superior and treasurer in Goźlin as well as the local pastor.
After completing his term in the office of local superior in 1990, he was transferred to the Shrine of Our Lady of Licheń as a preacher and confessor. From 1999-2002, he served at the rector church of Saint Francis Xavier in Grudziądz. In 2002, he was transferred back to the Licheń house and assigned to work at the shrine. The last years of his life were marked by worsening health, which he bore with meekness and humility. He died in the hospital in Konin on March 13, 2019.
Father Jerome Anthony Zalonis, MIC
06.27.1932 – 01.17.2019
He was born June 27, 1932, in Plymouth, Pennsylvania, son of the late Andrew and Anna Gavenonis Zalonis, and was a 1950 graduate of Plymouth High School. He was also a graduate of LeGrand Seminary, Montreal, Quebec. He was ordained alongside his twin brother, Rev. John Andrew Zalonis, at the Marian Fathers Seminary, Clarendon Hills, Illinois, by Auxiliary Bishop Vincent Brizgys of Kaunas, Lithuania, on May 23, 1959. Rev. Zalonis attended Catholic University in Washington, DC.
He was first assigned to St. Mary’s parish in Plano, Illinois, with his cousin, Rev. Edward Vitchkoski, MIC, in the 1960s. In the 1970s and early 1980s, he was pastor of St. Peter’s Parish in Kenosha, Wisconsin. After St. Peter’s, he was transferred back to St. Mary’s Parish in Plano, Illinois, and St Patrick’s Parish in Bristol, Illinois. Rev. Zalonis lead the project of building a new church for St. Patrick’s in Yorkville, which was dedicated in 2002. Upon retirement, he moved to Marian House at the Marianapolis Preparatory School in Thompson, Connecticut, and then to the Matulaitis Nursing Home in Putnam, Connecticut.
Rev. Jerome Anthony Zalonis, MIC, passed away on Thursday, January 17, 2019, at 11:24 P.M. in the Day Kimball Hospital in Putnam, Connecticut. He devoted almost 60 years of his life in service to the Marians and the people of his parishes. Fr. Jerry lived a full life during his 86 years. He was an avid fisherman, an accomplished bowler, and a world traveler. He was a fan of the Chicago Bears, the Chicago White Sox and Notre Dame Football. He loved being involved in both St. Mary’s and St. Peter’s schools, and he especially enjoyed the children’s Masses and Christmas programs. In addition to his parents, he was predeceased by his twin, Fr. Jack, in Hartford, Connecticut, in 1996, and his cousin, Fr. Ed in Chicago, Illinois, in 1990. Fr. Jerry will be dearly missed by his sister, Sally McGovern and her husband William of Bardstown, Kentucky; nephew Andrew McGovern of Bardstown, Kentucky; niece Maggie McGovern and her husband, Steve Pierce of Georgetown, Indiana; great niece Cecilia McGovern, and great nephew, Jack McGovern. A Mass of Christian Burial was held Friday at 11AM in St. Patrick’s. Interment was in St. Casmir Lithuanian Cemetery, Chicago, Illinois. May he rest in Peace!
Father Zbigniew Wąsiniak, MIC
08.28.1950 – 12.26.2018
We received the information from Licheń about the death of Fr. Zbigniew Wąsiniak, MIC, which was caused by a grave illness. He passed away at our religious house in Licheń Stary on Dec. 26, 2018.
Father Zbigniew was born in Głuchołazy, in the diocese of Opole, Poland. He made his first vows on Aug. 15, 1974, in Skórzec near Siedlce, and made his perpetual profession on Aug. 15, 1977 in Góra Kalwaria. On June 4, 1978, in Głuchołazy, Bishop Antoni Adamiak, the Auxiliary Bishop of Opole, ordained him to the priesthood.
Following his ordination, Father Zbigniew worked at various Marians’ posts in throughout Poland, such as Skórzec, Warsaw-Praga, Warsaw-Marymont, Lublin, Elbląg, and Licheń. He stayed the longest in Licheń, where he spent 21 years serving in pastoral ministry at the local shrine in his capacity of a confessor and preacher, while also assisting the house treasurer.
Father Zbigniew was 68 years of age, a member of our Congregation for 44 years and a priest for 40.
On Saturday, Dec. 29, 2018, the solemnity of his Christian burial begun at 1:30pm at Saint Dorothy Church in Licheń Stary with the recitation of the Rosary. At 2:00pm funeral Mass was celebrated, following which the body of the Deceased was transported for interment to the Marian section of the local cemetery. Please pray for the late Father Zbigniew, as well as for new vocations to the Marian religious community.
Father Lucjan Łada, MIC
02.26.1938 – 10.23.2018
Father Lucjan Łada, son of Władysław and Marianna (n. Gosk), was born on Feb. 26, 1938, in the town of Łady Borowe, district of Zambrów, in the diocese of Łomża, Poland. He completed his first four grades of school in his native village, and the following three in the town of Puchały, after which he continued his education at the high school in Zambrów. Upon completing his eighth year of school, he applied for admission to our Congregation. However, since the Congregation no longer had a minor seminary, Lucjan returned to his high school, which he left upon completing his ninth year to transfer to a working peoples’ high school in Zambrów, where he made his 10th and 11th grades, and then re-applied for admission and was accepted into our Congregation in 1956. In 1956-57, he did his novitiate in Skórzec, and on Aug. 15, 1957, he made his first vows. Next, he was assigned to our religious house in Głuchołazy and dispatched to finish his education at the high school for working people, where he obtained his high school certificate. From 1958-60, he studied philosophy in Warsaw-Praga, and in 1960 was transferred to work at our religious house in Licheń.
From 1961-65, Br. Lucjan was taking theology courses at the Major Seminary in Włocławek. He made his perpetual vows on Aug. 15, 1963, at the Shrine of Our Lady of Peace in Stoczek Klasztorny. On June 20, 1965, Bishop Antoni Pawłowski, Ordinary of Włocławek, ordained him to the priesthood at the Cathedral Basilica in Włocławek.
Following the ordination, Fr. Lucjan was sent to work in Grudziądz as a pastoral assistant and catechist. In 1968-71, he served in the same capacity at our religious house in Warsaw-Praga. Transferred to the house in Warsaw-Marymont, he worked there during 1971-78, also carrying out duties of the parish vicar since 1972. In 1978, Fr. Lucjan was transferred to Góra Kalwaria and entrusted with the duties of the youth minister. Next, in 1979, he was moved to the Kiwity residence of our religious house in Stoczek and named the 2nd house councilor (1979-81), as well as the parish administrator. In 1983, the provincial government surrendered the parish to the local diocesan Ordinary, and Fr. Lucjan was appointed to work pastorally in Puszcza Mariańska, where he served as the local superior (1983-1993), house treasurer, and parish pastor (1983-1996), as well as – from 1993 – 1st house councilor. In Puszcza Mariańska Fr. Lucjan dedicated himself to the repair works on the parish church and organized the construction of a pastoral center in Waleriany. In 1993, the parish church in Puszcza Mariańska burned down; only the presbytery was saved, which is now used as a chapel. Father Lucjan started the construction of a new church in Puszcza Mariańska. In 1996, he was transferred to Korzystno-Grzybów and named parish pastor and 1st house councilor, as well as – from 1999 – house treasurer.
In 2000, Fr. Lucjan was appointed to serve on the Provincial Committee for the Apostolate. Transferred to Warsaw-Praga in 2001, Fr. Lucjan was named pastor of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish and custodian of the Diocesan Shrine of the Sick. In 2002, he was appointed 1st house councilor.
In 2006, Fr. Lucjan went to serve as a preacher and confessor at the Shrine of Our Lady of Licheń. As long as his health allowed, he was glad to run retreats. However, in recent years his deteriorating health forced him to give up pastoral work. He passed away at the hospital in Konin, on Oct. 23, 2018.
Brother Antonio dos Reis Fernandes, MIC
(12.24.1930 – 01.16.2018)
Brother Antonio dos Reis Fernandes, MIC, was born Dec. 24, 1930, in Vale de Pena – Vimioso, in the northeast part of Portugal. From an early age, he felt a call to the consecrated life, and with this desire in his heart he started working as a servant in the House of Bishop Bragança, Dom Abílio Vaz das Neves. The bishop introduced Antonio to Fr. Marian Wiśniewski, MIC, who came to the Seminary of the diocese of Bragança on May 10, 1949, in order to facilitate the Marians’ return to Portugal. Under the spiritual direction of Fr. Marian Wiśniewski, young Antonio asked to join the Congregation of Marian Fathers, and –after Fr. Jan Szurek, MIC, arrived in Portugal, in August 1953, – Antonio became a member of the first reinstated Marian community in Portugal; for several months he lived in the diocesan seminary in Bragança. On Feb. 2, 1954, he arrived in Chacim with the above-mentioned Polish priests to take part in the reconstruction work of the monastery in Balsamão. On May 1, 1954, the community took up residence near the tomb of the Venerable Servant of God Fr. Casimir Wyszyński. On Dec. 7, 1954, together with his cousin, Antonio joined the Marian Fathers’ novitiate that opened in Balsamão. In October of 1955, while still in the novitiate, Br. Antonio witnessed the “miraculous” tolling of the bells of the church of Our Lady of Balsamão, which occurred during the exhumation of the Venerable Fr. Casimir’s earthly remains. After a brief leave of absence, Br. Antonio returned to Balsamão in August of 1956, and was re-admitted to the novitiate on May 30, 1957. He made his first vows on May 31, 1958, and three years later – on May 31, 1961 – he made his perpetual profession of vows as the first Portuguese member in the renewed Congregation of Marian Fathers. During the first years of his religious life, Br. Antonio served as a gardener and the monastery’s assistant treasurer, as well as helped with the upkeep of the Marian Fathers’ Minor Seminary of in Balsamão, which opened Oct.24, 1960. In the summer of 1966 Br. Antonio was transferred to Curitiba in Brazil to assist Fr. Bolesław Jakimowicz, MIC, in pastoral work at St. George’s Parish, thus becoming one of the pioneers in establishing the Marians’ presence in Brazil. A few years later he returned to Portugal and continued to serve as the gardener and caretaker of the monastery in Balsamão. In 1983, he was assigned to assist Fr. George Predko, MIC, in setting up the House of Studies in Telheiras in the Lisbon parish of Lumiar, serving there as an assistant treasurer and assistant in pastoral work in the Church of Our Lady of the Gate of Heaven in Telheiras. He then returned to Balsamão, where he lived until his dying day, earning praise for his spirit of service and prayer, his witness to brotherly love that manifested in his visiting the sick and the prisoners, as well as in his hospitality towards the pilgrims and guests coming to the monastery in Balsamão. He died on Jan. 16, 2018, at a hospital in Bragança. May he rest in peace.
Father Gerard Leon Domański, MIC
(03.30.1935 – 01.12.2017)
Father Gerard Leon Domański, son of Antony and Helena nee Marciszewska, was born on March 30, 1935, in Kałuszyn, Poland. In 1940, his family moved to Międzyrzec Podlaski, where he attended school from 1942-48. Admitted to the Marian junior school, he completed two grades in 1948-1950: in the facility at Wileńska Street and at Bielany.
In 1950-51, Fr. Gerard completed his novitiate in Skórzec and made his first religious profession on Aug. 15, 1951. From 1951 to 1952, he continued his education at Bielany, and from 1952 to 1958 he resided at Wileńska Street in Warsaw, where he first obtained his high school certificate in 1954, and then went to study philosophy at the Metropolitan Seminary. From 1956-57, he worked at the parish office. On Aug. 15, 1957, he made his perpetual profession in Gietrzwałd, after which he completed his theology course, and on May 21, 1961, he was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Franciszek Korszyński. The ceremony took place at the Włocławek Basilica.
After his ordination, Fr. Gerard attended a one-year pastoral course at the Institute of Theology run by the Order of Friars Minor Conventual in Krakow. Licheń was his first pastoral posting, where he fulfilled the prefect’s duties from 1962-63. Following, from 1963-65, he assisted with pastoral ministry and was the prefect in Głuchołazy, and then at Marymont in 1965-66. From 1966-1972, Fr. Gerard served in Grudziądz as a catechist and rector of St. Francisl Xavier’s Church. From 1972-73, he was the youth pastor in Praga, a neighborhood of Warsaw.
In October of 1973, Fr. Gerard went to England to minister to the local Polish community there and since 1978 also fulfilling the duty of the provincial secretary. According to the information found in our Elenchuses, starting with 1981, Fr. Gerard resided in our house in Reading, serving the local Polish community. From 1981 to 1987, he was the provincial superior in England and stayed in our religious house in Fawley Court. The year of 1988 saw him recovering from health problems. Starting in 1989, Fr. Gerard served as local superior and pastor in Hereford. From 1994 to 2000, he was the pastor of a Polish-speaking parish in Slough, and from 1995-1999 also as the rector of this residence. In 2000-2001, Fr. Gerard served in London as a vicar and pastoral assistant. In 2001, he asked for permission to spend his sabbatical year in Grudziądz, Poland. At the end of that year, he decided to remain in Grudziądz where he lived until his dying day. Father Gerard passed away on Dec. 1, 2017, at our religious house in Grudziądz.
Father Czesław Szyszko, MIC
(02.10.1936 – 21.09.2017)
Father Czesław Szyszko, son of Ignacy and Agnieszka nee Szymanek, was born on Feb. 10, 1936, in Rudno, in the district of Lubartów, in the diocese of Lublin. After grammar school in Rudno, he went in 1952 to a school in Lubartów, where he completed two years. In 1954, he moved to Lublin, where he took a job and continued his studies at a night school for working people, finishing his studies in 1956. That same year he was admitted to the Marian Fathers’ novitiate in Skórzec.
He made his first religious profession on Sept. 15, 1957. In 1957-58, he attended high school in Nysa, and in 1958-60 he studied philosophy at our Wileńska Street house.
In 1960-61, he interrupted his studies and started working at our Wileńska Street house. In 1961, he was sent to study theology at the Major Seminary in Włocławek. He made his perpetual vows on Aug. 15, 1963, at the shrine of our Lady Queen of Peace in Stoczek Klasztorny, and on June 20, 1965, Bishop Antony Pawłowski, the Ordinary of Włocławek, ordained him to the priesthood at the cathedral basilica in Włocławek.
Even during his vacation time immediately following his ordination, Fr. Czesław served in Góra Kalwaria at first, and then in Miłosna, after which he was transferred to work pastorally and as a catechist in Licheń, starting Sept. 1st. In 1965, he became 2nd house councilor, and in 1967, the house treasurer.
In 1971, Fr. Czesław was dispatched to work at the All Saints Church in Elbląg and appointed the auxiliary vicar for St. Nicholas Parish. In 1972, he became the 1st house councilor in Elbląg.
Starting in 1975, Fr. Czesław carried out the duties of house superior and treasurer in Stoczek Klasztorny, as well as the administrator of the parish in Stoczek. Also from that year on, he was the moderator of the candidates to our Congregation, who were making their postulancy in Stoczek.
In 1981, he was transferred to Goźlin, where he was elected the house superior and also named the pastor of the local parish. In 1984, he was transferred from Goźlin to Skórzec, and entrusted with the duties of the house superior and treasurer. The diocesan authorities appointed him as pastor of the parish in Skórzec. From 1987-90, Fr. Czesław served as the 1st house councilor, and from 1990-96 fulfilled again the functions of the house superior and treasurer.
Transferred to Rdzawka, from 1996-99, he was the house superior and treasurer, as well as the pastor of the local parish.
In 1999, he was moved to Licheń and assigned to work at the shrine of our Lady of Licheń as a preacher and confessor; he also ran parish retreats there. From 1999-2005, he was the 1st house councilor. The provincial government assigned him to run retreats for our young confreres prior to the profession of their solemn vows.
In 2003, the visiting General Superior named Fr. Czesław the local superior in Góra Kalwaria. Having completed this service, he was moved again to Licheń, where he took over his previous duties, as well as elected 4th house councilor. From 2008 – 2011, he was the 2nd house councilor.
During the last years of his life until 2016, Fr. Czesław continued to serve as a confessor in spite of his worsening health. He died on Sept. 21, 2017, in our religious house in Licheń.
Father Francis Jaworski, MIC
(27.06.1924 – 29.06.2017)
Father Francis Jaworski was born on June 27, 1924, in Jawór, in Silesia, Poland. During World War II, the German army forcibly recruited him, since the Polish lands in Silesia were annexed by Germany. After World War II, he entered the Marian Fathers’ novitiate in Hereford, England, and made his first vows of chastity, poverty, and obedience on Aug. 15, 1955, followed by his perpetual profession four years later (Aug. 15, 1958). From 1955-1960, he attended the course of theology at the Ateneum Angelicum in Rome. On July 3, 1960, he was ordained a priest, together with Fr. Jorge Predko († April 4, 2016), at the Benedictine Church of St. Anselm in Rome, by Luigi Cardinal Traglia. In the first two years following his ordination (1960-1962), he worked pastorally in England. On Dec. 21, 1962, he arrived in Balsamão to work in education, at the minor seminary conducted by the Marian Fathers, where he held the office of prefect of discipline (1963-1966), and also taught Latin. From 1966–1969, he was house superior in Balsamão and novice master. In Sept. 1969, Fr. Francis participated in the founding of the minor seminary in Fatima and served as its rector from 1969 to 1972. On Nov. 17, 1972, the Religious House of Our Lady of Fatima was erected, and Fr. Francisco was named its superior and treasurer, which offices he held until 1975. In 1975, Fr. Francisco was transferred to Balsamão as house superior; he carried out this office until 1981. After the General Chapter of 1981, Fr. Francisco was dispatched to work in the United States of America, where, a few years later, he was elected Superior of St. Stanislaus Kostka Province, and fulfilled this function from June 30, 1988 to July 9, 1993. In 1993, he returned to Portugal to administer the pilgrims’ house of São Paulo de Fátima, which had been acquired in 1988. He was a distinguished director of the São Paulo de Fátima house from 1993 to 2005. In Fátima, he also served as Counselor of the Portuguese Vice-Province of St. Mary the Queen (1993–1999, 1999–2005). He was also the Vice-Province treasurer from 1999 to 2005 and the Portuguese Vicariate treasurer of from 2005 to 2010. From 2010 to 2015 he continued to reside at the Fatima house, serving as a counselor of the Portuguese Vicariate from 2010 to 2013, and as chaplain of Dominican Sisters and the Sisters of the Covenant of Our Lady of Fatima. At the end of the year 2015, he was transferred to the Convent of Balsamão, where his state of health began to worsen, and he died at approx. 5:30 p.m. on June 29, 2017, at the Hospital of Macedo de Cavaleiros.
Father Lawrence Patrick Dunn, MIC
(17.08.1942 – 18.05.2017)
Father Larry was born on Aug. 17, 1942 in Brooklyn, New York. He served in the US Navy for four years before being honorably discharged. It was during that time that he experienced the desire to embrace the religious life: One day, while onboard a ship that was anchored off the coast of Haiti, he was deeply moved by the desperation of local children who would dive into shark-infested waters to retrieve coins laughingly tossed into the water by his fellow soldiers. This experience led him to seek to follow the poor Christ and to serve those in material and spiritual poverty. He made his first profession of religious vows with the Marian Fathers on Feb. 2, 1972 and perpetual vows on Dec. 30, 1979. Initially, he felt called to be a permanent brother but, after several years as a brother, he experienced a call to the priesthood and was approved by his superiors to begin his seminary studies. He was ordained a priest on Aug. 1, 1987. Before his priestly ordination, on June 28, 1987, he had the privilege of assisting as the Deacon of the Eucharist (or as his friends and Marian brothers would jokingly say, the “supreme deacon”) alongside Pope St. John Paul II during the Mass of Beatification for the Marian Renovator, Blessed George Matulaitis-Matulewicz.
Father Larry was a much beloved pastor wherever he ministered. He served from 1988-1990 at Our Lady of Grace in Greensboro, North Carolina. He came to Washington, D.C., in 1990. There, he celebrated Mass and heard confessions at the Divine Mercy Chapel, in Brookeville, Maryland, the Malta House Nursing Home in Hyattsville, Maryland, the chapel of the Oblate Sisters of the Most Holy Eucharist, including the Gospa Prayer Group, and he heard confessions regularly at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. When asked what he loved most about priestly ministry in places like the Greensboro Parish, Fr. Larry responded, “The people — I loved the people.”
In addition to his ministries, he provided a cheerful presence in the seminary community in Washington. He worked on the admission board and served for a time as the director of vocations. He would say about the young men applying to the community that the most important quality that he looked for was zeal, “because it’s the one thing you can’t give.” Joking with the members of his community, he would welcome those who had been traveling by patting their back and saying, “Whose back? … Your back!” And when a member would finish his meal, saying, “I’m done,” he would remark, “No you’re not. I’m Dunn!”
Father Larry loved reading about history, especially the Revolutionary War, and he was deeply devoted to St. Joseph and to the Blessed Mother.
Father Larry is buried in the Marian Cemetery on Eden Hill in Stockbridge.
Father Eugeniusz Kamiński, MIC
(23.05.1936 – 30.01.2017)
Father Eugeniusz Kamiński, MIC, son of Konstanty and Marta nee Dzikowska, was born May 23, 1936, in Stajęczyny, parish of Osiek on Vistula, in Lipno district of the Diocese of Włocławek. In 1941, his father was executed by the occupying powers for helping Polish refugees. From 1945-51, Eugeniusz studied at the primary school in Sąsieczno and then continued his education in a high school in Lipno, finishing there his eighth year. In 1952, he was admitted to the Palatine Fathers Lower Seminary in Chełmno, but it was closed down the very same year by the Polish State authorities. From 1953-56, he went to a night middle school for working persons in Torun. After finishing middle school, he was admitted to the novitiate in Skórzec and made his first religious profession on Aug. 15, 1957. In 1957-58, being already a member of the religious house in Głuchołazy, he continued his high school studies in a high school for working persons in Nysa, where he later obtained his certificate. In 1958-60, he did his two-year course of philosophy in Warsaw-Praga, and then served as a sacristan there in 1960-61. From 1961-66, he stydied at the Major Seminary in Włocławek. On Aug. 15, 1963, he made his perpetual profession in Stoczek Klasztorny, and was ordained to the priesthood on June 17, 1966, in Ciechocinek by Bp. Antoni Pawłowski, the Ordinary of Włocławek.
Following the ordination, from 1966-70, he served in Głuchołazy in pastoral ministry and catechization. In 1970, he was transferred to Skórzec, where he took over similar duties. In addition, he was from 1971-81 the parish vicar, and later, from 1975-81, also the local superior. In 1981-87, he was the house superior, house treasurer, and the postulancy moderator in Stoczek Klasztorny, as well as the parish administrator, director of vocations, and a member of the provincial committee on formation. The provincial council also put him in charge of preparations for the coronation of the image of Our Lady of Peace. John Paul II performed the coronation on June 19, 1983, on Jasna Góra. Transferred to Grudziądz, he served from 1987-99 as the pastor of the Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish at Mickiewicz Street, and then, from 1990 to 1999, as the Grudziądz house superior and treasurer. While in the office, he initiated and completed the construction of a filial chapel in Wielkie Lniski. From 1999-2001, he ministered at the shrine of Our Lady of Licheń, and then from 2001-05, was the pastor of Korzystno, residing in Grzybowo and serving as the 1st counselor and local director of vocation there. Following his transfer to Elbląg in 2005, he assisted with pastoral work there and also was the 2nd house, becoming in 2008 the chaplain of the Dr. Aleksandra Gabrysiak Hospice under the invocation of St. George in Elbląg. In 2011, he was transferred to the Grudziądz religious house’s residence at Kościelna Street, and appointed its rector and treasurer. The Ordinary Bishop also appointed him the rector of St. Francis Xavier Church, which duties he carried to the very end of his hard-working life. Father Eugeniusz died at the hospital in Grudziądz, on Jan. 30, 2017. His funeral will take place in Grudziądz on Saturday, Feb. 4, 2017. May he rest in peace.
Father Jorge Predko
(07.15.1934 – 04.04.2016)
Father Jorge Predko was born on July 15, 1934, in Kamień Koszyrski, which at the time belonged to Poland, but now belongs to the Ukraine. During World War II, his family took refuge in England, and it was there that Fr. George spent his childhood and made his intellectual formation. Having discerned his religious vocation in the context of serving Polish immigrants, he entered the Marian Novitiate in Hereford, and on Dec. 8, 1953, made his first vows of chastity, poverty, and obedience, followed three years later by his perpetual profession. From 1955 to 1960, he studied theology at the Angelicum University in Rome. On July 3, 1960, along with Fr. Francisco Jaworski, MIC, he was ordained a priest at the Benedictines’ Church of St. Anselm in Rome, by Cardinal Luigi Traglia. From 1960 to 1962, he worked on his Licentiate Degree in Church History at the Gregorianum. On Oct. 2, 1963, he arrived in Balsamão to do research for Fr. Casimir Wyszynski’s beatification cause, but he soon became involved in educational work at the Marian Fathers’ minor seminary, where he served as Prefect of discipline (1963-1966 and 1969-1970) and rector (1966-1969), in addition to teaching history, geography, physics, chemistry, and Latin. In 1970, Fr. Jorge was transferred to England, where he worked pastorally among the Polish immigrants and assisted at the Divine Mercy Apostolate until 1979. In 1979, Fr. Jorge returned to Portugal and went back to work at the minor seminary in Balsamão. Later he was transferred to Fatima and in 1983 was one of the co-founders of the Marian House of Studies in Telheiras, Lisbon, where he served as Rector of the Major Seminary and curate of the church Our Lady of the Gates of Heaven. Between 1987 and 1989, Fr. George was pastor in Chacim and Gebelim. Later, he was named Superior of the Portuguese Vicariate and was working again in Telheiras, Lisbon. On Sept. 10, 1993, was elected the first Superior of the newly created Portuguese Vice-Province of Santa Maria (erected on June 27, 1993, by the Superior General Fr. Adam Boniecki, MIC). In 1999, Fr. Jorge is reelected Superior of the Vice-Province, he held this post, along with the post of the Telheiras House Superior until 2005, when it he was transferred to Fatima House. From 2005 to 2010, Fr. Jorge was Superior of the Fatima House, where he lived until 2015, when he was transferred to the convent in Balsamão at the end of the year. In early March Fr. Jorge broke his pelvis bone and was admitted to the Bragança Hospital for surgery, but his health began to worsen, and he died around 4:00 a.m. on Apr. 4, 2016.
Father Juozas Petraitis, MIC
(07.16.1922 – 04.03.2016)
Father Joseph Petraitis, MIC was born on July 16, 1922 in Milgaudžiai, Lithuania. He has stated that when he was 8 years old and a “shepherd boy”, he first felt a strong desire to become a priest. He was the son of a Lithuanian farmer. He told the story of his Godmother once taking to Church on a weekday to see if he would be able to make the 7 kilometer walk there and back on Sundays for Mass. He was thrilled to finally be able to attend his first Sunday Mass. He had never heard organ music before and he felt like he was in heaven. His schooling was halted for two years beginning in 1936 because his father had no money to pay for it. He began planning to walk to a Capuchin Monastery 100 kilometers away. Fortunately, he was then able to continue school and he entered the seminary in 1941. After one year, he moved to another seminary but he then had to flee Lithuania along with his mother, sister and two brothers to a refugee camp in northern Germany. He was able to continue his studies at a seminary which was still open in Bavaria. He studied philosophy and German there. Then, along with the other seminarians, he was sent to Italy to complete his studies. He met the Congregation of Marians in Italy in 1945 and made his first vows on October 11, 1947. He was then able to join his family in America. They had been sponsored to come there by an Aunt living in Brooklyn, N.Y. After professing his final vows as a Marian on October 11, 1950, he was ordained to the priesthood in Joliet, Illinois near Chicago on May 22, 1952. He spent 11 years working in the U.S. including six years as the Provincial Secretary. In 1963, he was sent to Argentina to the Marian mission there. He worked as the Parochial Vicar in the Marian Parish in Rosario and in then in Avelleneda. He then served as the Parish Priest in Avellaneda for 17 years. In July, 1984, he was transferred to Adelaide in Australia to work among the Lithuanian Immigrants. He also had a ministry to the Hispanic Catholics in the Diocese. He edited a Bulletin for the Lithuanian Immigrants which was published every two weeks. He died in the Mary MacKillop Nursing Home in Kensington, South Australia near Adelaide on Divine Mercy Sunday, April 3, 2016 at 19:45. Eternal rest grant unto him O Lord. May he rest in peace.
Father Anthony Nockunas, MIC
(06.10.1931 – 02.27.2016)
Father Anthony N. Nockunas, MIC, fortified by the Sacraments of the Church, peacefully passed away on Saturday, February 27, 2016, at the Matulaitis Nursing Home in Putnam, Conn., in the 85th year of his life, 66th year of his religious profession, and 58th of his priesthood. He was born on June 10, 1931, in Lithuania. He was one of eight children and grew up on a farm. In his childhood he experienced the Second World War. He saw his country invaded first by the Russians in 1939, then by the Nazis in 1940, and finally by the Russians in 1944, who not only occupied the country, but initiated a wave of repressions, persecutions and exile. Fr. Anthony escaped the occupation and entered the Marian Congregation. He professed his first vows on August 15, 1950, final vows in 1953, and was ordained a priest in 1957.
His first assignment was to teach French at the Marianapolis Preparatory School, in Thompson, Conn. Then he spent many years as an associate pastor in Kenosha, Wisc., Plano, Ill. Darien, Ill., Worcester, Mass., and in Argentina. He spent several years at the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy, in Stockbridge, Mass., where he celebrated Masses and heard confessions in several languages. Finally, he was assigned to the Marian House in Thompson, Conn., where he continued to hear confessions and offered pastoral care to the sick and the dying.
Fr. Anthony served the community in many capacities. Besides his priestly duties, Fr. Anthony was a teacher, a member of the provincial council and its secretary, and, a member of the Board of Directors at the Draugas Lithuanian Catholic Press Society. Fr. Anthony had a great devotion to Our Immaculate Mother and to St. Joseph, the patron saint of a happy death, whom he invoked frequently for the dying. Always attentive to the spiritual needs of the faithful, Fr. Anthony was a generous dispenser of Christ’s love and mercy, especially as a confessor and spiritual guide.
Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him. May he rest in peace.
Father Czesław Wacław Knozowski, MIC
(10.26.1934 – 01.29.2016)
Father Czesław Wacław Knozowski, MIC, son of Julian and Monica née Żurańska, was born on Oct. 26, 1934, in the village of Wąpiersk in the administrative district of Lidzbark within Działdowo county, in the diocese of Toruń of the Warmian-Masurian voivodeship.
Having finishing elementary school in Wąpiersk in 1948, he studied at the minor seminary of the Fathers Missionaries of the Divine Word in Grupa Górna for two and a half years. From the second semester of his 10th grade, he also attended the high school in Nidzica, where he obtained in 1953 his high-school certificate.
Czesław completed his novitiate in Skórzec and made his first profession of vows on Aug. 15, 1954. In 1954-56, he completed a two-year study of philosophy in Gietrzwałd. In 1956-1957, he worked at the Góra Kalwaria religious house helping on the farm. From 1957-1961, he studied theology at the Major Seminary in Włocławek.
He made his perpetual vows in Stoczek Klasztorny on Aug. 15, 1959. On May 21, 1961, he was ordained to the priesthood in the Cathedral Basilica of Włocławek by the Auxiliary Bishop Franciszek Korszyński. From 1961-1962, Fr. Czesław underwent pastoral internship (tirocinium) conducted by the Franciscan Fathers in Krakow.
His first pastoral assignment – from 1962-1964 – was to serve as a youth catechist in Grudziądz. In 1964, Fr. Czesław went to study pedagogy at the Faculty of Theology of the Catholic University in Lublin, from where he graduated in 1967, having earned a Master’s degree and Licentiate degree upon defending his thesis, The educational impact of self-governing in the life of Bielańska Democracy at the Marian Fathers’ College in Bielany near Warsaw, written under the guidance of Assistant Prof. Stefan Kunowski.
From 1967-71, Fr. Czesław served in Warsaw–Praga as a youth pastor. Transferred back to Grudziądz in 1971, he became the pastoral center administrator at the Immaculate Heart of Mary Church, and in 1976 the first rector of the newly established parish at the same church, where he remained until 1983.
From 1983-87, he was the superior and treasurer of the religious house in Zakopane-Cyrhla as well as the rector of the chapel. In 1984, he became the first pastor of the newly established parish of the Divine Mercy in Zakopane-Cyrhla.
In 1987, he was transferred to Licheń, where he served from 1987-2002 as vicar of the St. Dorothy’s Parish. From 2002, Fr. Czesław worked as a preacher and confessor at the Shrine of our Lady of Licheń.
He died on January 29, 2016, at a hospital in Konin. May he rest in peace.
Father Antoni Łoś MIC
(03.07.1944 – 01.20.2016)
Father Antoni Łoś, son of Marian and Maria née Apiecionek, was born on March 7, 1944, in the Rusaki village of the Udział parish, in the Głębokie district of the Vilnius province. His parents owned and worked on their own farm. From 1948, they had to work on a collective farm (kolkhoz).
Antoni finished elementary school in 1957, and did one year of junior high. In 1958, his parents moved the entire family to Poland. They took up residency at Góra Kalwaria. There, in 1962, Antoni obtained his high school certificate. In July 1962, he was admitted into the Congregation of Marian Fathers.
His first profession of vows took place on August 15, 1963, upon which he was sent to study at the Seminary in Wloclawek. Having completed two years of philosophy, he went to study theology in Lublin, which he finished in 1969, with a Master’s degree in theology, having defended his thesis, The Hour of Christ in Jn 2:4 as interpreted by the Fathers of the Church.
Antoni made his perpetual vows in Skórzec on August 15, 1969. Transferred to the religious house in Stoczek, he served as a catechist. In 1970, he was ordained in Olsztyn first the sub-deacon and then the deacon.
On September 5, 1970, Bishop Bronisław Dąbrowski, FDP, Secretary of the National Conference of Bishops in Poland, ordained him to the priesthood at the parish church in Góra Kalwaria. That year Fr. Antoni was transferred to Licheń to perform catechetical-pastoral duties there; then, in 1971 he went to Skórzec, and in 1974 to Grudziądz.
The Provincial Council granted his request for transferring permanently to the London House of the Eastern Rite. He arrived there in December 1975, and joined the community of the Eastern Rite House, where he was entrusted with the duties of treasurer and house councilor.
In 1978, Fr. Antoni asked to be transferred from the Belarusian House to the Congregation’s English Province, to work among the Polish immigrants. In 1979, he resided at the Washington House, while studying spirituality and deepening his knowledge of English. From 1981 to 1993, he served as the Novice Master in our English Province.
In mid-1993, he petitioned for permission to work in Belarus, which was granted by his superiors. Consequently, he joined his confreres from the Polish Province serving in Belarus. He served as a pastor and 2nd house councilor in Druya, with a residence in Rosica. In 2000, he was moved to the residence in Zhodino as the residence rector, pastoral assistant, 2nd house councilor in Barysau, and also pastor in Krupki. In 2005, he was transferred again to the religious house in Druya, as the parish vicar and 2nd house councilor. In 2012, following the closure of the religious house in Druya, Fr. Antoni was transferred to the religious house in Licheń as a pastoral assistant at the Shrine of Our Lady of Licheń.
He died on January 20, 2016. May he rest in eternal peace.
Father Ireneusz Meller, MIC
(01.03.1935 – 01.03.2016)
Father Ireneusz Meller, MIC, son of Francis and Henrietta née Lipowska, was born on January 3, 1935 in the Dzierzęga village of the Duczymin Parish, in the Przasnysz District of the Diocese of Płock. He completed his elementary school in 1950 in Duczymin, and finished his 8th grade at the Nidzica High School. In 1951 he was admitted to the Marian minor seminary in Warsaw–Bielany, where he finished his 9th grade in 1952, and then asked to be admitted to the novitiate, at the end of which he made his first profession of vows on Aug. 15, 1953. He did the last two grades (10th and 11th) at a high school in Góra Kalwaria in 1954-56, and went to study philosophy at the Warsaw seminary (1956-58). Then he spent a sabbatical year in Stoczek Klasztorny, where he made his perpetual profession of vows on Aug. 15, 1959. After making his perpetual vows, he was sent to study at the seminary in Włocławek. In 1961, his studies were interrupted for a year, and he was sent to Głuchołazy. In 1962, he was transferred to the religious house in Vilnius as a sacristan. From 1964 to 1967, was studied at the Major Seminary in Siedlce. He was ordained to the sub-diaconate on Dec. 17, 1966, to the diaconate on Feb. 18, 1967, and to the priesthood on May 20, 1967, at the cathedral in Siedlce by Wacław Skomorucha, the Auxiliary Bishop of Siedlce.
Skórzec was Fr. Ireneusz’s first assignment after ordination, where he worked as a catechist and assistant in pastoral work. In 1971, he was transferred to Głuchołazy to serve as a catechist and assistant in pastoral work. In addition, the local community elected him the local superior’s vicar, while the Provincial Superior appointed him the house treasurer.
In 1978, he was transferred to Warsaw to serve as a catechist at the religious house on Wileńska Street, and in 1981, he was sent to the house in Jegłownik–Elbląg, where he was appointed a vicar. In 1982, he was transferred to Elbląg as the parish vicar. In 1983, he became the 1st councilor of the Elbląg house. For 23 years Fr. Ireneusz served in various parishes as a catechist, especially of children.
In 1990, he was transferred to Warsaw-Stegny and appointed a chaplain at the Institute. While serving there, Fr. Ireneusz obtained in 1994 a new location for a chapel. In 1999, the Primate of Poland, Cardinal J. Glemp consecrated that chapel.
The director of the Institute of Psychiatry and Neurology petitioned the Provincial Superior for extending Fr. Ireneusz’s assignment with that Institute due to the pastoral methods of interacting with the patients that the latter developed. In May of 2011, the Institute authorities petitioned for another extension of Fr. Ireneusz’s appointment to the office of chaplain at the Institute, which he fruitfully carried out for more than 25 years.
In the last weeks of his life Fr. Ireneusz struggled with an incurable disease. He died on Jan. 3, 2016, on his 81st birthday. May he rest in peace.