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Rev Leon <I>(Kaczka)</I> Kotsko

Rev Leon (Kaczka) Kotsko

Birth
Hazleton, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, USA
Death 21 Oct 1987 (aged 70)
Vancouver, Greater Vancouver Regional District, British Columbia, Canada
Burial Garrison, Putnam County, New York, USA
Plot Tier 2 Row 1 Grave 9
Memorial ID 147921924 · View Source
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Fr. Leon Kotsko, SA
1917-1987



Joseph Albert Kaczinyaki was born in Hazelton, PA on February 22, 1917 to George Kaczinyaki and Angela Soha. Both of his parents were born in Poland. He had eight siblings, five brothers and three sisters. The family name was anglicized to Kotsko when he was six years old. His father was a miner and his mother a housewife.
A graduate of St. Gabriel's Elementary and High School in Hazelton, he came to Graymoor in 1936. Joseph completed the preparation coursework at St. John's Seminary and entered the Novitiate on August 15, 1937 where he received the religious name Leon. Professed a year later, he attended Catholic University in Washington, DC where he earned a Bachelor's Degree in Philosophy in 1942. Subsequently he earned a Licentiate in Sacred Theology from the same institution in 1946.
Leon had taken final vows in August of 1941. He was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop McNamara at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, Washington, DC on February 9, 1946. Ordained with him were six other Atonement Friars: Alexander Beaton, Kenneth Dougherty, Colman Gallacher, Pius Keating, Roger Matzerath and Ralph Thomas.
Leon's first assignment was to St. John's Seminary located at Graymoor. He taught introductory German. He then was appointed to General Maintenance with Fr. John Baptist and Bro. Jerome. During this time he became supervisor of the Graymoor Farm, remarking in his typical fashion, "You have to start at the bottom in order to reach the top." While at the Graymoor Farm he had an accident with a hay mower which removed a portion of his index finger.
He then was assigned to pastoral work in British Columbia. He served parishes in Golden and Field in his first tour of duty there. Leon then went to Lumberton, NC before returning to BC to serve the Catholic Seamen's Club as Chaplain for six years. His language fluency in Polish, and "toothbrush variety " of Russian, German, Spanish and French stood him in good stead in this position. He then returned to parish work in Greenwood and Vancouver.
In 1967, Leon returned to Graymoor as Director of St. Christopher's Inn. His jovial personality was appreciated by both the men and the staff at the time that he was there. He served in this capacity for three years. While at the Inn, he was responsible for renovating space at Matt Talbot Hall and in the Inn itself for expanded services to the men. He did the initial planning for the 30 bed Detoxification Program at Matt Talbot Hall in an era when those services where not available in the area. Leon proposed to the 1970 General Chapter that St Joseph's Novitiate in Saranac Lake become a rehabilitation center for treatment of male alcoholics, a further development of the program at St. Christopher's Inn.
Leon was often called by the Friars, "the Fox." He always coined little epitaphs for people and places. For instance, Graymoor was known as "Silver City", Chappaqua was "the Royal Hunting Lodge" and St. James Friary in Garrison was, "Tomb of Lady Poverty". No one was safe from these statements whether or not they were Superior General or the newest friar to be professed. Everyone at one time or another enjoyed Leon. There was never anything malicious or hurtful about his sayings.
He returned to Canada and the Vancouver Archdiocese in 1970 and had assignments in Cloverdale, White Rock, and Langley. His last position was as pastor of the Church of the Holy Cross in Burnaby which he built and of Guardian Angels Church in Vancouver which he had renovated. In his eulogy, Agnellus Pickelle, SA, a personal friend for many years and a fellow Canadian missionary, stated that "wherever he was assigned, he worked with great diligence and untiring zeal". Agnellus enumerated the places the Fr. Leon had labored in "which stand as mute testimony to his memory".
A tribute published at the time of his death in the British Columbia Catholic recalled Leon as a man of matchless wit, selfless dedication and peerless integrity who hid behind a reserved and sometimes abrupt exterior. Leading people to God, bringing them together as a family, administering the sacraments and celebrating Eucharist were of utmost importance to Fr. Kotsko. Indeed, to honor his memory in 1989 the Holy Cross Parish 25th Anniversary Scholarships for post secondary education were renamed the "Father Leon J. Kotsko, SA Memorial Scholarships".
Fr. Leon died in his sleep on October 21, 1987 in Western Canada, a week after suffering a heart attack. His funeral arrangements were a little different than most friars. His funeral Mass, at the Holy Cross Church in Burnaby, British Columbia, which he had built, was preached by Fr. Agnellus Pickelle. On October 25th, Sunday evening a Wake Service was held at Guardian Angels Church in Vancouver, British Columbia and on Monday, October 26 there was celebrated the Mass of the Resurrection at Holy Cross Church at Burnaby, BC, where he had been pastor for some time. The Archbishop of Vancouver, His Grace Archbishop James F. Carney presided and Carmen Giuliano, Superior General was celebrant with Agnellus Pickelle, again preaching the eulogy.

Credit: Franciscan Friars of the Atonement Newsletter.


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Leon Kotsko, SA
1917-1987



Joseph Albert Kaczinyaki was born in Hazelton, PA on February 22, 1917 to George Kaczinyaki and Angela Soha. Both of his parents were born in Poland. He had eight siblings, five brothers and three sisters. The family name was anglicized to Kotsko when he was six years old. His father was a miner and his mother a housewife.
A graduate of St. Gabriel's Elementary and High School in Hazelton, he came to Graymoor in 1936. Joseph completed the preparation coursework at St. John's Seminary and entered the Novitiate on August 15, 1937 where he received the religious name Leon. Professed a year later, he attended Catholic University in Washington, DC where he earned a Bachelor's Degree in Philosophy in 1942. Subsequently he earned a Licentiate in Sacred Theology from the same institution in 1946.
Leon had taken final vows in August of 1941. He was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop McNamara at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, Washington, DC on February 9, 1946. Ordained with him were six other Atonement Friars: Alexander Beaton, Kenneth Dougherty, Colman Gallacher, Pius Keating, Roger Matzerath and Ralph Thomas.
Leon's first assignment was to St. John's Seminary located at Graymoor. He taught introductory German. He then was appointed to General Maintenance with Fr. John Baptist and Bro. Jerome. During this time he became supervisor of the Graymoor Farm, remarking in his typical fashion, "You have to start at the bottom in order to reach the top." While at the Graymoor Farm he had an accident with a hay mower which removed a portion of his index finger.
He then was assigned to pastoral work in British Columbia. He served parishes in Golden and Field in his first tour of duty there. Leon then went to Lumberton, NC before returning to BC to serve the Catholic Seamen's Club as Chaplain for six years. His language fluency in Polish, and "toothbrush variety " of Russian, German, Spanish and French stood him in good stead in this position. He then returned to parish work in Greenwood and Vancouver.
In 1967, Leon returned to Graymoor as Director of St. Christopher's Inn. His jovial personality was appreciated by both the men and the staff at the time that he was there. He served in this capacity for three years. While at the Inn, he was responsible for renovating space at Matt Talbot Hall and in the Inn itself for expanded services to the men. He did the initial planning for the 30 bed Detoxification Program at Matt Talbot Hall in an era when those services where not available in the area. Leon proposed to the 1970 General Chapter that St Joseph's Novitiate in Saranac Lake become a rehabilitation center for treatment of male alcoholics, a further development of the program at St. Christopher's Inn.
Leon was often called by the Friars, "the Fox." He always coined little epitaphs for people and places. For instance, Graymoor was known as "Silver City", Chappaqua was "the Royal Hunting Lodge" and St. James Friary in Garrison was, "Tomb of Lady Poverty". No one was safe from these statements whether or not they were Superior General or the newest friar to be professed. Everyone at one time or another enjoyed Leon. There was never anything malicious or hurtful about his sayings.
He returned to Canada and the Vancouver Archdiocese in 1970 and had assignments in Cloverdale, White Rock, and Langley. His last position was as pastor of the Church of the Holy Cross in Burnaby which he built and of Guardian Angels Church in Vancouver which he had renovated. In his eulogy, Agnellus Pickelle, SA, a personal friend for many years and a fellow Canadian missionary, stated that "wherever he was assigned, he worked with great diligence and untiring zeal". Agnellus enumerated the places the Fr. Leon had labored in "which stand as mute testimony to his memory".
A tribute published at the time of his death in the British Columbia Catholic recalled Leon as a man of matchless wit, selfless dedication and peerless integrity who hid behind a reserved and sometimes abrupt exterior. Leading people to God, bringing them together as a family, administering the sacraments and celebrating Eucharist were of utmost importance to Fr. Kotsko. Indeed, to honor his memory in 1989 the Holy Cross Parish 25th Anniversary Scholarships for post secondary education were renamed the "Father Leon J. Kotsko, SA Memorial Scholarships".
Fr. Leon died in his sleep on October 21, 1987 in Western Canada, a week after suffering a heart attack. His funeral arrangements were a little different than most friars. His funeral Mass, at the Holy Cross Church in Burnaby, British Columbia, which he had built, was preached by Fr. Agnellus Pickelle. On October 25th, Sunday evening a Wake Service was held at Guardian Angels Church in Vancouver, British Columbia and on Monday, October 26 there was celebrated the Mass of the Resurrection at Holy Cross Church at Burnaby, BC, where he had been pastor for some time. The Archbishop of Vancouver, His Grace Archbishop James F. Carney presided and Carmen Giuliano, Superior General was celebrant with Agnellus Pickelle, again preaching the eulogy.


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Father Leon Kotsko was a member and son of the Saint Stanislaus Parish in Hazleton, Pennsylvania and became a Missionary at the Graymoor Monastery in New York. Father Leon was born in Hazleton, Pa. and named Joseph Albert Kaczinyaki on February 22, 1917 to George (Wojciech) Kaczinyaki and Angela Soha (Socha) and had eight siblings, five brothers and three sisters.

The family name was anglicized to Kotsko when he was six years old. His father was a miner and his mother a housewife. He graduated from St. Gabriel's Elementary School and Hazleton High School and became a Graymoor Friar in 1936 where he received his religious name Leon and took final vows in August of 1941.

Father Leon died in his sleep in 1987 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada a week after suffering a heart attack and his funeral Mass was at the Holy Cross Church in Burnby, British columbia Which he had built. Father Leon was laid to rest in the Friar's Cemetery at the Graymoor Monastery, Garrison, New York.

The above information was provide by the Graymoor Monastery for which I am forever grateful.

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FATHER LEON KORSKO
Born in Hazeltown, Pennsylvania, Father Leon, as everyone called him, came to Guardian Angels in August of 1984, after starting his career in Field and Golden, B.C. in 1948 and being assigned to places such as North Carolina, Greenwood, B.C., St. paul's Parish on East Cordova Street, Vancouver and St. Christopher's Inn for homeless men in Graymoor, New York.

Father Leon was a Franciscan of the Order of the Friars of the Atonement. His earlier work in Vancouver included the development of the Seamen's Centre, which welcomed seamen from around the world. He was very much a builder, responsible for the remodelling design for the entire sanctuary as described in the previous chapter and initiating the renovations in the rectory basement whic would be finished under his successor. He also initiated the custom of the recessional and the priest greeting people at the door as they left the church. He said he wanted to get to know every parishioner personally. He died suddenly in October, 1987, at age 70.




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  • Maintained by: Bro. Timothy F. MacDonald, SA
  • Originally Created by: Larry
  • Added: 16 Jun 2015
  • Find A Grave Memorial 147921924
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Rev Leon (Kaczka) Kotsko (22 Feb 1917–21 Oct 1987), Find A Grave Memorial no. 147921924, citing Friars Cemetery at Graymoor, Garrison, Putnam County, New York, USA ; Maintained by Bro. Timothy F. MacDonald, SA (contributor 46808750) .