Fr. Leonard Pakulski, OFM Conv., son of Joseph and Mary (Lewandowski) Pakulski, was born on August 6, 1894, in Baltimore, MD. His primary education was at the parochial school of St. Casimir, Baltimore, and his secondary training was at St. Francis College, Trenton, NJ. After his secondary education, he approached the Superiors of the Conventual Franciscans and asked the possibility of his entrance into their community to study for the priesthood. The Major Superiors approved and sent him to Syracuse, NY, where in the Novitiate of the Immaculate Conception Province, he professed his simple vows on August 18, 1915. After his college and philosophical training at St. Anthony-on-Hudson, Rensselaer, NY, he was sent to the Seraphic College of St. Bonaventure in Rome, Italy, for his theological studies. He was ordained to the Priesthood on April 1, 1922. In his Conventual ministry, Fr. Leonard was assigned to the missionary and parochial apostolates. In 1930, he was assigned to the Mission Band of the Province with Fr. Remigius Hupenthal, living in residence at St. Adalbert Friary, Elmhurst, NY. From 1933 until the time of his death on April 1, 1966, he served with much success as a Pastor. From Ash Wednesday, march 2, 1933 until 1935, as the first Franciscan Pastor of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish in New Bedford, MA. It was a trying and difficult experience for Fr. Leonard, as the Parish was faced with a debt in excess of $130,000.00. From 1935 to 1963, Fr. Leonard assumed the duties of pastor at mater Dolorosa Church, Holyoke, MA. With the approach of the Golden Jubilee of the parish in 1951, the interior of the church underwent a complete restoration. His last achievement in Holyoke came in the 1950's when the educational facilities were improved, the Convent for the Franciscan Sisters of St. Joseph was constructed and a magnificent school was built. During his tenure as Pastor, the magnificent choir was especially noted in the region, with their inspirational renditions attracting parishioners and non-parishioners alike to the services. After 28 years of laborious work at Mater Dolorosa, Fr. Leonard was appointed to the pastorate of St. Anthony of Padua Church in Willimansett (Chicopee), MA. Fr. Leonard was truly a Friar who cared for the souls entrusted to his care. He was attentive to office calls and he involved himself in meeting the needs and solving the problems of the parishioners. He seldom took his vacation outside the parish limits, but occasionally spent his leisure time at Lake Metacomet in Belchertown, MA. Finally, one should note Fr. Leonard's concerned attitude towards the school children. Once, when informed only a week before Christmas that the Mater Dolorosa School must be closed because of hazardous conditions, he worried where the children could complete the school year. After searching and inquiring, he was relieved when the Mayor of Holyoke came to his aid by housing all the students in the city school. Fr. Leonard worked as a loyal Friar until his death on March 1, 1966, when he entrusted his soul to God in the 72nd year of his life, 51st of his Profession and 44th of his Priesthood. A concelebrated Liturgy of Christian Burial was offered by Bishop Christopher J. Weldon at St. Anthony of Padua Church, Chicopee, MA, in the presence of religious, diocesan clergy, members of his family and a large number of parishioners from the parishes of Mater Dolorosa and St. Anthony of Padua. The mortal remains of Fr. Leonard were laid to rest in Mater Dolorosa Cemetery, South Hadley, MA in the Franciscan Plot (No. 8).
Gravesite Details Conventual Franciscan priest
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