Fr. Theodore Kaczmarek, OFM Conv., son of Francis and Anna (Szulec) kaczmarek, was born on September 20, 1891, in Maspeth, NY. His elementary education was at St. Adalbert Parish School and his secondary training was at Newtown High School, Elmhurst. After much deliberation and consideration, he expressed his wish to enter the community of the Conventual Franciscans and was sent to Syracuse, NY. There he made his Novitiate in the Province of the Immaculate Conception, professing his first vows on August 11, 1912. His philosophical and theological studies were at St. Anthony-on-Hudson, Rensselaer, NY. He was ordained to the priesthood on May 17, 1918, by Bishop William T. Russell in the Chapel of the Redemptorist Seminary, Esopus, NY. Fr. Theodore centered his Conventual ministry around the parochial apostolate, and he first served in St. Theresa Parish, Rochester, NY and St. Adalbert Parish, Elmhurst, NY. On July 12, 1925 Fr. Theodore was appointed to the pastorate of Mater Dolorosa Church, Holyoke, MA. At the outset of his administration, he purchased the property and buildings of the adjoining French Parish and planned to transfer the parish headquarters and church to a different quarter of the city for the convenience of the people. He remodeled the purchased building into fifteen additional classrooms and a spacious auditorium. At the time of the formal opening, the auditorium was considered the Social Center of the City of Holyoke. On April 4, 1933, a fire broke out and caused considerable damage to the auditorium. IN a short span of time, it was restored as a beehive of activity for the parish gatherings. Fr. Theodore purchased a tract of land for the organization of a new daughter parish of St. Anthony of Padua in Willimansett (Chicopee), MA. In 1935 Fr. Theodore was entrusted the task of organizing the present St. John Kanty Parish, Clifton, NJ. Originally a Mission of St. Joseph Parish in Passaic, NJ, services were held in the Public School No. 13 on Van Houten Avenue in Clifton. On October 16, 1935, the Bishop of Newark, the Most Reverend Thomas J. Walsh, determined that the Mission Church was to become a distinct Parish. Soon a hall was rented, remodeled and used for services. A fund raising campaign began in May, 1936, and the first services were celebrated in the new church on Christmas Day, 1936. The new church was solemnly dedicated by the Most Reverend Thomas J. Walsh on May 18, 1937. In 1940 the parish rectory was built. In 1948, Fr. Theodore was transferred and appointed pastor of St. Anthony of Padua Church, Fairfield, CT. His stay in Fairfield was brief, but he liquidated all debts on the church property and purchased a residence for the teaching Sisters of St. Joseph. Fr. Theodore returned to his native parish of St. Adalbert, Elmhurst, NY, where he rendered ministerial assistance as he was able. It was in Elmhurst that he ended his earthly life on April 11, 1975 in the 84th year of his age, 63rd of his Profession and 57th of his Priesthood.
The Liturgy of Christian Burial was celebrated at St. Adalbert's on April 15, 1975, and his mortal remains were laid to rest in St. John's Cemetery, Middle Village, NY (Friars' Plot, 3F, 39, No.6.)
Gravesite Details Conventual Franciscan priest
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