Father Donald Kos, native of Mater Dolorosa Parish, named to Vatican post
(Photo courtesy of St. Anthony of Padua Province)
SPRINGFIELD – Conventual Franciscan Father Donald Kos, a graduate of Mater Dolorosa School in Holyoke and member of the former Mater Dolorosa Parish there, was appointed judicial vicar of the Ecclesiastic Tribunal of Vatican City State.
The appointment, made by Pope Francis, was announced June 3 by the Vatican Information Service.
Father Kos was born in Webster, Mass., on Sept. 18, 1936, the son of Joseph and Sophie (Rybak) Kos. He graduated from the former St. Jerome High School in Holyoke in 1953. He made his first profession of vows as a Conventual Franciscan on Aug. 15, 1954 and his solemn profession of vows on Sept. 23, 1957. He was ordained to the priesthood on Dec. 23, 1961 in the Basilica of the Twelve Apostles in Rome, Italy.
Father Kos earned a degree in philosophy at St. Bonaventure University in New York; a degree in sacred theology at Pont/St. Bonaventure in Rome; and canon law degrees at Lateran University and the Roman Rota, both in Rome.
Father Kos has served his entire ministry in Rome, beginning with his appointment to the General Curia, Sancti Apostoli and most recently, as procurator general which is “a position of authority indicating that this individual is entrusted with all dealing with the Vatican – communication, permissions, seeking any dispensations, legal interpreter,” said Conventual Franciscan Father Richard-Jacob Forcier, secretary of the St. Anthony of Padua Province in Ellicott City, Md.
But in spite of Father Kos’ experience in the highest realms of the church hierarchy, “He’s a very humble man. He’s never let that job go to his head,” said Conventual Franciscan Father Michael Zielke, pastor of St. Stanislaus Bishop and Martyr Basilica Parish in Chicopee.
Father Zielke said that Father Kos’ recent appointment to the Ecclesiastic Tribunal “shows his dedication to the church and to his community. It shows that he is taking seriously the call of St. Francis to be of service.”
And although he has ministered in Rome for the last 51 years, Father Kos returns home to Holyoke each summer, where he visits with family and friends and continues to serve his Franciscan community by saying Mass at the residence of the Franciscan Missionary Sisters of Assisi in Holyoke.