Father Marion Tolczyk, former pastor of St. Stanislaus Basilica, dies at 86
CHICOPEE – Conventual Franciscan Father Marion Tolczyk, 86, longtime rector of St. Stanislaus Bishop and Martyr Basilica, here, died Sept. 6 at Mount St. Vincent Care Center in Holyoke.
Born Sigismund Tolczyk in Bridgeport, Conn., on March 1, 1927, son of the late Bronislaw and Eleanor (Szczepanek) Tolczyk, he took the name Marion upon entry into the novitiate of the Franciscan Friars Conventual. He completed his novitiate at St. Lawrence Friary, in Becket, from 1945-46.
He professed his simple vows as a Franciscan friar on Aug. 15, 1946, and his solemn vows on Aug. 15, 1949. He was ordained to the priesthood by Springfield Bishop Christopher Weldon, at St. Michael’s Cathedral in Springfield on June 24, 1954.
He attended St. Bonaventure University and St. Joseph Cupertino Seminary from 1946 to 1950. He completed theological studies at St. Hyacinth Seminary in Granby in 1954. He earned a master of science degree in education at Canisius College, Buffalo, N.Y. in 1966.
Many of his ministerial assignments were in high schools and parishes. From 1954-1955, he was assistant pastor at St. Michael Parish, Bridgeport. From 1955-1959, he was assistant pastor at St. Stanislaus Parish Chicopee. In the years 1959-1969, he was teacher, prefect, vice principal and principal of St. Francis High School, Athol Springs, N.Y.
He worked in the administration of St. Anthony of Padua Province as vicar provincial and secretary from 1969-1973. He also was vicar provincial and pastor of St. Adalbert Church, Elmhurst, N.Y. He served as minister provincial of St. Anthony of Padua Province from 1976-1982.
From 1982-1991 he returned to St. Stanislaus Parish in Chicopee. It was during his time there that the church received recognition as a minor basilica in 1991.
He served as pastor of Sacred Heart Parish, Danbury, Conn., from 1991-1994. He received a sabbatical year in Poland from 1994-1995. Using the skills he learned during his sabbatical year, he became only the third director in the 69-year history of the Father Justin Rosary Hour from 1995-2002.
In the latter part of his life, he worked as parochial vicar at St. Paul Parish Kensington, Conn., from 2002-2005, and he returned to Chicopee and worked part-time at St. Stanislaus Bishop and Martyr Basilica Parish, while residing at the St. Hyacinth Senior Friars House. When he was no longer able to be cared for there, he entered into Mount St. Vincent Care Center in Holyoke.
He is survived by his sisters, Helen Norko and Betty Pezzulo, as well as several nieces and nephews.
He will lie in state at St. Stanislaus Basilica on Sept. 12 from 2-7 p.m. A Franciscan Wake Service will take place in the church at 7 p.m. A funeral Mass will be celebrated on Sept. 13 at 11 a.m. Burial will follow immediately in St. Stanislaus Cemetery, Chicopee.
Donations may be made to The Franciscan Education Burse, 12300 Folly Quarter Rd., Ellicott City, MD 21042.