As part of a Four-Year Plan, the friars of Our Lady of the Angels Province drafted a vision statement which included priorities such as Fraternity, Ministry, JPIC Culture, Vocations, Senior Friars, Our Custodies, and in turn, objectives to enact through the work of our varied Commissions and Initiatives.
In accordance with two of the objectives for Senior Friars, in order to provide both the care of our elder friars and their continued inclusion in the fraternal life of our Province, our Senior Friars Commission requested that those friars share Spiritual Testaments, in their own words.
Each week, check back for a new reflection.
Brother Paschal Mary Kolodziej, OFM Conv.
Spiritual Testimony ~ June, 2019
My name is Paschal Mary Kolodziej and I am a 69-year-old Conventual Franciscan Religious Brother in the Our Lady of Angels Province (USA). I am the Guardian and Director of Senior Care Friars at St. Hyacinth Friary in Chicopee, MA. I was born in 1949 in Buffalo, NY and was one of the sons of two very hard-working parents who sacrificed much for us kids. When I was a boy, I knew about the Franciscan friars because they staffed the next parish over from our home parish. In 1975, I decided to enter the novitiate of the Conventual Franciscans in Ellicott City, MD. I professed my first vows in 1976. Fr. Alex Cymerman, OFM Conv. was my novice master and some of my classmates are Friars Joe Bayne, Stephen Frenier, Albert Scherer and Kevin Kane (deceased). In 1979, I professed my solemn vows in Holyoke, MA.
I completed my degree in nursing at D’Youville, College, Buffalo, NY. Later, my first assignment was at Corpus Christi Parish in Buffalo. I have to say that my ‘favorite’ assignment was from 1981-1985 in Ellicott City, MD with our novices. We had a very good professed community there at that time. I would also like to share that one of my more difficult yet very rewarding assignments was caring for a bed-ridden friar for two years. It was a very special time.
My Franciscan prayer life very important to me. I have a special devotion to the Blessed Mother and love praying the rosary.
I would like to share with anyone considering a vocation to our Order and Province: “Pray. Get a spiritual director and the vocation a try.”
I would also like to share with our student friars: “Consecrate yourself and your religious life to the Blessed Virgin and keep up your daily prayer life.”