+Fr. Łucjan Królikowski, OFM Conv. was born on September 7, 1919 in Nowe Kramsko, Poland and he died on October 11, 2019 at Our Lady of the Angels Care Center, Enfield, CT. He was the third child of Stanisław and Victoria (Tomiak) Królikowski. He leaves his Franciscan family and many family members and assorted friends in Poland, Canada, and the United States. At the time of his death he was 100 years old and the oldest Conventual Friar in the world.
Fr. Łucjan’s long Franciscan life began in 1934, when he entered the Franciscan Friar Conventual Seminary located on the grounds of the world’s largest friary in Niepokalanów, Poland. Its guardian was Fr. Maximilian Kolbe, a future saint, who was canonized by Pope John Paul II. Fr. Łucjan completed his high school at the seminary and later made his Novitiate in Niepokalanów (City of the Immaculate) professing his Simple Vows on August 29, 1939, with Fr. Maximilian Kolbe present. He made his Solemn Vows on July 14, 1945 in Beirut, Lebanon and was Ordained to the Priesthood on June 30, 1946, at the Université Saint-Joseph de Beyrouth (Lebanon), by the late +Archbishop Rémy-Louis Leprêtre, O.F.M., was serving as Apostolic Delegate to Syria at the time. He completed his Philosophy studies in 1939 from the University of Lwow. He received an S.T.B. (Theology), from Université Saint-Joseph de Beyrouth, in 1946.
While preparing to begin his theological studies in June of 1940, Fr. Łucjan was arrested by the Russian police (NKVD, later named the KGB) and was deported to a concentration camp in eastern Ukraine. He was liberated from the concentration camp and later joined the Polish army. completing Artillery School for Cadet Officers in Uzbekistan. He was moved with the Polish army to Iraq in 1942. Since the army needed chaplains, he began his theological studies in 1943 in Beirut. Returning to the army after ordination to the priesthood, Fr. Łucjan served the VIII General Military Hospital in El-Qantara el-Sharqîya, Egypt. After demobilization in 1947 he became the high school prefect in the Polish Refugee camp in Tengeru, near Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania. With a civilian population of 4,000 (half of whom were children) Fr. Łucjan volunteered to accompany these orphans through Europe and onto Canada which became their permanent home. Once in Montréal, Fr. Łucjan started placing children in French schools through the Province of Quebec. His first book, “Stolen Childhood,” recounts these unusual experiences and travels with the children.
During his ministerial life, Fr. Łucjan served as Associate Pastor, Our Lady of Czestochowa Church, Montréal, Canada (1958-1964). From 1964-1966 he was the Guardian and Pastor, Our Lady of Czestochowa Friary and Church, Montréal, Canada He became the Secretary of the Fr. Justin Rosary Hour (the longest running radio show in Polish outside of Poland), Athol Springs, New York, USA from 1966-1998. Accepting a new ministry in 1999 he was the Parochial Vicar, at the Basilica of St. Stanislaus, Bishop & Martyr, Chicopee, MA until 2009. In 2009 Fr Łucjan continued his life’s work as Confessor and Spiritual Advisor, St. Hyacinth Friary, in Chicopee. In 2016 he was moved to Confessor – Spiritual Advisor, Our Lady of the Angels Care Center, Enfield, CT where he continued to be in contact with his many family members and friends until his death on October 11, 2019, after a brief time on hospice.
Fr. Łucjan has authored 5 books, and has written hundreds of talks for Fr. Justin Rosary Hour:
- Skradzione Dzieciństwo: Polskie dzieci na tułaczym szlaku 1939-1950, [Also translated into English with title Stolen childhood]
- Pamiętnik sybiraka i tułacza [Also translated into English with the title A Franciscan Odyssey]
- Miłość mi wszystko wyjaśniła: Przygody ducha
- Modlitwy chorych [2 volumes]
- Abba – Ojcze: Przemyslenia Sybiraka i Tulacza
Fr. Łucjan has been awarded and honored by:
- The Polonia Restituta (The Merit Cross of the knight of Liberated Poland) 1961
- Veterans Gold Cross by the Polish Combatant of Canada (1969)
- Meritorious Gold Medal from the Polish Canadian Congress for his works on behalf of Canadian Polonia (1974)
- In November 11, 2007 he was honored at the Presidential Belvidere Palace in Warsaw for his efforts in saving orphaned children after World War II, The Third-Degree Award Komandozski Cross of Polonia Resituta Ozdea.
- Honored by the European Veterans Conference (1972)
- He received the highest degrees of the Scout movement, Harcerz Rzeczpospolitej
- In September 2019 he was given a certificate from the President of Poland at a Mass in New Britain, CT.
Fr. Łucjan will lie in state at Basilica of St. Stanislaus, Bishop & Martyr, 566 Front St., Chicopee, MA 01013, on Monday, October 14, 2019, from 2:00 – 7:00 p.m., concluding with a Franciscan Transitus Servic,e at 7:00 p.m. On Tuesday, October 15, 2019 a Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 11:00 a.m., at the Basilica. Interment will be in St. Stanislaus Cemetery, Chicopee, MA and Memorial Donations may be made to the Franciscan Education Burse, 12300 Folly Quarter Road, Ellicott City, MD 21042.
Funeral arrangements are by Kozikowski Funeral Home, Chicopee, MA.