Walter Czajkowski
Walter Czajkowski
Walter Czajkowski is no stranger around St. Hedwig Parish.

He and his six siblings were raised in the 116-year-old North Trenton parish that serves native Polish and Polish-American faithful, they attended the parish grammar school that was staffed mostly by the Felician sisters, and he currently serves as a reader and extraordinary minister of Holy Communion.

Now as the new parish catechetical leader, he places priority on making sure that “our children understand the importance of God in their lives. 

“I want our students to respond to God’s goodness by knowing their faith and striving to live it as well,” he said. 

Czajkowski holds a bachelor of arts degree in philosophy and theology with minors in communication and psychology from St. Mary College, Orchard Lake, Mich. He served in two Catholic schools in the Diocese of Trenton. He was vice principal and religion department chair in the former Holy Cross School, Trenton, from 1986 to 1991. In Notre Dame High School, Lawrenceville, he pioneered a junior level interdisciplinary course in religion, social studies and English, where from 1991 to 2007, he wrote plans for several disciplines including art theory, bioethics, world religions and social justice; organized art and education trips in the United States and abroad for students and their parents, and facilitated retreats.

His background in customer relations, sales and business management was acquired through working in retail chains; co-directing and co-owning a fine art gallery and owning a gourmet shop in the local farmers market.   

In planning for the upcoming catechetical year, Czajkowski said he plans to draw upon his own Polish-Catholic heritage as well as inspiration from the Second Vatican Council document “Lumen Gentium” and Pope John Paul II, who “talked about the family being the domestic Church.”

“I believe that when parents are at home with their children and they are praying in front of them, this is the children’s first education, catechesis and prayer,” he said.

 Emphasizing the importance of family taking an active role in a child’s faith development, he shared ideas such as encouraging Confirmation sponsors to take active role as their candidates prepare for the Sacraments, and projects to help students and parents make a connection between their home lives at part in the parish. For example, he’s offered resources on how to make a May altar for the Blessed Virgin Mary; a way to commemorate the dead during the month of All Souls in November, and how to bless the home for the Solemnity of the Epiphany. 

“What I’m trying to do is get the children and their families to see that they are connected to one another and to the Church by doing Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy,” he said. “By nurturing what is true and good and helpful, we will help strengthen the roots of our Catholic faith.”