Maria Kozlowska
Maria Kozlowska

By Lois Rogers | Correspondent

In culturally blended St. Mary of the Lake Parish, Lakewood, a new season of religious education will begin under the leadership of parish catechetical leader Maria Kozlowska.

Kozlowska, who has attended the parish for 12 years – the past five as a member – isn’t shy about sharing how much she is looking forward to taking the helm this year with the assistance of 15 volunteers between the ages of 30 and 80.

The crew is just as eager to get started sharing teachings of the faith to 121 young people from first through eighth grades. “We all love it,” said Kozlowska, who has worked for the parish for five years, the last two in the Faith Formation office.

Kozlowska, who oversaw a summer catechetical program this year that drew 28 youngsters from third through sixth grades, said she enjoys every opportunity to share the faith with the children of Lakewood who bring to life the global essence of the Church.

“We have a mix of everyone, Polish, Hispanic, American, Asian. So many languages and cultures,” it makes for a great adventure in teaching, said Kozlowska, who speaks Polish and English fluently. Teacher’s aides, helpers and parish employees are always on hand to help translate when necessary, she said.

Kozlowska, who has a master’s degree in tourism from the Academy of Physical Education and Sports in Gdanzk and a bachelors in business from Berkeley College in Manhattan, received her catechetical education growing up in Poland. She and her husband, Bogdan, live in Brick and are raising their five-year-old daughter, Anna, in the faith.

She said the vast number of traditions among parishioners, who worship in three sites – St. Mary of the Lake and Holy Family Church and St. Anthony Claret – can prove challenging.

But the whole crew is focused and involved in working together. “It isn’t always easy, but we think it’s good for the kids of the community to be here, learning about God,” she said.