Father Kwoka delivers a homily in Sacred Heart Church, Trenton, where he serves as parochial vicar. Mike Ehrmann photo
Father Kwoka delivers a homily in Sacred Heart Church, Trenton, where he serves as parochial vicar. Mike Ehrmann photo

Though Father Edward Kwoka has spent nearly half of his 43-year priesthood in the Diocese of Trenton,  his heart has never traveled far from his native Poland.

Born May 4, 1951, to Stefania and Jan Kwoka, young Edward grew up with a brother, Stanislaw, and sister, Maria, in the town of Bratkowice, Poland. After second grade he began serving as an altar boy, but the desire to pursue the priesthood came while he was a high schooler.

He attended high school in the city of Rzeszow, followed by formation in Higher Theological Seminary, Przemysl, Poland, from 1972-1978.

After ordination on June 4, 1978, Father Kwoka ministered for a year in parishes of the Diocese of Przemysl before coming to the Diocese of Syracuse, N.Y. In July, 2000, he came to the Diocese of Trenton at the invitation of Bishop John M. Smith.

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Father Kwoka served as parochial vicar in several local churches throughout the Diocese, including St. Mary of the Lake Parish (now part of Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish), Lakewood, 2000-2004; St. Veronica Parish, Howell, 2004-2006; St. Gabriel Parish, Marlboro, 2006-2010; and Divine Mercy Parish, Trenton, 2010-2018, until the parish merger incorporated the latter into Sacred Heart Parish, Trenton.

In several of his assignments, Father Kwoka was able to minister to the Polish-speaking community within the parishes.  In his homilies and interactions with parishioners, he worked to develop a greater understanding of and appreciation for the centrality of the Eucharist in the Catholic faith. He spoke of the traditions in his homeland that commemorated the feasts of Corpus Christi and Divine Mercy, and invited the faithful to draw closer to God through these devotions.

As he prepares for his next chapter, Father Kwoka continues to minister in Sacred Heart Parish and to serve as chaplain for Capital Health Regional Medical Center, Trenton, and Capital Health Center, Hopewell. Following his official retirement in late August, he plans to return to Poland.