‘Pray for them’

Father Marian loves to serve

August 1, 2023 at 2:33 p.m.
Father Kokorzycki poses for a photo with parishioners of Sacred Heart Parish, Trenton, where he celebrates Mass for members of the Polish community. John Batkowski photo
Father Kokorzycki poses for a photo with parishioners of Sacred Heart Parish, Trenton, where he celebrates Mass for members of the Polish community. John Batkowski photo (JOHN BATKOWSKI)

By CHRISTINA LESLIE
Correspondent

Father Marian F. Kokorzycki, while sharing stories from his duties as chaplain in Ocean University Medical Center, Brick, revealed the perfect, one-size-fits-all care package he brings each hospital patient he visits: “Bring your smile and your love, and pray for them.” The Polish cleric has utilized those gifts of cheer and comfort for the past 25 years, both in the Diocese of Trenton and internationally.

PHOTO GALLERY: Father Marian Kokorzycki- 25th Anniversary

Born in Poland in 1959, Father Kokorzycki didn’t immediately hear God’s call to the priesthood, instead working for a newspaper company. “But I met bishops and good priests,” he recalled, “who showed me what being a priest was all about.” Due to his delayed vocation, he was sent to study in Rome; he was ordained at age 39 on May 24, 1998, in Santo Spiritu by Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski.

WEARING MANY HATS

    Father Kokorzycki, left, is pictured following his May 5, 2019 admission as an Honorary Canon of the Cathedral Basilica of Czestochowa by Archbishop Waclaw Depo, center. Courtesy photo
 
 


Father Kokorzycki’s introduction to ministry in the United States was at the invitation of then-director of vocations for the Diocese of Trenton, Msgr. Ronald Bacovin. The transition was relatively rapid, he said, recalling, “[The Diocese] was looking for a Polish priest for Lakewood, so I applied for a Visa. I was here for Easter, returned to Poland, then I was back again in June.”

Father Kokorzycki served a total of 14 years in Lakewood as parochial vicar in St. Mary of the Lake Parish (now part of Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish, Lakewood) and was incardinated into the Trenton Diocese April 8, 2010. He has held his current position as parochial vicar in St. Dominic Parish, Brick, for three years, and refers to the pastoral staff as “a beautiful team of priests doing God’s work.”

Learning to juggle parish ministry and chaplain work was a challenge at first, he admitted, “but now I am used to it. It is very important for the patients, for sometimes their friends and family are far away, but the priest can be someone to talk to. I like it. It is an incredible vocation from God.”

SERVICE AND PRAYER

Father Kokorzycki shared two short phrases describing his philosophy on the priesthood: “to love is to serve,” and “no prayer, no priesthood.” He elaborated, “We need saints today to renew the Church again; they are examples of the way to go. The Internet can be a beautiful thing if you look in the right places. [Reading about] the lives of the saints can help us show the way.”

Father Kokorzycki assists in Sacred Heart Church, Trenton, celebrating Mass in the Polish language three times a month. He spoke joyfully about one of his newest ministries: outreach to the people of El Salvador that have begun to worship in his Brick parish.

“I help them with their Sacraments,” he stated. “One family comes to baptize their child, and then another comes for Confirmation or [to validate] their marriage. I do this with love; I become one of them and sit and listen.”

Father Kokorzycki now flies to El Salvador two or three times a year, each time bringing Rosaries for those in the Central American country. “They are beautiful people in the mountains, and the Church is very strong there. They have a chapel, but sometimes don’t see a priest for months.”

His advice to a man considering the priesthood is to “go on retreats and listen to older priests. The Eucharist is the highway to heaven; don’t be afraid. Always pray for your priests.”

An added joy Father Kokorzycki noted occurred in 2019 when he was bestowed with the title of Honorary Canon of the Chapter of the Cathedral Basilica of Czestochowa by Archbishop Waclaw Depo of Czestochowa, Poland. An honorary canon is a title given by an archbishop or bishop to a priest who has served or is associated with a cathedral or basilica church. The title grants special privileges, including wearing clerical garb that reflects its status, similar to what is worn by a monsignor.





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Father Marian F. Kokorzycki, while sharing stories from his duties as chaplain in Ocean University Medical Center, Brick, revealed the perfect, one-size-fits-all care package he brings each hospital patient he visits: “Bring your smile and your love, and pray for them.” The Polish cleric has utilized those gifts of cheer and comfort for the past 25 years, both in the Diocese of Trenton and internationally.

PHOTO GALLERY: Father Marian Kokorzycki- 25th Anniversary

Born in Poland in 1959, Father Kokorzycki didn’t immediately hear God’s call to the priesthood, instead working for a newspaper company. “But I met bishops and good priests,” he recalled, “who showed me what being a priest was all about.” Due to his delayed vocation, he was sent to study in Rome; he was ordained at age 39 on May 24, 1998, in Santo Spiritu by Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski.

WEARING MANY HATS

    Father Kokorzycki, left, is pictured following his May 5, 2019 admission as an Honorary Canon of the Cathedral Basilica of Czestochowa by Archbishop Waclaw Depo, center. Courtesy photo
 
 


Father Kokorzycki’s introduction to ministry in the United States was at the invitation of then-director of vocations for the Diocese of Trenton, Msgr. Ronald Bacovin. The transition was relatively rapid, he said, recalling, “[The Diocese] was looking for a Polish priest for Lakewood, so I applied for a Visa. I was here for Easter, returned to Poland, then I was back again in June.”

Father Kokorzycki served a total of 14 years in Lakewood as parochial vicar in St. Mary of the Lake Parish (now part of Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish, Lakewood) and was incardinated into the Trenton Diocese April 8, 2010. He has held his current position as parochial vicar in St. Dominic Parish, Brick, for three years, and refers to the pastoral staff as “a beautiful team of priests doing God’s work.”

Learning to juggle parish ministry and chaplain work was a challenge at first, he admitted, “but now I am used to it. It is very important for the patients, for sometimes their friends and family are far away, but the priest can be someone to talk to. I like it. It is an incredible vocation from God.”

SERVICE AND PRAYER

Father Kokorzycki shared two short phrases describing his philosophy on the priesthood: “to love is to serve,” and “no prayer, no priesthood.” He elaborated, “We need saints today to renew the Church again; they are examples of the way to go. The Internet can be a beautiful thing if you look in the right places. [Reading about] the lives of the saints can help us show the way.”

Father Kokorzycki assists in Sacred Heart Church, Trenton, celebrating Mass in the Polish language three times a month. He spoke joyfully about one of his newest ministries: outreach to the people of El Salvador that have begun to worship in his Brick parish.

“I help them with their Sacraments,” he stated. “One family comes to baptize their child, and then another comes for Confirmation or [to validate] their marriage. I do this with love; I become one of them and sit and listen.”

Father Kokorzycki now flies to El Salvador two or three times a year, each time bringing Rosaries for those in the Central American country. “They are beautiful people in the mountains, and the Church is very strong there. They have a chapel, but sometimes don’t see a priest for months.”

His advice to a man considering the priesthood is to “go on retreats and listen to older priests. The Eucharist is the highway to heaven; don’t be afraid. Always pray for your priests.”

An added joy Father Kokorzycki noted occurred in 2019 when he was bestowed with the title of Honorary Canon of the Chapter of the Cathedral Basilica of Czestochowa by Archbishop Waclaw Depo of Czestochowa, Poland. An honorary canon is a title given by an archbishop or bishop to a priest who has served or is associated with a cathedral or basilica church. The title grants special privileges, including wearing clerical garb that reflects its status, similar to what is worn by a monsignor.




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