RINGWOOD, N.J. — Robert Struzynski, OFM, 78, a professed Franciscan friar for 55 years and a priest for 50 years, died Dec. 13 at Holy Name Friary.
A wake and wake service were held on Dec. 16 at St. Anthony Church in Butler, N.J. Robert’s remains were transferred to Western New York, where there will be a viewing from 3 to 6 p.m. on Dec. 20 at St. Bonaventure University Chapel, Allegany, N.Y., with a vigil service at 5 p.m.
Another a viewing is planned for 10 to 11 a.m., prior to an 11 a.m. Mass of Christian Burial on Dec. 21 at St. Bonaventure University Chapel. Provincial Vicar Dominic Monti, OFM, will be the principal celebrant and Daniel Riley, OFM, will preach the homily. Burial will follow at St. Bonaventure Cemetery, Allegany, N.Y.
Born on May 1, 1935 in Dunkirk, N.Y., to Albert and Bernice Struzynski, Robert was baptized at St. Hyacinth Church in 1952. He attended the parish school and graduated in 1952 from Dunkirk High School. Bob earned a bachelor of business administration degree from St. Bonaventure University in 1956. Upon graduating, he resigned his ROTC commission as second lieutenant to enter St. Joseph’s Seraphic Seminary, Callicoon, N.Y., in the fall of that year.
He was received into the Order in 1957 at St. Raphael’s Friary, Lafayette, N.J., where he professed temporary vows one year later. Bob, who took the religious name Anthony, made his solemn profession in 1961 at Holy Name College, Washington, and was ordained to the priesthood in 1963 at the Franciscan Monastery Church, Mount St. Sepulchre, Washington.
Upon completing theological studies in 1964, Bob joined the theology department of St. Bonaventure University as an instructor, before going on for doctoral studies at Notre Dame University. Upon completing his doctorate in 1971, he returned to St. Bonaventure University, where he continued teaching for another seven years, also becoming involved in campus ministry.
In 1978, in a career shift, he went to Philadelphia, where he helped found the St. Francis Inn soup kitchen and shelter. Then, from 1984 to 1993, he served as a missionary in Jamaica as pastor of Our Lady of the Angels Parish in Kingston. While there, he helped to build homes with materials received from Food for the Poor and started a Housecraft Training Institute, a project to help the poor learn how to sew to enable them to work in a factory or at home to earn a living.
Bob returned to the United States in 1993, and was assigned for the next 12 years at St. Patrick Friary in Buffalo, N.Y., where he ministered in the Cephas program, an ecumenical organization that serves men and women in prison and on parole. In his later years, he reverted to using his baptismal name.
In 2005, he became a member of the fraternity at Mt. Irenaeus, the Franciscan Mountain Retreat in West Clarksville, N.Y. In 2012, he took a six-month sabbatical at Christ the King Seminary in East Aurora, N.Y. In June, he retired from full-time ministry at St. Anthony Friary, Butler.
Bob is survived by his sister-in-law, Maryann Struzynski, two nephews — Patrick of South Wales, N.Y., and Norman of Forestville, N.Y. — as well as several cousins. Condolences may be sent to Mrs. Maryann Struzynski, 103 Trinity Park Lane, East Aurora, NY 14052-9477.
Memorial donations may be sent to Franciscan Friars-Holy Name Province, 144 West 32nd St. New York, NY 10001.
— Compiled by Theresa Bartha and Maria Hayes