BOSTON — James Czerwinski, OFM, 67, a Franciscan friar for 42 years and a priest for 37, died Jan. 2 at St. Anthony Shrine.
A wake will be held from 4 to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 7 at St. Anthony Shrine, with a wake service to follow. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated there at 10 a.m. on Jan. 8, with Provincial Vicar Lawrence Hayes, OFM, serving as principal celebrant. Burial will take place at St. Joseph Cemetery, West Roxbury, Mass.
Jim was born on Nov. 26, 1947 in Buffalo, N.Y., to Walter and Elizabeth Czerwinski. After graduating Buffalo East High School in 1965, he worked for several years before entering the Brothers’ Training School in January 1969. He was received into the Order of Friars Minor in 1971 at St. Francis Friary, Brookline, Mass. During this time, he decided to begin studying for the priesthood.
After his simple profession, he went to Holy Name College in Washington, where he completed his bachelor’s in religious education at The Catholic University of America in 1973. He went on to study theology at the Washington Theological Union. After his solemn profession in 1975, Jim was assigned to Our Lady’s Chapel in New Bedford, Mass. While there, he worked in the shrine and also taught at Bishop Stang High School. He was ordained at Our Lady’s Chapel in 1977.
The majority of Jim’s life as a friar was spent in education and pastoral ministry. In 1979, he joined the staff of Bishop Timon High School in Buffalo, N.Y., where he taught religion and served as campus minister and senior class moderator. During his 14 years there, he was also guardian and vicar of the friar community. In 1993, he was appointed guardian and pastor of Assumption Parish in Wood-Ridge, N.J., where he ministered for the next nine years.
In 2002, Jim became director of St. Francis Chapel in Albany, N.Y., serving until 2005. He was also vicar of the friar community at Siena College in nearby Loudonville. In 2005, Jim was appointed pastor of Sts. Rita and Patrick Parish in Buffalo, which merged with four other parishes in the Southeast Buffalo Vicariate in 2007, forming St. Clare Parish. Jim served as pastor of St. Clare’s until 2008, after which he took a sabbatical.
In 2009, he was assigned to St. Anthony Friary in Butler, N.J., where he worked as parochial vicar. He became an associate at St. Anthony Shrine in 2012 and served there until his death.
Jim is survived by his brother, Tom.
Memorial donations may be sent to Franciscan Friars-Holy Name Province, 144 West 32nd St., New York NY 10001.
— Maria Hayes is communications coordinator for Holy Name Province.