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Stanislaus Widomski, Longtime Missionary in Japan, Dies

RINGWOOD, N.J. – Stanislaus Widomski, OFM, 89, a professed Franciscan friar for 59 years and a priest for 55, died April 2 at Holy Name Friary.

A viewing will be held from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. on April 6 at St. Bonaventure Church, 95 E. Main St., Allegany, N.Y., followed by a Mass of Christian Burial at 9:30 a.m., celebrated by Dominic Monti, OFM. Burial will follow at St. Bonaventure Cemetery in Allegany.

Early Years
Stan was born on May 31, 1926 in Erie, Pa., to John and Agatha (née Garbacz) Widomski and baptized Bernard Francis at St. Casimir Church on June 12, 1927. After graduating from East High School, Stan attended Gannon College, also in Erie, earning a bachelor of science in accounting in 1950. He then entered the U.S. Army, serving for four years. During that time, he was stationed in Korea and Japan, where his desire to become a missionary began to take root.

After being honorably discharged from the U.S. Army in 1954, Stan entered St. Joseph Seraphic Seminary in Callicoon, N.Y., where he studied for two years. He was received into the Franciscan Order on July 14, 1956 at St. Raphael Novitiate, Lafayette, N.J., and professed his first vows on July 16, 1957. He studied philosophy for one year at St. Francis College in Rye Beach, N.H., before continuing his theological education at Holy Name College in Washington, D.C.

Stan professed solemn vows on Aug. 22, 1960 at Christ the King Seminary in Allegany, and was ordained to the priesthood by Archbishop (later Cardinal) Egidio Vagnozzi on March 17, 1962 at Mount St. Sepulchre Franciscan Monastery in Washington, D.C.

Ministry
He began his priestly ministry at St. Anthony Shrine in Boston, but shortly thereafter requested to serve as a missionary in Japan. His request was granted one year later, when he was sent to study Japanese at the Franciscan Language School in Tokyo in 1963.

He would remain in Japan for the next 48 years, serving at parishes located in Gunma Prefecture, including Numata, Kiryu, Maebashi, Shioukawa, and Takasaki. He also served as director of the Good Shepherd Movement Communications Center in Tokyo from 1976 to 1979, and worked at St. Francis Retreat House in Kiryu for 21 nonconsecutive years – from 1983 to 1990, and from 1997 to 2011. While in Japan, Stan organized a national Vocation Prayer Society that encouraged people to pray for new diocesan and religious priests, brothers and sisters.

Stan returned to the United States in 2011 to retire at St. Anthony Friary, St. Petersburg, Fla., where he lived until moving to Holy Name Friary in 2015.

He is survived by two brothers – Stanley and Chester Widomski, of Erie, Pa.

Memorial donations may be sent to Franciscan Friars – Holy Name Province, 144 West 32nd Street, New York, NY 10001-3202.

Compiled by Maria Hayes

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