Lambert Zaleha, OFM
1900 – 1989
Fr. Lambert Zaleha, OFM, was born July 18, 1900 in Coaldale, Pa. At age 13, he entered St. Joseph’s Seraphic Seminary in Callicoon, N.Y. He was received into the novitiate at St. Bonaventure Friary, Paterson, N.J., in 1918 and professed temporary vows one year later. While there, the flu epidemic struck. Fr. Lambert was the only novice who did not become ill, though five friars in the community died later that year. He professed solemn vows in 1922 and was ordained in 1925.
From 1926 to 1937, Fr. Lambert taught Latin and Greek at St. Bonaventure’s College in Allegany, N.Y., and also served as vice-rector for eight years. He was then assigned to the friars’ new college, Siena, in Loudonville, N.Y., where he remained for one semester before being assigned to St. Elizabeth Parish, Denver. After two years, he returned to St. Bonaventure College.
In 1941, Fr. Lambert was appointed praeses of St. Philip’s Parish in Statesville, N.C. From 1948 to 1956, he served as the Provincial delegate to the Southern missions. He was pastor of St. Anthony’s Parish in Pensacola, Fla. In 1956, Fr. Lambert was assigned to St. Francis of Assisi Parish in New York City, where he served for the next 23 years as a kind and compassionate confessor. He retired in 1979 to St. Anthony Friary, Butler, N.J., and, in 1985, went to the Provincial infirmary at St. Bonaventure University.
He died on April 1, 1989 at Holy Name Friary, Ringwood, N.J. Fr. Lambert was 88 years old, a professed friar for 69 years and a priest for 63 years.