Editor's Note: Our Lady of Poland Roman Catholic Church in Southampton Village lost its longtime pastor, , last Saturday. He was 74. Below is a message Sister Kathy Schlueter prepared to share with the parish in the church bulletin.
Dear Members of the Our Lady of Poland Family,
By the time you read this, you will already know of the great loss we have suffered with the untimely passing of our beloved pastor, Father Stanley Kondeja. While Father had been battling colon cancer for the past six months, his death on May 12 was not expected.
During this past week, Father Stanley’s life and priesthood were celebrated in the press, local conversations, and in the special liturgies of transferal and the actual funeral mass. The prayers, thoughts and outpouring of love for this man are numerous. His influence in the lives of so many people is far-reaching and lasting.
Father Stanley would have celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of his ordination this year. To those who met him, Father was a simple presence with a genuine sincere smile and twinkling eyes. This priest was always available to his people and deeply concerned for each person. An excellent storyteller, Father could converse easily about soccer, European History, politics, the ocean, classical music and a host of family stories. He was never at a loss for words.
Our pastor was a gracious host at parish events and gatherings, a soothing presence at the hospital beds of many, and a consolation to those in mourning or distress.
The tremendous pride that he had in his Church, his priesthood and his life were so visible to all who were privileged to attend the Christmas Eve Midnight Mass in 2009. Father was greeted as he entered the church with a warm and sincere round of applause, since this was the first Mass celebrated in the newly rebuilt Our Lady of Poland Church. How deserving he was, and how humbled he seemed. Father had truly accepted Jesus’ charge to “build the church.”
The local community, children of Our Lady of the Hamptons School, the priests, sisters and parishioners have truly been blessed by the pastoral life of Father Stanley Kondeja. We will always be grateful!
Take your rest now, dear Father! Your goal of unity with your God is now complete! We salute you, good and faithful servant of the Lord!