Sexual Abuse Allegation Made against Franciscan Friar Michael Kolodziej, Formerly in Chicopee
By Anne-Gerard Flynn
November 7, 2013
|FR. MICHAEL KOLODZIEJ, OFM CONV. ADDERSSES THE CONGREGATION AT THE MASS OF THANKSGIVING AT THE BASILICA OF ST. STANISLAUS IN 2001. (Republican file)|
The following information has been released by Mark Dupont, communications director of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield, about an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor, in Baltimore in the 1970s, against the Rev. Michael Kolodziej, who spent 10 years at St. Stanislaus Parish in Chicopee. Kolodziej spent a year at St. Stanislaus as pastor, and principal of its kndergarten-to-eighth-grade school, prior to his appointment as provincial of the St. Anthony of Padua Province, in 2001
Before being stationed at St. Stanislaus, Kolodziej spent three years as a pastor of Holy Trinity Church in Lawrence. He also served as a teacher and principal in eastern New York state.
He was ordained in Buffalo, N.Y.
"Because Fr. Michael Kolodziej was assigned to St. Stanislaus Basilica in Chicopee between 1991 and 2001, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield, is also publishing the notice below, and urging anyone with knowledge of sexual abuse of a minor by any member of the clergy or other Church personnel to contact Patricia McManamy, license social worker and victim assistance coordinator for the Diocese of Springfield at (1-800) 842-9055.
A copy of this notification will also be distributed at all Masses this weekend at St. Stanislaus Basilica."
Kolodziej of the order of the Friars Minor Conventual was named provincial of the St. Anthony of Padua Province, which stretches from Massachusetts to Florida, in 2001.
STATEMENT REGARDING FR. MICHAEL KOLODZIEJ, OFM CONV.
The Archdiocese of Baltimore, the Order of Friars Minor Conventual, and Archbishop Curley High School have received an allegation of the sexual abuse of a minor by Fr. Michael Kolodziej (kuh-low-jay), OFM Conv. Father Kolodziej is a member and former Minister Provincial of the Order, which has staffed Archbishop Curley High School since its founding.
Father Kolodziej, age 69, was a teacher at Archbishop Curley High School from 1975-79. A former student from this time period has alleged that he was abused on several occasions while Fr. Kolodziej wrestled him. Archbishop Curley High School reported the allegation immediately to authorities, and the police were promptly informed; the School, the Order, and the Archdiocese, which owns Archbishop Curley High School, are cooperating fully with authorities. The Order has suspended Fr. Kolodziej from all public ministry and the Archbishop has withdrawn Fr. Kolodziej’s faculties to function as a priest in the Archdiocese of Baltimore.
The Archdiocese of Baltimore, the Order, and Archbishop Curley High School are unaware of any other allegations of misconduct against Fr. Kolodziej during his time at Archbishop Curley High School.
Fr. Kolodziej was ordained to the priesthood for the Diocese of Buffalo in 1970 and served in Buffalo as a hospital chaplain (1970), associate pastor and school director at St. Mary of Sorrows Church (1970-71), and teacher at Bishop Turner High School and Villa Maria College (1971-74) until he entered the Franciscan Order in 1974. After serving at Archbishop Curley High School, Fr. Kolodziej served as teacher and assistant principal at St. Francis High School in Athol Springs, NY (1979-82), principal at Cardinal O’Hara High School in Tonawanda, NY (1982-88), pastor at Holy Trinity Parish in Lawrence, MA (1988-91), rector at St. Stanislaus Basilica in Chicopee, MA (1991-2001), Minister Provincial of the Order in Ellicott City, MD (2001-2010), and parochial vicar at St. Philip Benizi Parish in Jonesboro, GA from 2010 until his recent suspension.
The Archdiocese of Baltimore, the Franciscan Order, and Archbishop Curley High School are committed to protecting children and helping to heal victims of abuse. Anyone who has any knowledge of child sexual abuse is urged to come forward, and to report it immediately to the police. If clergy or other Church personnel are suspected of committing the abuse, please also call the Archdiocese of Baltimore’s Office of Child and Youth Protection at (1-410) 547-5348.