Christ the King Seminary announced Father Walter Szczesny and Theresa Kazmierczak are the 2019 honorees to be recognized at its annual Curé of Ars Awards dinner. This year's event will be held Thursday, Oct. 3 at The Atrium @ Rich's in Buffalo.
A graduate of Christ the King Seminary where he earned a master of divinity degree, Father Szczesny served as co-director of formation and a professor at the seminary from 1999 through 2006. He was director of vocations for the Diocese of Buffalo from 2006 until 2015, at which time he was named pastor of All Saints Parish in Lockport, where he is also canonical administrator of DeSales Catholic School.
"Throughout the years in his various roles, Father Szczesny has offered his support to our seminarians as they answer God's call, helping them understand that being a priest gives you the opportunity to minister to people in a way that is truly impactful in their lives," said Father Kevin G. Creagh, CM, president-rector of Christ the King. "As diocesan vocations director, Father Szczesny was a tireless, enthusiastic advocate for the priesthood, and is truly a holy man who serves as a great example for others to follow. He is most deserving of this award."
Father Szczesny is not only a champion for Catholic education, but is also a product of it as well. He graduated from Sacred Heart Elementary School and Notre Dame High School in his hometown of Batavia, and also earned a bachelor of arts degree in philosophy at Wadhams Hall Seminary College in Ogdensburg.
His education was supplemented by his experiences teaching in the Deaf/Blind Department at the New York State School for the Blind in Batavia and at Maryvale Catholic Orphanage in Rosemead, Calif.
Ordained in 1990, Father Szczesny has also been parochial vicar at Immaculate Conception Parish in East Aurora and SS. Peter & Paul Parish in Hamburg. He is a former event chair and committee member of the Curé of Ars.
Kazmierczak, who recently retired as vice president for corporate and community events at M&T Bank following a long career, is also a former event chair of the Curé of Ars and an active committee member. She served three consecutive terms on the Christ the King Seminary board of trustees from 2008 through 2017, and was vice chair of the board during her most recent term.
Kazmierczak earned a bachelor of arts degree in communications at the University at Buffalo and a master's degree in pastoral ministry at Christ the King Seminary. She is a member of the Bishop's Council of the Laity in the Buffalo Diocese and a member of St. John XXIII Parish in West Seneca, where she resides. Kazmierczak also teaches seventh-grade summer religious education at Fourteen Holy Helpers in West Seneca and serves on the board of directors for the Salvation Army, King Urban Life Center and the Children's Hospital of Buffalo Foundation.
"Terry is a tremendous example of the important and enhanced role women and the laity have in the leadership and lifeblood of the church," said Father Creagh. "She always goes above and beyond in supporting many of the seminary's events including volunteering the past several years at the Rev. Bednar Golf Tournament. Terry has been truly devoted to the seminary and believes strongly in our mission. We are incredibly grateful for her dedication and enthusiastic support."
The program begins with cocktails at 6 p.m. followed by dinner and an awards ceremony at 7 p.m. The event is sponsored by James V. and Mary Glynn, and Maid of the Mist.
For more information on tickets or sponsorship opportunities for the Curé of Ars Awards Dinner, visit www.curedinner.com or contact Laura DeMizio, coordinator of special events, at 716-847-8373 or firstname.lastname@example.org.