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Wednesday, March 29, 2017
Obituary: Zdzislaw Walaszewski
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¬†Zdzislaw Walaszewski 30/12/22 ≠ 19/4/08 Zdzislaw Eugeniusz Walaszewskiwas born on 30 December 1922 in Lipinki Szlacheckie in the Polish Diocese of Pelplin. Because he was a weak child he was baptised the following day at Klonowka Parish Church. His father, Jůzef Walaszewski, was headmaster of a primary school in Nowa Cerkiew where Zdzislaw spent his childhood. When Zdzislaw was only 10 years old, his mother Maria nee Niemczyk contracted TB and died. He served Mass in his parish church for many years and from September 1936 until the outbreak of the War in September 1939 he attended the Secondary School run by Divine Word Fathers (SVD) in Gorna Grupa. During the German occupation of Poland, prevented as a Pole from continuing his secondary education, he worked until August 1942 as a gardener until he was compelled to become a German soldier serving the whole year 1943 in Bosnia. In May 1944 after transferring to Italy, he deserted from the German Army and joined the 2nd Polish Corps, fighting to liberate Italy from the Germans. At the beginning of 1945, he was sent to Alessano to complete his interrupted secondary education where he could complete the courses, matriculating in 1947. Unable to get a grant for a Humanities degree, he worked as a private student with the help of correspondence courses and earned money by working in a laundry in Portsmouth obtaining first his BA (Hons) degree at London University in 1953, and then his postgraduate teaching qualification in 1954. As he read French Philosophy, he spent one and a half years from January 1952 in the Christian Brothers School in Chartres as a teacher of English. From 1954, until his retirement in 1984, he taught Modern Languages and Religious Knowledge at St Bernard's School in East London. He continued his studies at the Polish University Abroad in London gaining the MA and PhD degrees in Polish Philology and from September 1998 he was Principal of the University. In 1954 he married Wieslawa Maria Urzedowska, and in November 1955 their daughter Marta Maria was born. From 1958 he took an active part in working for the church first as a member of the editorial Board of the Catholic Monthly "Zycie" (Life), and from January 1968 until recently, he was editor in chief of the London-based Polish Catholic Weekly "Gazeta Niedzielna" (Sunday Gazette). Zdzislaw always co-operated closely with the Polish Catholic Mission in spreading Catholic literature and supported parish priests in their religious activities. He also took part in the activities of the Polish Institute of Catholic Action Abroad. In recent years he was also a member of the Polish Council of West European Polish Missions for Spiritual Matters and attended most meetings of this body. At the Veritas Foundation Publication Centre, he edited many Catholic books of devotional or religious nature. He took an active part in the organisation of two Congresses of Polish Culture in London in 1985 and 1995, editing 20 volumes of the proceedings During December 1998 he organised a symposium in honour of John Paul II's 20-year long pontificate and published all the papers in a book. For the Social Contributions he was awarded the Polonia Restituta Cross Class V and IV. For his Catholic engagements, His Holiness John Paul II awarded him the cross "Pro ecclesia et pontifice" in 1995, and later made him a Knight of St Sylvester. He was also awarded distinctions by Poland's Primate Cardinal Glemp and Mgr Stanislaw Swierczynski, Rector of the Polish Mission in England & Wales, 1995. Zdzislaw recently wrote: "I try to devote all my life to the service of God and his Church. The Living Faith which I took away from my home deepened in the secondary school of the Divine Word Fathers. In a life not quite easy, gifted with a strong will and perseverance, I managed to acquire a good education which allowed me to use it in the service of the Church and my neighbours; this being a source of inner joy and contentment. My deep gratitude for my achievements goes only to God's grace, and all deficiencies and imperfections are of my own making." Mgr Kukla, Rector of the Polish Catholic Mission in England & Wales said: "He was a good Catholic. He was dedicated to the Church and to passing on the message of the Gospel through the mass-media including the Gazeta Niedzielna of which he was Editor-in-Chief." It is a privilege to have known him. Requiescat in pace. Jůzef Lopuszynski
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