I have fought a good fight: I have finished my course: I have kept the faith. As to the rest, there is laid up for me a crown of justice which the Lord the just judge will render to me in that day: and not only to me, but to them also that love his coming (2 Tim4:7-8).
On Holy Saturday evening-the Vigil in the Holy Night of Easter- March 30, 2013, Father Matthew Luczycki fell asleep in the Lord. His body will lay in state at St Joseph’s Church on Thursday, April 4, from 2 to 7 PM, at which time Vespers will be celebrated. The funeral Mass will take place at St Joseph’s on Friday, April 5, at 10:30 AM, followed by a reception at the Parish Center.
A BRIEF BIOGRAPHY OF FATHER MATTHEW LUCZYCKI
Dear to God and men, Matthew, whose memory is held in benediction. God’s honor devolved upon him, and the Lord strengthened him with priestly powers. He feared God and stood in awe of his name. True doctrine was found in his mouth, and no dishonesty was found upon his lips; he walked with me in integrity and in uprightness, and turned many away from evil. He was a priest who kept knowledge, and instruction was found in his mouth, because he was a messenger of the Lord of Hosts (see Sirach 45:1-2; Malachi 2:5-7).
Monsignor Matthew Luczycki was born on May 17, 192o in Binghamton, New York. He attended St. Stanislaus’ Parish School through the eighth grade and graduated from Johnson City High School in 1938. Upon graduating he attended St Mary’s College in Orchard Lake, Michigan, completing his seminary studies at St Bernard’s Seminary, Rochester, New York.
Father Matt, according to his own testimony, considered several life goals while growing up, including becoming a doctor of dentistry; but in the end he discerned a higher calling which came to fruition on December 22, 1945, when he was ordained a priest at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Syracuse. In a 2010 interview with the Oneida Daily Dispatch on the occasion of the 65th anniversary of his ordination he stated: It seems like I always wanted to be a priest. That was my main desire. I considered other possibilities but the priesthood always won out. “It was,” he said, in a 2011 interview with the Catholic Sun, “a tremendously wonderful feeling. I was finally doing what I was meant to do. I was able to bless my family and parents.”
During the course of his active ministry he served at St Stanislaus in Utica (1945-1947), Transfiguration in Rome (1947-1953), Sacred Heart in Syracuse (1953-1958), Holy Trinity in Utica (1958-61). He served again at Transfiguration in Rome from 1961-1964. Beginning in 1964 he began serving at both St Joseph’s in Oriskany Falls and St Agnes’ in Vernon Center. In 1970 Father Matt began his third stint at Transfiguration Church in Rome, serving there until his retirement. During the course of these years he also served on the Ecumenical Commission, Priests Senate, Board of Advisers, and as a chairperson on the Diocesan Personnel Board. In recognition of his many years of varied service he was honored in 1972 with the title of Monsignor.
On July 1, 1989 a “retired” Father Matt became Senior Priest in Residence at St Joseph’s Parish in Oneida, New York. Father Matt’s so-called “retirement” proved a great spiritual blessing for the parishioners of St Joes. His presence afforded them a second daily Mass, a second confessor, a second source of comfort, counseling and spiritual advice. He acted as Spiritual Adviser to Holy Cross Academy and, when necessary, acted as a substitute teacher for out parish’s CCD classes. For years he held a weekly bible study focusing on the Sunday Mass readings. Besides serving the people of St Joseph’s in his “retirement,” Father Matt also acted as chaplain on many cruises and pilgrimages, becoming a world traveler. He took up photography and delighted in showing the StJoseph’s Senior Group slides of his travels. Father Matt considered his “retirement” as nothing more than an opportunity to recommit himself to the priestly office, unencumbered by administrative tasks: “I was relieved of that duty and could spend most of my time just doing priestly work. Besides preaching and saying Mass here, I volunteered as chaplain at Madison County Jail for 16 years.” Retirement, it seems, didn’t suit him: “I feel like I’m a 39 year old with 51 years of experience.”
Heavenly Father, we thank and praise you for the preistly ministry of Father Matthew Luczycki, a faithful steward in the service of your Son, Jesus Christ. For more than sixty-five years he poured himself out as a libation in sacrificial service to the faithful, caught between the two desires St Paul spoke of: dying, so as to be with Christ, or remaining, so as to be of benefit to your people. He fought the good fight; he competed well, he finished the race, he kept the faith. Bestow on him the crown of righteousness. Bring him into Mount Zion and the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, amidsty countless angels in festal gathering, into the assembly of the first-born enrolled in heaven, and among the spirits of the souls made just, into the presence of Jesus, the Mediator of the New Covenant he served so tirelessly. We ask that you grant us the grace to imitate his faithful way of life through Jesus Christ, your Son.