Fr. Stefan Niemczyk
Fr. Stefan Niemczyk, our present pastor, was born in Poland on December 10, 1953. He spent his early childhood and elementary school days in Giedlarowa, Poland. Five years of study in automotive technology followed at the Automotive Institute in Rzeszów.
After his technical training, the young Stefan Niemczyk worked for three months as a government clerk. Then, he was drafted into the Polish Marines. Corporal Niemczyk served in the artillery division for two years.
Upon completion of his military service, Stefan worked as an automobile service station manager in Przemyśl. Discerning a vocation to the priesthood, he then entered the seminary, Wyższe Seminarium Duchowne in Przemyśl where he studied philosophy and theology for four years.
In 1983, Seminarian Niemczyk came to the United States to work in behalf of Polonia and complete his priestly studies at Sts. Cyril and Methodius Seminary in Orchard Lake, Michigan. During his two-and-a-half years at Orchard Lake, he worked in the apostolates of education (religion teacher at Our Lady of Częstochowa School, Sterling Heights,
Michigan) and in pastoral care (Pontiac Medical Center in Pontiac, Michigan). He received his Master of Divinity degree from Sts. Cyril & Methodius Seminary.
He was admitted to Candidacy for the Ordination (entrance into the clerical state) by Bishop Patrick Cooney, an auxiliary Bishop of Detroit on November 22, 1985. Next followed his ordination to the transitional diaconate for the Diocese of Springfield, Mass. by the late Bishop Leo E. O'Neil on December 4, 1985 in the Shrine Chapel of Our Lady of Orchard Lake. He served his deacon internship at St. Patrick Church, Chicopee. Deacon Niemczyk was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Joseph F. Maguire on January 31, 1987 at the same church.
The new Father Niemczyk's first assignment was as assistant pastor (curate) at St. Stanislaus Kostka Parish in Adams, Mass. under the leadership of Fr. John Chwalek. Six years later he was assigned as assistant pastor in Immaculate Conception Parish, Indian Orchard with pastor Rev. Adrian Benoît. In these two assignments, Father Stefan was very involved with the parochial schools at both parishes, and was responsible for the organization of the altar servers, along with his regular priestly duties.
In January of 1998, Father Niemczyk was named Administrator of Sts. Peter & Paul Parish following the death of Fr. Robert Ceckowski. He was then named the sixth Pastor of Sts. Peter & Paul Parish. Fr. Niemczyk has been deeply concerned with the liturgical and spiritual life of our parish, and continues to offer Mass every day of the week. He supports religious education and formation of our youth, and is a true pastor to all persons and age groups. Fr. Niemczyk is unafraid to point out the various secular and anti-Catholic winds blowing through contemporary society.
There have been many physical upgrades to our parish during Fr. Niemczyk's pastorate. One of Fr. Niemczyk's first acts was the replacement of carpeting in the church and sacristy for the first time in thirty years. Another upgrade has been the rewiring and replacing of lights in the church with more efficient bulbs. With Father's blessing and approval, the parish Men's Guild erected a gazebo (chiefly used for the annual parish picnic, but also for wedding photos) on the lawn between the school and church. In early 2004, the parish hall was renovated with new paint, wallpaper, carpeting, and sanding of the floor in the main hall. As a result, the annual parish picnic was returned to our beautiful parish grounds after being hosted at both Pulaski Park (Three Rivers) and St. Joseph's Park (Thorndike) over a period of some thirty-plus years.
In 2019, Father Niemczyk oversaw the repainting of the sanctuary and interior of Sts. Peter and Paul Church.
Fr. Niemczyk's love of nature and gardening talents became apparent almost immediately upon his arrival. Numerous trees now grace the parish property, and his annual flower and vegetable gardens always add to the beauty of our grounds.
He manages to make one or two visits to his sisters and brothers, and other relatives in Poland, as well as maintaining contacts with family members here in the United States. We are indeed blessed to continue to have a resident priest in our parish, and one of the fortitude, virtue, generosity, and fidelity of Fr. Stefan Niemczyk.