Msgr. Anthony E. Jaworowski, 96, pastor emeritus of St. Adalbert Parish Philadelphia, and host to the soon-to-be canonized Pope John Paul II during the 1976 Eucharistic Congress in Philadelphia, died Feb 22.
Born in the Manayunk section of Philadelphia, the eighth of 10 children of the late Augustine and Kazimiera (Bongard) Jaworowski, he attended St. Josaphat School and St. John the Baptist High School before entering St. Charles Borromeo Seminary.
He was ordained June 3, 1944 by Bishop Hugh L. Lamb at the Cathedral of SS. Peter and Paul.
His first assignment was as parochial vicar at St. Anthony of Padua Parish, Cumbola, in Schuylkill County.
He also served as parochial vicar at St. Hedwig, Chester; St. Mary of the Assumption, Coaldale, and St. Casimir, Shenandoah. In 1971, after service on the faculty of St. Pius X High School in Pottstown, he was appointed pastor of Sacred Heart Parish, Clifton Heights. The following year he was named pastor of St. Adalbert Parish, and remained there until his 1994 retirement.
In 1976 he was a regional chairman for the Eucharistic Congress, when Cardinal Karol Wojtlya headed a delegation from Poland and resided at St. Adalbert and celebrated Mass there during the Congress.
Two years later Cardinal Wojtlya returned to Philadelphia as Pope John Paul II and the two men renewed the friendship which would continue until the pope’s death in 2005.
“I knew him from way back in grade school in St. Josaphat Parish,” said Father Joseph J. Zingaro. “I served at a couple of weddings and funerals that he celebrated. I was assigned to St. Adalbert in my deacon year and I was assigned there later as a priest.
“I call him my mentor. As a role model, he was A plus plus. You couldn’t find anyone who didn’t like him. I am the priest I am today because of him. He was a father-figure to me and a great, great priest.”
Msgr. Jaworowski was close to retirement age when Father Zingaro was named pastor of Sacred Heart, Swedesburg. The older priest asked him if, when the time came, he could retire there.
“I said certainly,” Father Zingaro said. “While he was there, if I was away he would insist on celebrating all four Masses himself.”
Although Father Zingaro eventually was transferred from Sacred Heart, Msgr. Jaworowski remained until 2000 when he retired to St. Joseph Villa and ultimately St. Francis Country House.
Theresa Romanowski, a long-time parishioner at St. Adalbert, first met Msgr. Jaworowski when he was newly assigned to the parish and visited her in the hospital.
“He helped me in so many ways; I never hesitated to go to him when I had a problem. He always had a smile and was always laughing. He was very spiritual, and whenever someone suggested a devotion, he always said yes. He was loved.”
Msgr. Jaworowski was also a founding member of the Philadelphia-based Polish American Cultural Center, according to its president, Michael Blichasz.
“His mother and my grandmother were friends in Manayunk. He really did a lot of good especially by helping immigrants. He was instrumental in welcoming visitors from Poland. He did a lot of good, but never, never looked for a thank you.”
Msgr. Jaworowski’s funeral Mass is scheduled to be celebrated by Archbishop Charles J. Chaput at St. Francis Country House on Thursday, Feb. 27, at 10 a.m., following a viewing. Concelebrants will include Msgr. Albin J. Grous, Father Edward P. Kuczynski and Father Zingaro, who will be the homilist.
A memorial Mass will be celebrated Feb. 28 at 7 p.m. at St. Adalbert and Monday, March 3, 7 p.m. at Sacred Heart, Swedesburg.
Msgr. Jaworowski is survived by his sister, Veronica Gromelski and many nieces and nephews.
Interment will be at Westminster Cemetery, Bala Cynwyd.