Abramowicz, Rev. Alfred Leo,
born January 27, 1919 in Chicago; died September 12, 1999 in Chicago; bishop, Polonia activist. His parents were Polish emigrants. He received his education at the Quigley Preparatory seminary and at St. Mary of the lake Seminary in Mundelein, Illinois. He received the sacrament of Holy Orders on May 1, 1943. His further studies (1949-1952) were at the Gregorian University in Rome where he received a Bachelor's degree in Cannon Law. After returning to the United States he became active in helping Polish refugees. He worked in the following parishes: (1943-48, assistant pastor) at the Immaculate Conception parish in South Chicago; (1948-49, resident) St. Helens; (1951-68, resident) at Holy name Cathedral and held a post on the Marriage Tribunal of the Chicago Archdiocese. In 166 he was named by Pius XII a Papal Chamberlain and received the title of Monsignor. He helped to organize in 1966 the Chicago celebration of Poland's millennium of Christianity. He was the executive director of the Help to Poland of the Catholic League (1960-68) which among other things assisted Polish dioceses. In 1968 he became a consultant to the Archdiocese under Cardinal Cody. On May 8 (consecrated on June 13) 1968 he was raised to the rank of Paestum titular bishop and suffragan bishop in the Chicago diocese which function he held until retiring on January 24, 1995. He prepared the 1979 visit of Pope John Paul II in Chicago. He directed the work of the Commission for Dialogue With Jews and the Polish National Catholic Church in the United States. He rendered invaluable service to the Chicago Polonia and the Catholic immigrant community. He was a judge during the beatification processes for the Blessed Jerzy Matulewicz, Vilnius archbishop, and Teresa Dudzik; servants of God: Fr. Piotr Semenenko Archbishop of Lomza, and Maria Kaupas. He sat on many commissions and committees in the Chicago diocese, including the National Catholic Bishops' Conference. He took part in the life of Polonia in Chicago and the United States. He was a member: Polish Roman Catholic Union in America, Knights of Columbus, Chaplain of War Veterans, and participated in the work of many organizations. He supported the work of the Maria Konopnicka Polish school and folk dance circles that were based at the parish of the Five Brother Martyrs in Chicago. He was an activist, a spiritual leader and educator in Polish culture and traditions among Polonia youth. The recognition he received from Polonia was manifest in the many awards he received including: the Merit award for the weekly "Polonia," the Spirit of Poland (1988) award from the Polish Museum in America. He was a recipient (1990) of the Chicago Copernicus Foundation award. After retiring he gave to the Polish Museum in America many of his personal mementos, some of which became part of the permanent exhibit devoted to Pope John Paul II. A Seminary for Polish Priests in Chicago was named after him.
[Sources:] "The Official Catholic Directory for the Year of Our Lord" New Providence, NJ 1988; W. A. Wierzewski, "Maly leksykon stu szezdziesieciu Polakow znanych w Ameryce" [Small lexicon of 160 Poles known in America] Chicago, 2002; Polonia Mourns the Passing of Bishop Alfred L. Abramowicz," "Narod Polski" [Chicago] , September 23, 1999 [also the same article in Polish in the same issue]; W. A. Wierzewski "Ks. bp Alfred Abramowicz - patriarcha Poloni Chicagoskiej" [ Bishop Alfred Abramowicz patriarch of Chicago Polonia] in "Duchowienstwo polskie w swiecie. Materialy VII miedzynarodowego symposium biografistyki Polonijnej. Papieski Uniwersytet Urbanski. Rzym 17-18 pazdziernik 2002" [Polish spiritual leaders in the world. Materials of the Seventh international symposium on Polonia biographies. Pope Urban University, Rome 17-18 October 2002] edited by A. and Z. Judyccy, Torun 2002; Fr. R. Nir, "Polsko-amerykanscy biskupi Kosciola Rzymskokatolickiego" [Polish-American Bishops of the Roman Catholic Church] above cited source.
[Author:] Jacek Serwanski
Translated from: "Encyklopedia Polskiej Emigracji i Polonii," Edited by: Kazimierz Dopierala, Vol. I, Oficyna Wydawnicza Kucharski, Torun, Poland, 2003.
Polonia Bids Farewell to a Dear Friend Most Reverend Alfred L. Abramowicz, D.D.
January 27, 1919 - September 12, 1999
by Msgr. Bernard Witkowski
On Sunday, September 12, 1999 I received the sad but not unexpected news that my friend, Bishop Abramowicz of Chicago, has died that morning. I say not unexpected because I knew that the Bishop had been battling cancer for several years. When I saw him in May, it was evident that he was very sick and much weakened by the devastating disease. He had lost a great deal of weight, moved around very slowly, and tired very quickly. His sister, Esther, who called to tell me the sad news, said the Bishop had been confined to bed for the last several months, and it was evident that the cancer was taking its toll.
I will miss Bishop Abramowicz. I will not forget him. I consider myself blessed for having met him and for having had the opportunity to learn from his priestly example. His friendliness to everyone, his willingness to help and encourage whenever called upon, his pride in his Polish heritage, his love for Our Lady of Czestochowa and his devoted work to save her Shrine in Doylestown, his devotion to the church of Poland in his work as National Director of the Catholic League for the Religious Assistance to Poland for more than 30 years - all of this pointing to his goodness, kindness and genuine love of God and country.
Bishop Abramowicz was truly a good shepherd. We have lost a wonderful man and a loving priest. May the High Priest reward him for his faithful service, and may Our Beautiful Lady of Czestochowa take him into her motherly embrace.
From: Polish American News, October 1999
Alfred L. Abramowicz
Roman Catholic bishop, canonist
Born Jan. 27, 1919, Chicago (IL), U.S.; son of Adolph and Victoria (Fukaczewska).
Education: M.A., University of St. Mary of the Lake, Mundelein (IL), 1943; ordination, 1943; Juris Canonici Licentiatus, Gregorian University, Rome (Italy), 1951.
Career: papal chamberlain to pope, Rome; officialis, Matrimonial Tribunal, National Executive Director, Catholic League for Religious Assistance to Poland, 1960-68, auxiliary bishop, 1968 - Archdiocese of Chicago.
Author: editor, Golden Jubilee of St. Pancratius Parish, Diamond Jubilee of Immaculate Conception Blessed Virgin Mary Parish, Diamond Jubilee, Five Holy Martyrs Parish, 1984.
Member: chairman, Chicagoland Observance of Poland's Millennium of Christianity, 1966, Chicago Committee to Welcome Cardinal Wojtyla, 1969, Mass of Pope John Paul II for Polonia, 1979, Chicago Observance of 600th Czestochowa Shrine, 1982; co-chairman, National Czestochowa Trust Appeal; National Conference of Catholic Bishops Dialogue with the Polish National Catholic Church; Archdiocese of Chicago Dialogue with Jews.
Languages: English, Polish, Italian
Hobbies: collecting books, stamps, memorabilia of Pope John Paul II.
Office: Archdiocese of Chicago, Vicariate V, 6101 S. 75th Ave, Summit-Argo IL, 60501
From: "Who's Who in Polish America" 1st Edition 1996-1997, Boleslaw Wierzbianski editor; Bicentennial Publishing Corporation, New York, NY, 1996