Fr. Richard Celebrates the Big 75
When one thinks of famous people born on Tuesday, September 28, 1943, three people come immediately to mind: Nick St. Nicholas, rock bassist for Steppenwolf; actor J.T. Walsh; and Piarist Father Rev. Richard Wyzykiewicz, Sch.P., all of whom will turn 75 on Friday, September 28, 2018.
Fr. Richard was born in Upper Darby, PA, the son of Steve and Dorothy Wyzykiewicz, both of whose fathers immigrated from Poland. Fr. Richard has a brother Stephen and a sister Mary Ann, and he attended St. Laurence Parish School for 8 years, where he was a member of the Glee Club and an altar server for 6 years. He then enrolled in a new, nearby college preparatory school called Devon Preparatory School, which was operated by the Piarist Fathers, and he graduated in 1961 as a member of the school’s second graduating class. He had a love for sports, and he played intramural football in high school, and he was a founding member of the Bowling Club, with a high score of 202. He remained an altar server at his parish throughout his high school career. He then entered the Piarist Father’s Formation Program on August 26, 1961. He was sent by his superiors to study at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., and he received his bachelor’s degree in Mathematics in 1966 and his masters in theology in 1971. He was the last and the 13th man ordained as a priest on June 5, 1971 at Our Lady of Ransom Parish by John Joseph Cardinal Krol, the Archbishop of Philadelphia.
Fr. Richard taught Math and Religion at Calasanctius School for Gifted Children in Buffalo, NY, which was operated by the Piarist Fathers, from 1971-79 and 1983-87, and he served as the Director of the High School there for seven years. He taught Math and Religion at his alma mater, Devon Prep from 1979-83 and 1987-2015, and he was the School’s principal from 1987-92. He was chaplain for 12 years to the Sisters of St. Mary of Namur and for 24 years to the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Also, he served as the Provincial of the Piarist Fathers Province of the United States from 1988-99.
On August 13, 2015, Fr. Richard arrived here at St. Helena as Parochial Vicar, Rector of the Piarist Community, Director of Religious Education and Adult Sacramental Preparation, and Chaplain of St. Helena School and Msgr. Scanlan High School. Fr. Richard is known for his kindness, his incredible memory, his boisterous laugh, and his rye sense of humor. His hobbies include reading and sports. In fact, on the day Fr. Richard was born, George Well made his major league debut for the Philadelphia Athletics, going 1 for 5 with a triple against the St. Louis Browns. Fr. Richard was a member of Boy Scout Troop #3 from 1954-57, and he served as a Boy Scout Chaplain in Buffalo from 1983-87 and in Philadelphia from 1987-2011.
“I love the people of St. Helena’s Parish and I enjoy working with the children and living in community with my fellow Piarists,” said Fr. Richard. We wish Fr. Richard all God’s many blessings as he celebrates his special day, and we thank him for the gift of his Piarist priesthood and for the valuable ministry he has been performing here at St. Helena’s.