About Fr. Matthew 'Maciej' Mankowski
I was born on Nov. 20, 1973 in Wloclawek, Poland. I grew up and spent the largest part of my life in Kowal. Kowal is a little town situated in the center of Poland, in the Kujawsko-Pomorski Region, amid woods and lakes of the Gostynsko-Wloclawski Protected Landscape Park.
I became an altar server when I was seven years old.
Since my early childhood, I was always very involved with
my parish church. Believe it or not, I always wanted to
be a priest! My mother told me when I was born they
gave me several objects to choose from in order to
determine what my future held for me. From the many
items they presented to me, I chose the rosary. I always
tease my mother and tell her that I chose the rosary
because it was very flashy.
I encountered many holy priests in my life and faith
journey who truly nourished and supported my vocation
to the priesthood. After graduating from high school in
1992, I decided to join the Major Seminary in Wloclawek,
Poland where I completed philosophical studies and one
year of theology. I was always motivated by a missionary
spirit to serve the people of God beyond Poland. I always
thought that since we have so many priests in Poland we
should share them with those countries that do not have
enough. It wasn't an easy decision to come to the United States. Being an only child places special demands and responsibilities on you. However, my loving parents accepted my decision to come here with the same love and support with which they accepted my decision to become a priest. Somehow we knew that it was God's plan and His will as well.
I left my beloved country of Poland, my family and my friends in 1995. I arrived in the United States on Oct. 7 at 11 p.m. I still chuckle when I think about it. It is amazing to me that I remember that date so well. I do not have a good memory for dates and names, and my friends always tease me about that. I arrived in Detroit, Mich., where I continued my theological studies at the SS. Cyril and Methodius Polish-American Seminary in Orchard Lake.
While there, I obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree, Master of Divinity and Master of Arts in Systematic Theology degrees. My knowledge of Polish, Russian, Latin, Greek, a little bit of German, Czech, Slovak, Italian and of course English was very helpful to me during the course of my studies in Poland and the U.S. In the winter of 1999, I became acquainted with the Diocese of Youngstown. The hospitality and warm welcome I received from Bishop Thomas Tobin, many priests and parishioners of the Youngstown Diocese were very crucial for me in the process of choosing a diocese where I would like to serve as a priest. I spent the summer of 1999 at St. Rose in Girard, Ohio while deciding if I wanted to become a priest in the Youngstown Diocese. I was ordained a transitional deacon on June 10, 2000 by Bishop Thomas Tobin, and served my Diaconate internship at Little Flower, Middlebranch. I was ordained a priest on May 26, 2001 in St. Columba Cathedral, and following ordination I was named Associate Pastor at St. Charles, Boardman, where I served until July of 2006.
On July 1, 2006, I became the Pastor of two parishes in Newton Falls OH St. Mary and St. Joseph. Due to the declining health of the Pastor and Associate Pastor of St. Charles, I continued on as administrator of St. Charles and was often traveling between three churches at any given time. I continued on with these responsibilities until the Pastor of St. Charles, Daniel Venglarik, passed away on May 3, 2007. So the first six months as Pastor in Newton Falls were extremely busy and very emotional for me personally. I had not only lost my mentor, I had lost my very good friend.
Sometimes it is not easy to be separated from your family and your friends by so many thousands of miles. Sometimes you want to say to God: What else can I do for you? I left my homeland, my family and my friends. I became a foreigner because of you. I came to a distant land where everything is different. I do not know what else I can do for you. But at the same time you know that the Lord would not expect from you more than you can carry. You know that there is no coincidence here. You know the Lord has put you where you are because He needs you there the most. My family's coat of arms reads: "Caritas et iustitia." That translates into Love and Justice. I strongly believe in those values.
Prior to my assignment in Newton Falls, the previous pastor had begun the process of uniting St. Mary and St. Joseph Parish. In November of 2007 we officially united the two Catholic Churches in Newton Falls, to one unified parish and the name was changed to St. Mary and St. Joseph Parish. When I received my diocesan assignment in Newton Falls, I made a list of goals and objectives to complete; after five years of service, I can honestly say that I accomplished every one of my goals to the best of my ability.
I am very excited about my new assignment to the church of St. Joseph. I have learned a lot in my first assignment as a pastor and am ready to begin this new chapter in my life. I look forward to praying, working and worshiping with all of you. Please know that the door to my office is always open to you. All of us are a part of this parish community. Though different, we are a part of the same body - the Body of Christ. Through our baptism all of us are called to become actively involved int he life of St. Joseph parish and to spread the message of the Gospel to all people whom we encounter in our life and faith journey. I hope and pray that I can count on your cooperation and support as we grow in our faith and face any challenges which may be ahead of us.
Fr. Matthew receiving the blessing of Pope John Paul II
My parish church in Kowal - St. Ursula
Visiting cousins Nathan & Maximillian in Kowal
Coat of Arms - Kowal, Poland Flag of the small town of Kowal
Our Lady of Czestochowa
picture taken in Czestochowa, Poland at the
There is also a National Shrine to Our Lady of Czestochowa in Doylestown, PA.