St. Anthony-St. George Church
Holds Reception for New Pastor

WILKES-BARRE The Maronite Catholic Community of St. Anthony-St. George Church of Wilkes-Barre welcomed Monsignor William D. Bonczewski as its new pastor. A grand reception followed his first weekend liturgy Jan. 8.

Bonczewski grew up on Lloyds Lane, behind St. George Church, which lies on Loomis Street. He received the sacraments of baptism, First Holy Communion, confirmation and holy orders at that church, being ordained to the priesthood in 1976. He attended Boyd Dodson Elementary School, GAR Memorial High School and Our Lady of Lebanon Maronite Seminary, in Washington, D.C.

Growing up, Bonczewski was an active altar server for Masses and the weekly novenas to St. Theresa. During these years, his devotion to the Little Flower and the life of St. Theresa inspired and deepened his desire to enter the priesthood. An influence for a life of service in the church came from his pastor, Monsignor David El-Mouallem, with additional inspiration coming from a neighboring pastor, the Rev. John Koury.

After his ordination, Bonczewski served at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Lebanon, North Jackson, Ohio, then at St. Joseph Church in Olean, N.Y. He did a return assignment to the North Jackson shrine before serving at Our Lady of Lebanon Church in Flint, Mich. After a short stay there, he entered monastic life at Holy Trinity Monastery, Petersham, Mass. Nine months later, he was asked to assist at St. Raymond Cathedral, St. Louis, Mo., for the Eparchy of Our Lady of Lebanon.

In December, new assignments were made for the Eparchy of St. Maron of Brooklyn, N.Y., and, because of a priest shortage, Bonczewski was asked to serve on loan outside his diocese for three to five years. That brought him to the parish in Wilkes-Barre, where his duties now include leading the same devotion to St. Theresa he served at on Mondays many years ago.