Remembering Fr. Jazz

Father John Jazwiecki (Fr. Jazz)

Did you know Fr. Jazz? It was ten years ago (September 10, 2010) that he suddenly passed away. Father John Jazwiecki was our Saturday evening mass priest for many years at OLPH, beginning in 1999. He was very supportive of me, and asked me unexpectedly one Saturday evening, in the heat of summer, to be a last minute lector, even though I was wearing shorts! I reluctantly agreed, and pronounced all the Biblical words correctly. After that, he frequently tapped me to be lector and do Eucharistic ministry work, which I really grew to enjoy. From that time on, I always dressed just a little better for mass! He also said the 10 AM mass every other weekend during his time with us.

Born March 28. 1928, he was originally from Toledo, Ohio, and before he was ordained, he worked for Kresge’s Department Store (now K-mart) in downtown Toledo. He served his country with the United States Army Engineers in the Philippines from 1948 – 1949. He was a member of the Catholic War Veterans, where he was an Honorary Chaplin, Jude Thaddeus Post 1675 in Toledo, Ohio. He took his vows as a Marist on September 8, 1958 and was ordained at the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C., in February 1964. He ministered at Channel High School and St. Pius X Church in Bedford, OH, St. Julian Eymard in New Orleans, Louisiana and Our Lady of the Assumption in Atlanta.

Father John Jazwiecki and his family

Our own Fr Paul knew Father Jazz very well, having first met him as a freshman in college at the Marist Seminary in Washington, D.C., in the fall of 1963. Later they were stationed together at Chanel High School in Cleveland, Ohio. He was a teacher and Fr Paul was finishing his bachelor’s degree at John Carroll University. Having done extensive work over the years in Economics, finance and accounting, Father Jazz became the Washington Province Provincial Treasurer and served in that capacity for about thirteen years.

His only living classmate is Father Richard Colbert, who currently lives in Saint Petersburg. Fr Jazz lived in the same apartment building that Father Colbert currently lives in. In May, Father Colbert will be 83. He is retired and does not say (public) Masses. Father Jazz and Father Colbert were both ordained the same day (February 2, 1964).

The first picture here is from 1954 – from left to right: Seminarian John Jazwiecki, Seminarian James LaCrosse (ordained in 1967, died in 2020), his mother Mrs. LaCrosse, and David Malicki. David and James (later Father) LaCrosse were classmates in 1954. David left the seminary after a brief time there. Both James and David were from Toledo, (as was Father Jazz). . Father Jazz, in this picture, was a first year college student in the Saint Mary’s Manor and Apostolic School. It was also the high school and junior college division of the minor seminary of the Washington Province of the Marists in Penndel, Pennsylvania. The second picture is Fr Jazz shortly before he passed away.

Thanks to Fr Paul and his religious brethren for the contributions to this article!