Father Machalski Installed as St. Mary’s Chancellor

ORCHARD LAKE, Mich. – Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron, of Detroit, in the presence of Cardinal Edmund Szoka, celebrated the installation of Brooklyn priest, Father Canon Thomas C. Machalski, Jr., as the 11th successor to Father Joseph Dabrowski, founder of Orchard Lake Schools, and the third chancellor of these institutions.

Archbishop Vigneron installs Brooklyn priest Father Thomas Machalski as the Chancellor of the Orchard Lake Schools in Michigan. (Photo courtesy Orchard Lake.)

Archbishop Vigneron was joined by Msgr. Peter Vaccari, representative of Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio; Zygmunt Matynia, Consul General of the Republic of Poland; seminarians, faculty, staff, and friends.

“Like the paralytic man and his friends in today’s Gospel, I, too, know that Jesus is my hope and it is this knowledge that strengthens me as I accept the obligations and responsibilities of this office,” said Father Machalski in his homily. “Almost 40 years ago, on Labor Day, 1973, I arrived on the campus as a 13-year-old far from home and family. Little did I realize then that one day I would be called upon to serve as successor of Father Joseph Dabrowski.”

Father Machalski is the son of Regina (Rutkowska) and the late Thomas C., Sr. Born in Maspeth, he attended Holy Cross Church and St. Francis Prep before transferring to St. Mary’s Prep, Orchard Lake. He also attended St. Mary’s College, Orchard Lake, earning a degree in philosophy magna cum laude. He then attended Immaculate Conception Seminary, Huntington, where he received his master of divinity degree.

“I am a fourth-generation Polish-American but my Polish roots are an important part of my life,” he said. “For most of the 27 years I have served as a priest in the Diocese of Brooklyn, I have ministered in Polish parishes and in the Tribunal where I handled all Polish-speaking cases.”

Father Thomas Machalski

At Orchard Lake, Father Machalski wants to carry on Father Dabrowski’s vision of preparing men for the priesthood. “The young men presently in our seminary – 26 from Poland and one from Mexico – have left behind family, friends, and homeland to answer the Lord’s call to follow Him and to also be missionaries to the Church in the United States,” he added.

One of his major responsibilities is the support of his alma mater, St. Mary’s Prep, renowned for its academics and athletics.

St. Mary’s Prep also provides an educational and religious foundation for many students from China.

The new chancellor-rector of the Orchard Lake Schools has chosen a motto that he hopes to fulfill in his new role.

“I have chosen the words of the Blessed Mother spoken at the wedding feast in Cana,” explained Father Machalski. “Do whatever He tells you.”

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