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Father Michael H. Burzynski 1954-2023


Father Michael H. Burzynski, known for his vast collection of relics housed at St. John Gualbert Parish in Cheektowaga, died Sept. 4, 2023. He was 69.

Father Michael Burzynski

Born May 7, 1954, to Herman and Genevieve (Szeliga) Burzynski, he grew up attending Our Lady Help of Christians School in Cheektowaga. He went on to attend Bishop Neumann High School and Canisius College in Buffalo, graduating magna cum laude in 1976.

Father Burzynski went on to earn a master’s and a Ph.D. in social psychology from the University of Notre Dame in Indiana. His work in psychology led him to serve as assistant superintendent for development for the Catholic Schools of the diocese, and as a consulting social psychologist for various agencies.

He earned his master of divinity degree from Christ the King Seminary in East Aurora in 1988.

He was ordained May 6, 1989, at his childhood parish, Our Lady Help of Christians, by Bishop Edward D. Head.

His assignments included serving as parochial vicar at Assumption Parish in Buffalo, St. Aloysius Gonzaga Parish in Cheektowaga, and St. John the Baptist Parish in Kenmore. In 2000, he was named administrator and later pastor of St. Mary of the Cataract Parish in Niagara Falls. In 2002, he took on the additional responsibility of pastor of nearby Our Lady of the Rosary Parish.

He became pastor of St. John Gualbert Parish in Cheektowaga in 2011, and St. John Kanty in 2017.

He also taught at Notre Dame, Villa Maria College and Niagara University.  

Father Burzynski served as Priestly Life chairman for the Council of Priests and interim director of the Office of Worship for the diocese.

He was a professed brother of the Dominican Priests’ Fraternity, and a member of the Knights of Columbus, Holy Name Society, as well as the director of the Notre Dame Club of Buffalo and a chaplain for the Elwood Fire Company.

Father Burzynski was known for the relics he began collecting in 1977 while a student at Notre Dame. He donated the collection, which contains first class relics dating back to the first century, to St. John Gualbert Parish to create a diocesan shrine.

In 2017, in recognition for his decades of service to the University of Notre Dame and the Notre Dame Club of Buffalo and Western New York, Father Burzynski received the honor of Person of the Year.  

Family will receive friends at the C. Mertz and Son Funeral Home, 911 Englewood Ave., Buffalo, on Thursday, Sept. 7 from 3-7 p.m. A funeral Mass will be celebrated on Friday, Sept. 8 at 11a.m. at St. John Gualbert’s, 83 Gualbert Ave., Cheektowaga. Bishop Michael W. Fisher will be the main celebrant.


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