Fr. Joseph Rudjak was born September 11. 1944, in Youngstown, Ohio. The heart of Fr. Rudjak’s home and family was the Catholic Faith expressed in the Polish American Community. St. Casimir’s Church, the Polish Legion of American Vets, St. Stanislaus Club and the Polish Arts Club added institutional strength to this community. Fr. Rudjak attended St. Casimir’s Grade School, UrsulineHigh School, the seminary in Cincinnati, Kent State University and CatholicUniversity in Lublin, Poland. In May 20, 1970 Fr. Joseph was ordained to the Diaconate. As a deacon he ministered at Churches in Cincinnati, Ashtabula, St. Luke’s Boardman, St. James Warren, St. Rose, Girard, Sacred Heart, Youngstown, Youngstown State University Campus Ministry (1972-1982) and Kent State University Campus Ministry (1982-1997). He was ordained a priest May 27, 2000. Fr. Rudjak has been assigned to St. Paul’s parish in North Canton, Ohio as Parochial Vicar (2000 – 2003), as Pastor to SS. Peter and Paul (2003 to present) and as Pastor of Our Lady of Hungary, Youngstown (2004 to present).
Father has traveled in Poland, Slovakia, CzechRepublic, Croatia, Western Europe, Turkey, the Holy Land, Greece, Canada, Mexico, El Salvador and Guatemala. In 2004 he traveled with Youngstown’s Happy Heart Tamburitzans to Croatia and returned to Croatia a year later with a small group of priests. Fr. Rudjak was honored in 1996 by a proclamation of the City of Youngstown recognizing his work with the Polish Arts Club of Youngstown and the Diocese of Youngstown. In 2002 Father originated a lively cultural group at St. Paul’s North Canton named Polonia. Recently he has taught English to High School students in Poland with the Kosciuszko Foundation.
Father’s passion is to see the ethnic communities of the United States find the private and governmental resources necessary to maintain vibrant links to their heritage. This demands that religious, economic, artistic and educational needs be constantly studied. The demands of twenty-first century youth and seniors have to be met in an attractive and relevant way. Our ethnic heritage is our gift to our diocesan church, our social organizations and our country.
Receptions are planned for June 6th following 10 AM Liturgy at SS. Peter and Paul Croatian Church and June 27 following the Noon Liturgy at Our Lady of Hungary. All are welcome.