Superior General Father Paulus Budi Kleden SVD of the Society of the Divine Word has appointed Father Adam Oleszczuk SVD as the next provincial superior of the order’s Chicago Province.
Elected by his fellow Divine Word Missionaries, Father Oleszczuk, 52, has held several leadership roles in the Society of the Divine Word; the Archdiocese of Kingston, Jamaica; and the Diocese of Willemstad in the Caribbean.
Born in Pasłęk, Poland, he professed vows in his home country in 1991. After completing a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Divine Word Seminary in Nysa, Poland, and a master’s degree in theology from Philosophisch-Theologische Hochschule St. Gabriel in Mödling, Austria, he was ordained to the priesthood in 1998.
Father Oleszczuk served his first assignment as assistant pastor at Our Lady of Assumption in Morant Bay, Jamaica, joining a pastoral team that focused on basic Christian communities and the area’s youth. Their efforts resulted in several archdiocesan awards for the church youth groups.
Six years later, he was assigned to Portmore, Jamaica, where he built upon the unique ecumenical history of the Church of Reconciliation and Good Shepherd parish. Two faith communities—one Roman Catholic and one Anglican—share the parish buildings, as well as pastoral, social and fund-raising activities.
He increased parish membership, developed lay leadership, renovated the pastoral center and began a breakfast program at a local school. The renovated pastoral center was equipped with computers so that students had a place to do homework.
Concurrently, Father Oleszczuk held leadership positions in the Archdiocese of Kingston, Jamaica, as a member of the Vocation Commission, member of the Archdiocesan College of Consultors and the Personnel Board and dean of Deanery VI.
In 2015, Father Oleszczuk was assigned to St. Martin of Tours in Philipsburg, St. Maarten in the Dutch Caribbean. As pastor, he oversaw the restoration of the parish after the destructive Hurricane Irma in 2017. Three years later, he led the parish through challenges of the pandemic and instituted precautions so that parishioners could continue to receive the sacraments.
He also served as president of the Bishop Ellis Foundation, which provides non-perishable food to an average of 250 people each month.
He is an active member of the Diocesan College of Consultors in the Diocese of Willemstad and Episcopal Vicar of the Windward Islands.
Father Oleszczuk has served on the Provincial Council—the governing board of the Chicago Province—since 2011, totaling four three-year terms and one term as vice provincial.
He also worked as district superior of the SVD Caribbean District from 2005 until 2014 and again from 2020 until the present.
Father Oleszczuk will succeed Father Quang Duc Dinh SVD, who served two terms as provincial superior. During his leadership, Father Quang navigated the province through the COVID pandemic; worked with civic and business leaders in New Jersey to transition a historic Divine Word property into a city park; and oversaw the 125th anniversary celebration of the Society of the Divine Word in North America.
Father Oleszczuk will begin his term as provincial superior on June 1, 2023. As provincial, he will direct activities of the Society of the Divine Word in Canada, the Eastern and Midwestern United States, and the Caribbean. For more information about the Society of the Divine Word Chicago Province, go to www.divineword.org