Priest who lived the option for the poor goes to eternal rest

Father Adam Gudalefsky
Father Adam Gudalefsky

HONG KONG (SE): The Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers (MM) announced that Father Adam Gudalefsky MM, who was first assigned to Hong Kong in 1983, died on April 24, at the Westchester Medical Centre, Valhalla, New York, the United States (US). He was 91-years-old and had been a priest for 60 years. 

Born on 12 August 1928 in Sheppton, Pennsylvania, Adam Gudalefsky enlisted in the US Army Air Corps immediately after high school in 1946 and served most of his three-year tour of duty with the occupation force in Japan. During those years, he initiated many mission activities by helping at Church-run orphanages, organising programmes to feed the poor and enabling Church publications to be produced and disseminated. 

After he was honourably discharged with the rank of sergeant in April 1949, he entered Maryknoll at Venard, Clarks Summit, Pennsylvania, in June. He was ordained on 13 June 1959.

Father Gudalefsky was first assigned to Japan. After completing of language studies in Tokyo and Kyoto, he engaged in pastoral, scholastic and social communications apostolates in the Kyoto area. During his 10 years in the region, he was involved in conducting nurseries, working in an institution for persons with intellectual disabilities and responsibilities for parishes.

In September 1977, he was assigned to open a new mission in Nepal, and spent almost years there and established the HANDS (Human and National Development Service) programme—projects for persons with intellectual handicaps, the uplifting of the status of women and literacy programmes.

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Father Gudalefsky was assigned to Hong Kong in February 1983, where he worked for a year as news editor at UCA News (UCAN). He then cooperated in establishing INTERAID, Inc. (International Assistance In Development), a non-government organisation (NGO) conducting educational and social projects worldwide. 

He was involved in many projects and programmes in Hong Kong, Macau, China, Burma, India, Pakistan, Thailand and Vietnam, including social awareness and literacy programmes, educational programmes for people who care for persons with mental disabilities, foster parent sponsorship, food programmes, collaborations with NGOs and special education work. He also worked with global special educational social awareness publications and gave pastoral attention to the Catholic Centre and chaplaincy with women religious. 

Father Gudalefsky began living and working at the Maryknoll Secondary School in Kowloon Tong, in 2016. He celebrated his 60th jubilee as a Maryknoll priest among family and friends at Maryknoll, New York, in June 2019. At that time it was said of him, “Many people spend time talking about options for the poor and others, like Father Gudalefsky, spend time living out the option.”

Father Gudalefsky returned to Maryknoll, New York, in December 2019, residing in the Society Centre. He was assigned to the Senior Missioner Community in February 2020. 

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A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated at the Queen of Apostles Chapel on April 28. Burial followed in the Maryknoll Society Cemetery.

May he rest in peace.

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