Father Vincent C. Zebrowski, MM

Born: April 25, 1929
Ordained: June 9, 1956
Died: May 13, 1983

Father Vincent C. Zebrowski  died on May 13, 1983, in Merida, Mexico. He was ministered to sacramentally by Father Dick Clifford and medically by the best of doctors and staff in Merida. Faced with health problems over the years, he was well prepared for death when it came so swiftly. That he was not a burden to others surely was Vince’s preference in death, as it was in life.

Born in South River, N.J., on April 25, 1929, Vincent was the only son of three children born to Ladislaus Zebrowski and Emilia Rawa. From his Polish background and his mother, especially, Vince was imbued with a deep faith and respect for the heritage of the Church. Through Monsignor Wujek, pastor of St. Mary’s Church and his spiritual father from his earliest years, however, came the call to mission and to Maryknoll. After graduating from St. Mary’s High, South Amboy, New Jersey, as suinma cum laude and with the award for excellence in Religion, Vince entered Maryknoll at Lakewood in 1947. At that time he wrote that his interest in foreign missions was from his earliest memory due to Monsignor Wujek.

During his time of formation with Maryknoll, he was seen as a good student with special abilities in language. Steady and consistent, open to the rule and a regulated life, Vince was at home with seminary training. Ordained June 9, 1956, he was assigned to the Mexico Region where he lived his entire mission career. Always recognized for his administrative ability and, indeed, appointed Second Regional Assistant in 1975, Vince, nevertheless, served best as pastor and leader of people.

When entering Maryknoll, Father Zebrowski looked upon mission as a work to be done. In Mexico he never faltered from this course. While not one to volunteer, Vince zealously performed all the tasks given him. He was, in each regional assignment, seen as a man of balanced initiative – dependable in work, confident in himself, and with good judgment in decisions.

On Friday, May 13th, a Wake Service was conducted in Merida. The Funeral Mass was on May 14th at the Parish of San Sebastian, with Father John Lomasney as Principal Celebrant and Father Vincent P. Mallon as Homilist. Burial followed in Ardenes de la Paz Cemetery. At Maryknoll, N.Y. Mass was offered on May 19th with Father William Frazier as Celebrant and Father Elmer Wurth as Homilist, both classmates of Vince.

Humanly speaking, Vince’s death seems so premature. He had celebrated his fifty-fourth birthday less than a month before. Perhaps God’s way might be seen in Vince’s greatest joy, working with youth. Indeed, a convivencia for the youth of San Sebastian was planned by Vince to take place on Saturday, the day of his burial. He justly prided himself on being well received by the people, on his close friendships among both priests and laity, and particularly on his identification with the youth. It is fitting that he be remembered as young. It is fitting that we rejoice this day in God, who has given joy to his youth.