Father Francis Florczyk
I grew up in Nowy Targ, Poland, in the Archdiocese of Krakow, where Cardinal Karol Wojtyla (later Pope John Paul II) was Archbishop. I was confirmed by Him and in 1975 He has approved me to the Metropolitan Seminary in Krakow. On May 17, 1981 I was ordained by His successor, Cardinal Franciszek Macharski (my rector and professor) in the Royal Wawel Cathedral in Krakow.
I had been close to Holy Father John Paul II, visited him many times in the Vatican and concelebrated Holy Mass with Him in his private chapel. I thank our Merciful God for the great gift of growing up so close to the Blessed John Paul II, and always pray through his intercession, that I serve until the end to Jesus Christ, to His Church and to all the people, like Him.
When Cardinal Joseph Bernardin sought priests to serve Chicago’s growing Polish community, I was sent by Cardinal Franciszek Macharski to Five Holy Martyrs Parish in Chicago in 1996.
I was incardinated into the Archdiocese of Chicago in 2003. I served as Associate Pastor at Five Holy Martyrs, Chicago (1996-99), St. Blasé, Argo-Summit (1999-2003), SS. Cyril and Methodius, Lemont (2003-2008), St. Joseph, Summit (2008-2009) and St. George Church, Tinley Park (2009-2013). I also served as Administrator at St. George Church from September 2011 to April 2012. I also am chaplain to the Polish Highlands Alliance and Polish Folk Artists.
I give thanks to God and Cardinal Francis George, our Archbishop, for appointing me to the Parish of St. Helen in Chicago (July 1, 2013), to serve all of you as Pastor. Dear sisters and brothers in Christ, along with children and young people, I pray for you every day, and please pray for me, that I served you best to grow in faith, hope and love, in our common pilgrimage to Heaven.
Agnieszka Brandys was born in Poland. She graduated there with a Master’s Degree in Economics. Upon arriving in Chicago, she has received the Archdiocese of Chicago Certification as a catechist. She has been working in the parish since 2006. Agnieszka is a Director of Religious Education for children preparing for First Eucharist and Confirmation and she works as an Administrative Assistant at our parish office.
In June 2012, she celebrated her wedding here at St. Helen.
Alex arrived at St. Helen’s in September of 2013. He is in charge of providing music for all weekend Liturgies, feast days, weddings, and funerals, both Polish and English, that occur at St. Helen’s. Alex plays the organ, piano, and cantors for all masses. He also directs the Liturgical Choir that sings at the 9am mass, the contemporary Praise Team that sings at the 6pm mass, and any other music volunteers. These relaxed and fun groups are always looking for new members.
Allow me to introduce myself! My name is Alex Fries (freeze) and I am the new director of music here at St. Helen. I am originally from a small town in Ohio called Norwalk, and came to Chicago for college. I graduated in May 2013 from VanderCook College of Music with a Bachelor in Music Education. I’ve been involved in the music ministry since I began playing instruments in elementary school.
If you have questions about the music ministry at St. Helen’s, are interested in becoming involved in the music ministry, or need to discuss music for a special liturgy at St. Helen’s, please e-mail Alex at email@example.com.