Father John S. Kostek, who served as pastor and administrator of parishes on Staten Island during the latter part of his active ministry, died July 28. He was 80.
Father Kostek was pastor of St. Ann’s, 2004-2010, and then administrator of St. John Neumann, 2010-2017.
A Funeral Mass was celebrated Aug. 2 at Immaculate Conception Church, Glenville. Bishop Edward Scharfenberger of the Diocese of Albany was the celebrant, and New York Auxiliary Bishop Edmund Whalen delivered the homily.
Bishop Whalen was principal of Msgr. Farrell High School where a tall Chinese immigrant student named Hanlin was attending school. He encountered Father Kostek while cutting across the parish property at St. John Neumann, a spiritual haven for immigrants from many nations.
“John got talking to him,” said Bishop Whalen in his homily. “John realized pretty quickly this person didn’t speak any English. Like most of his parish, he spoke something else, and John would sit there and work with him on his homework.
“It was because of his kindness that this kid learned English as quickly as he did.”
As a high school senior, Hanlin asked to be baptized because of the kindness shown to him by the Catholics he met.
“That’s my story of John bringing someone home to God,” Bishop Whalen said. “So as we give John back to God, why not take a few minutes and tell God your story, because in welcoming Hanlin and all those others, it was, ‘Here comes everybody’ in St. John Neumann.
“Somehow they all came together and it was a circus at times, but John was the ringmaster and made it all work because he made it a home of God’s love.”
Born in Hudson, he attended SS. Cyril and Methodius Seminary in Orchard Lake, Mich. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1973 and served in the Diocese of Albany for 25 years. He was incardinated into the archdiocese in 2003.
He was parochial vicar of Holy Child, Staten Island, 2001-2004, and Our Lady of Victory, Manhattan, 1998-2001.
He retired in 2017 and resided in Clifton Park and Niskayuna before taking residence at St. John Vianney Clergy Residence, Riverdale.
His brother, Edward, survives him.
Burial was in Cedar Park Cemetery, Hudson.