Remembering Father Jason Kulczynski: A Great Friend to the Catholic Medical Association

January 30, 2024

By Mario Dickerson, MTS

As a child, I remember visiting the Shrine of St. John Neumann, where they had a simple marble step that you could kneel on to pray and ask the saint’s intercession. It was on that marble step where St. John Neumann collapsed and died on his walk home from administering the sacraments. It always intrigued and inspired me, how a person could be so filled with faith and purpose to give their last breath for something (and Someone) they believed in so deeply.

Fr. Jason Kulczynski graciously hosts a small version of CMA’s White Mass at the Annual Educational Conference during the 2020 pandemic restrictions.

When I was informed that Fr. Jason Kulczynski collapsed suddenly at the Consecration while celebrating Mass for his parishioners on Saturday, January 27 at Holy Martyrs Church in Oreland, PA, I was reminded of that story of St. John Neumann. I am again inspired by the selfless zeal and dedication of Fr. Jason and all God’s holy priests and religious.

Fr. Jason was a great friend to the Catholic Medical Association. When he learned that our national office would be moving next to his parish boundaries, he made himself, and his parish, available for whatever we would need. He would invite CMA members to speak to his parish or on his podcast to discuss various topics, particularly pro-life issues. In his extensive relic collection, which he made available for public veneration, there were several medical saints and blessed included. One of which, he proudly showed me was a relic of Bl. Father Nicolas Konrad, a Ukrainian priest who was killed by the Soviet secret police after taking the Blessed Sacrament to the sick. Blessed Fr. Konrad is also the grandfather of CMA Past President, George Isajiw, M.D.

In 2020, when CMA could no longer have its national conference in San Diego due to government covid travel and capacity regulations, it was challenging to find a space to host the conference and White Coat Mass that would also ensure safety precautions. When the decision was made to have (a down-sized version) Annual Educational Conference in Fort Washington, Pennsylvania, Father Jason stepped up immediately and offered to host the White Mass at his parish. Fr. Jason was fond of sharing that a Pope had celebrated Mass at the altar in his parish (the altar and ambo were used by Pope Francis in 2015 for the World Meeting of the Families in Philadelphia). As the official promoter/coordinator of Traditional Latin Masses in Philadelphia, Father Jason was overjoyed when I informed him that CMA accepted his invitation for the Annual White Mass and that Archbishop Cordileone would be the celebrant.

The Outstanding Guild Award presented to Fr. Jason Kulczynski by Executive Director Mario Dickerson and CMA Past President Dr. Lester Ruppersberger (October 2022).

In September 2022, the Catholic Medical Association awarded Father Jason with the “Outstanding Chaplain Award” for his prayerful dedication to CMA and its membership. The award was presented in front of his parishioners in October 2022 by myself as the executive director and CMA Past President Lester Ruppersberger, D.O.

CMA Administrative Assistant Anne Brownholtz, who previously worked for Fr. Jason at Holy Martyr’s Rectory, reminisced that he also had a great love of animals, and even kept treats in the rectory for dogs — it’s his gentleness and compassion to animals that she will miss the most, she said.She believes Father Jason would want CMA members to continue to be strong in their conviction and devotion to our Catholic faith and its rich history.

Every month since 2020, Father Jason faithfully came to the St. Luke Chapel in our national office and offered Mass for the intentions of the membership, benefactors, staff and all those in health care. At the most recent Mass he celebrated in the St. Luke Chapel, just two days before he suddenly passed away, the staff recalled how he reminded us, “that while strategic plans and five-year plans are important, they don’t leave room for the Holy Spirit and for God to work. Who of us knows what God will work in a day or month from now, let alone five years from now.”

There is no doubt his suffering, and death, is intimately linked with the Paschal Sacrifice he was celebrating at the moment of his death. I have no doubt he is also now enjoying the Resurrection over death that he was also celebrating in that moment. May his soul and all the souls of the faithful departed rest in peace. Father Jason, may you continue to intercede for CMA and its members at the heavenly altar.

Mario Dickerson is the executive director of the Catholic Medical Association of the USA