Pope Francis has conferred a papal honor on Father Donald W. Cieniewicz, rector of the Cathedral of Saint Catharine of Siena in Allentown.
The Pope has named Father Cieniewicz a Chaplain to His Holiness, which carries with it the title of Reverend Monsignor. Bishop Alfred Schlert made the announcement as a surprise to Father Cieniewicz at the 9:30 a.m. Mass at the Cathedral this past Sunday, the Solemnity of the Epiphany.
“This is a great honor for Monsignor Cieniewicz,” Bishop Schlert said at the Mass. “It is also an honor for our Diocese, and for all of our priests – wonderful men who work every day for the people of the Diocese of Allentown.”
Monsignor Cieniewicz was born in Reading on August 28, 1957, to Edward V. and Helen T. (Pietruszynski) Cieniewicz. He studied for the Priesthood at Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary, Philadelphia, and was ordained by Bishop Thomas J. Welsh on May 14, 1983.
Since Ordination, Monsignor Cieniewicz has served in the following primary assignments: Parochial Vicar, Cathedral of Saint Catharine of Siena, Allentown (1983-1986); Reading Central Catholic High School, as teacher, spiritual director, and later vice principal, (1986-2000); and Pastor, Saint Mary Parish, Hamburg (2000-2021).Monsignor Cieniewicz has been pastor and rector of the Cathedral of Saint Catharine of Siena since last year.
In addition, he has served as: Regional Director, Catholic Youth Organization Lehigh County; Regional Director, Youth Ministry Lehigh County; Member, Vocations and Priestly Formation Committee; Member, Commission for Orders and Ministries; and Member, Council of Priests.
“It is a great blessing to receive this honor from our Holy Father, Pope Francis, and to have been nominated for this honor by Bishop Schlert,” said Monsignor Cieniewicz.
“I am most grateful to Almighty God for my priestly vocation and for all those who have enriched my faith through the years, including my parents and family, priests, consecrated religious, and lay persons. The faith of so many has been a true inspiration and a great blessing to me.”
In photo above, Bishop Schlert unveils the Papal Decree during Mass.