Rev. Leon V. Bonikowski, OSFS, professed member of the Wilmington-Philadelphia Province of the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales for 63 years, died Wednesday, December 23, 2020. He was 83.
Father Bonikowski, son of the late Leon and Louise (Kolodziej) Bonikowski was born on February 11, 1937 in Philadelphia, PA. He attended St. John Cantius Parish Elementary School, graduated from Northeast Catholic High School in 1955, and entered the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales. He made first profession of vows on January 17, 1957 and earned a B.A. and M.A. in History from Niagara University. He made perpetual profession on January 29, 1960 and was ordained on October 30, 1965.
Father Bonikowski taught Social Studies at Father Judge High School, Philadelphia. Following his work in secondary education, he served as an overseas missionary in Brazil, working in the Dioceses of Cruz Alta, Bonfim, and Bahia, and in the Archdiocese of Porto Alegre. Returning to the United States in 1992, he worked as Parochial Vicar at Sacred Heart Parish, Lewisburg, PA, and Our Lady of Light Parish, Fort Myers, FL. From 1994 through 2017, he served on the Mission Band as the Associate Mission Procurator for the North American Provinces of the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales, and retired to Childs, MD, in 2017.
Father Bonikowski is survived by his sister, Leona Kley.
Due to Covid-19 restrictions and precautions, Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated in private Wednesday, December 30, 2020, at the Oblate Community Chapel, Childs, MD. Interment in Oblate Cemetery.
In memory of Father Bonikowski’s life and legacy, donations may be made to the Oblate Development Fund, P.O. Box 87, Childs, MD 21916-0087.