Assumption Parishioner Tended To Abandoned Babies at LICH
Jerry Slaski may have been a member of Assumption Roman Catholic Church, but the whole neighborhood shared him.
Members of Assumption parish, his family, friends and neighbors filled the church last week for a Mass of the Resurrection. Slaski, 84, died earlier this month after a brief illness.
Concelebrating the Mass were Fathers Edward P. Doran, pastor/administrator of St. Charles Borromeo and Assumption parishes, Joseph Gaspar Hugo and James W. King. Fr. King, who served as pastor of Assumption for five years before being named as Spiritual Director at the Douglaston Seminary of the Immaculate Conception and Director of the House of Discernment there, returned to the Heights for this occasion. Also concelebrating the Mass with them was Fr. Kevin Abels, pastor of St. Sebastian Parish in Woodside.
A native of Saginaw, Michigan and graduate of Central Michigan University, Slaski moved to New York City as young man for a career in the performing arts. He soon adopted Brooklyn as his home. But a career and vocation are different from each other, even for laypeople. And Jerry discovered that his true calling was being a valued member of the Assumption family. His fellow parishioners say that he “gave of himself with open arms and an open heart. He worked tirelessly over the years at Assumption’s many fundraising events…His baked goods, his hard work and his cheery disposition were always in demand,” according to the printed service leaflet.
Slaski brought his theatrical experience to liturgy, as the daily lector, proclaiming the Scriptures at Assumption’s weekday 8 a.m. Mass. He also led the Saturday Rosary Prayer Group. He faithfully volunteered for and attended every church function—religious and social. And that social bonding stretched beyond the boundaries of the church sanctuary to local restaurants, where he and fellow parishioners regularly shared breakfast after Mass.
Slaski’s love for children inspired him to volunteer at Long Island College Hospital, where he helped care for the “boarder babies,” those who had been abandoned there without anyone to show them love. In many cases, the newborns received their first feeding bottle from Jerry.
Slaski’s fellow parishioners, through a remembrance booklet, describe him as a good listener and gifted evangelist, especially in how he welcomed newcomers and made them feel at home. He was also a raconteur and opera lover.
Surviving him are his niece, Patricia Cody, her husband Patrick and daughter Julia; and several other nieces, nephews and grandnieces.