Saint Meinrad Seminary & School of Theology

Formation and Education for the Life of the Church

Alumni Obituaries

Fr. Joseph Orloski

The Rev. Joseph Francis Orloski, B.A., M.Div., age 75, died peacefully after an extended illness in the early morning hours of Monday, May 15, 2017, with his two loving sisters at his side and beloved cousin, Jack Chodnicki, of Pittston.
Father Orloski was the son of the late Joseph Bernard and Vangie (Chodnicki) Orloski. He is survived by his brother, Richard J. Orloski, an Allentown attorney, married to Kathy Law Orloski; and his two sisters, Dr. Joann Orloski and Karen Ann Orloski, both of Duryea. In addition, he leaves behind five nephews and nieces, Attorney Richard Law Orloski, married to Alicia Forward with two children, Isabel and Olivia, Rebecca Lee Orloski, Attorney Kevin Law Orloski, married to Attorney Maraleen Shields with two children, Cole and Sage, Joseph Law Orloski, M.D., marrying Ashley Ford on May 28, and Kate Orloski Watt, married to Nigel Watt with three daughters, Ezri and twins Mae and Clelia, all residing in the Lehigh Valley.

Father Orloski graduated from Holy Rosary Grade School in Duryea and St. John the Evangelist High School in Pittston. He continued his education graduating from King's College in Wilkes Barre and Pope St. John XXIII National Seminary in Weston, Mass., for delayed vocations. After graduating from King's College, he spent 20 years teaching elementary students at St. Mary's Visitation in Dickson City. It was at St. Mary's that he decided to continue his education as a late vocation at Pope St. John XXXIII in Massachusetts.

Father Orloski was ordained to the priesthood on June 25, 1994, by the Most Rev. James C. Timlin, D.D. His first assignment was as an assistant pastor at Immaculate Conception in Scranton, followed by an appointment as interim pastor pro tem, then pastor in St. John Neumann Church, where he loved preaching the Word of God to the congregation. He received an award as "Best Clergy" from News Eagle, a newspaper covering Pike and Wayne Counties. Unfortunately, he experienced heart problems resulting in open heart surgery. His physicians then recommended he transfer from the beautiful and picturesque rural area of Pike's County to an urban environment where emergency heart care could be rendered more promptly, if needed.

While assigned in Pike County, Father Orloski served as chaplain to the Pike County Jail, followed by chaplaincies at Luzerne County Community College, Little Flower Manor/St. Theresa Residence and the VA Medical Center in Wilkes-Barre.
Father Orloski also served seriatim as an Assistant Pastor at Holy Trinity in Nanticoke, Blessed Virgin Mary Church, Dickson City, Holy Trinity and St. Joseph Church, both in Wilkes Barre. His last assignment was at Villa St. Joseph in Dunmore, where his health substantially deteriorated causing his retirement in 2009.

Father Orloski is remembered by his parishioners as "warm, compassionate to everyone." He has been called "a contentious and enthusiastic leader whose focus was always the welfare of his parishioners." As one former parishioner summarized: "Father Orloski was a good man and a holy priest. He truly deserved the 'Best Clergy' award."
Father Orloski was born prematurely on Jan. 24, 1942, when incubators were not in widespread use. The doctor sent the infant home with his mother telling her there was no chance of survival. Once home, his maternal grandmother, Babci Chodnicki took charge. She created a special pillow that folded over itself creating a cocoon so the infant would be always warm. She fed him using an eye dropper getting him to eat drop by drop. He survived.

This cocoon of love followed him throughout his life. Whether it was his four first cousins, the Piszkin girls in Buffalo or the Chodnicki cousins in Georgia or the Russick family in New Castle or the Krymowski cousins in Cleveland, Father Orloski – fondly known as "Jody" — was a family favorite. His students at St. Mary's Visitation adored him as demonstrated by the deluge of Christmas presents his students gave him. His ordination as a priest on June 24, 1994, was met by a shower of good will as demonstrated by the turnout for his First Mass at Holy Rosary Church.

His priestly tenure was cut short by the affliction of dementia which ultimately caused his death. Dementia is the scourge of the 21st century progressively and relentlessly proceeding, day by day, slowly taking the shine from his eyes and his smile. It was a painful and slow loss of life, but the cocoon of love that began with his premature birth still enveloped him during his illness until he was united by death into the arms of his Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, whom he faithfully served in his entire life.