After 27 years in Western Australia and 38 years of priesthood, Fr John (Jan Edward) Liszka died in Hollywood Private Hospital at about 5.30pm on Wednesday, February 20.
Fr Liszka was born at Brzeg Dolny in Poland on May 19, 1952 and attended the major seminary of the Salvatorians at Bagno, Poland. He was ordained there on April 21, 1979 and his first appointment was to Koczurki parish in 1979-80.
He moved to England at both Abbots Langley and Wealdstone for preparation for work in Australia and arrived in WA in 1981, going initially to Bellevue parish (now Greenmount). He was the third Polish Salvatorian to volunteer for Australia; Fr Cas Stuglik, Parish Priest at Armadale, was the first.
Later in 1981 he moved to the Geraldton Diocese and served first at the Cathedral parish and then South Hedland before moving to Three Springs in 1982.
In 1983 he moved to Bunbury Diocese and was stationed at Esperance until 1988.
He served at Katanning from 1989 to 1992 and returned to Esperance from 1992-94, before finishing his time in the Bunbury Diocese with a stint on Supply at Bunbury Cathedral.
He worked in Gosnells and Thornlie in 1995 and at St Mary’s Cathedral from 1995-97.
He was incardinated as a priest of the Archdiocese on December 8, 1996.
Fr Liszka was chaplain at Chisholm College in 1997-98 and also worked in the Bullsbrook, Bindoon, Moore River, Gingin pastoral area.
He was parish priest at Carlisle from 1998-2003 and at Ellenbrook from 2003 to 2005 when he retired because of illness.
Fr Liszka had a long battle with cancer before his death.
His Requiem Mass at St Joachim’s Pro-Cathedral on Friday February 29 was concelebrated by Archbishop Hickey and priests of the Archdiocese and was attended by members of his family from Poland.
In his eulogy, Fr John Jegorow, Parish Priest of Ballajura, described Fr Liszka as a man of great energy, enthusiasm and capacity to dream and to fulfil his dreams.
He was a warm host who loved to entertain and to do his own cooking, often ringing his sister Renata in Poland for details of recipes for well-remembered Polish food.
The last five years were sad for Fr John, but he did not burden others with his problems. In May 2002 his mother died, and in December that year his youngest brother Edward was killed in an accident. Only three weeks ago he was comforting his sister Renata on the death of her husband Franczisek.
He is survived by his father and sister, and five nephews and four nieces. He was also great-uncle to three.