On June 12, 2009, St. Joseph’s “Polish” Church in Camden lost life-long parishioner and choir member Anthony “Tony” Chubik.
Tony was a member of our parish for 81 years and a member of the choir for well-over 60 years. I will always remember Tony for his booming, stentorian voice, ability to sing in three languages, love of good conversation (and other things) and friendly, easy-going personality.
In addition, he could regale you with stories of the “old neighbor” and Camden, the way it was, for hours at a time — and you listened.
Having mourned his loss and celebrated his life with family and friends, one word comes to mind upon reflection of Tony’s well-led life: commitment.
Commitment to Dorothy, his wife of almost 60 years; commitment to his family; commitment to country and commitment to his beloved St. Joseph’s Church.
As the choir director at St. Joseph’s, I am especially appreciative of the latter. While it would have been far easier for Tony and Dorothy to attend the local church in the suburbs, they chose to drive into Camden each week to sing at St. Joseph’s. In addition to the weekly “pilgrimage” to Camden, the Chubiks attended every midnight Mass (12 a.m. in Camden) and 10:30 a.m. Mass on Christmas Day, the Easter Triduum, 6 a.m. Resurrection Mass and “High Mass” on Easter.
Tony and Dorothy also faithfully attended our traditional three days of Eucharistic Adoration, Mass on holy days and other liturgical celebrations throughout the year.
If, as St. Ignatius taught, “love ought to manifest itself in deeds rather than words,” then Tony loved God and his Church abundantly.
Sadly, the ‘greatest generation” of our parishes, such as Tony Chubik, the values they held and the stories they told about tougher, but happier times, are quickly disappearing. While I, and others at St. Joseph’s Church will always miss our friend Tony, the example he set and the lessons he taught me regarding commitment will never be forgotten. Thank you Tony.
Grant Wilinski is organist and choir director, St. Joseph Parish, Camden.