Rev. Louis S. Garbacik was pastor emeritus of St. Stanislaus Church in Hazelton, PA. He studied for the priesthood at the Orchard Lake Seminary and was ordained as a priest on May 29, 1954 for the Archdiocese of Scranton, PA. He served as an Assistant Pastor in many parishes throughout the diocese and for twenty-two years as Pastor at St. Stanislaus. During that time he also served as Chaplain of many cultural organizations such as St. Stanislaus Medical Center, Polish American Congress of Northeastern, PA, Young Mens' Polish Association and Anthracite Polka Association and The Greater Hazelton Area Polonaise Society.
Father Louis was a humble and dedicated priest who derived a lot of joy serving his community of faith. A great impact on his spiritual formation was made by his parents, Andrew and Sara Strzempek Garbacik and the nuns who staffed the Transfiguration Polish School, instilled in him the love for God in the context of Polish religious spirituality. ln his studies at Orchard Lake he learned about the history of Poland, the country of his ancestors and was deeply impressed by the cultural and religious values which helped Poland to retain its identity and strong faith despite many obstacles even the loss of political freedom. Father Louis strongly believed that the Polish cultural and religious heritage, which is expressed in various traditions and cultural events, makes a positive impact on the Roman Catholic Church in the United States. "We must help those or have forgotten or lost their roots to restore the values inherent in the Polish American spirituality. We cannot love what we do not know, we cannot transmit to others what we do not have, we must possess the love for the Polish-American heritage if we want to re-awaken the beauty of "Polskosc" to the contemporary generation".
Father Garbacik made about thirty trips to Poland, some of them for personal retreats, others with groups of people. He had a great admiration for John Paul II, whom he met many times during his life. He was a benefactor for many charitable institutions including the new John Paul II Center in Krakow, the JPII Cultural Center in Washington, DC. and was a supporter of many charitable causes.
His unassuming and humble leadership helped many people to rediscover their own Catholic identity.
Rev. Garbacik passed away on January 1, 2010. May he rest in peace!