Rev. James R. Bajorek, 58, former Delco pastor

James R. Bajorek
James R. Bajorek
Posted: April 06, 2012

The Rev. James R. Bajorek, 58, former pastor of St. John Chrysostom Parish in Delaware County, a marathon runner and world traveler, died Tuesday, April 3, at the home of his caretaker in Eddystone after a nine-month battle with brain cancer.

He resigned as pastor in September after experiencing a seizure on July 8 that required emergency surgery and months of treatments. He returned to visit his former parishioners in December for an emotional farewell gathering in the Wallingford church.

He then spent time over the winter in Ocean City, N.J. "He would look at the ocean and 'think big thoughts,' he would say," recalled Madeline Bialecki, 60, a longtime friend and his caretaker.

Father Bajorek, who was born in Homewood, Ill., grew up in a suburb of Cleveland.

For three years while at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary, he spent his summers in Germany working at a brewery. In his other travels, he visited Ireland, Italy, and the Cabrini Mission in Swaziland.

He spent seven more summers at the University of San Francisco, where he earned a master's degree in applied spirituality, and then helped lead the program.

Father Bajorek was athletic and maintained a healthy diet, which made the cancer diagnosis all the more shocking to his friends and parishioners.

Though he was a collegial pastor, he was introverted and comfortable being quiet, Bialecki said.

"That's why he was a good marathon runner," she said. "He could live with the quiet for all those many miles."

He completed 19 marathons, including five in San Francisco and one in Boston.

Father Bajorek was ordained by Cardinal John Krol in 1980. He taught theology and coached athletics at St. James High School in Chester. He worked as parochial vicar at Holy Martyrs Parish in Oreland and Our Lady of Hope Parish in Philadelphia.

He was pastor at St. Carthage, Our Mother of Sorrows, and St. Ignatius of Loyola in Philadelphia before his appointment at St. John Chrysostom in 2003.

In addition to his mother, Father Bajorek is survived by a brother, Michael, and a sister, Patti Kettle.

A Funeral Mass will be celebrated by Archbishop Charles J. Chaput at 2 p.m. Wednesday, April 11, at St. John Chrysostom Church, 615 S. Providence Rd., Wallingford. Viewing will begin at noon.

In addition, a parish Mass will be celebrated at 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 10. Viewing will begin at 4 p.m.

Interment will be in SS. Peter and Paul Cemetery, Marple Township.

Donations in Father Bajorek's name may be sent to the Delaware County Literacy Council, 2217 Providence Ave., Chester, Pa. 19013, or made via

Contact Robert Moran at 215-854-5983 or, or follow @RobertMoran215 on Twitter.

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