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Priest who fled to Poland after arrest replaced

A Buffalo priest who fled the country following an arrest on drunken-driving and felony reckless-endangerment charges has been suspended by his superior.

The Rev. Joseph Olczak, provincial superior of the Pauline Fathers, announced Tuesday that he has appointed the Rev. Mariusz Dymek as administrator of Corpus Christi parish at 199 Clark St.

Dymek replaces the Rev. Matthew Wydmanski, who was arrested Aug. 6 after nearly striking two Buffalo police officers with a 2011 Chevy Equinox. Wydmanski's priestly duties have been suspended, said Olczak.

Wydmanski, 46, had been scheduled to appear on a felony charge Aug. 12 in Buffalo City Court, but he did not appear, and a warrant was issued for his arrest.

He returned to his native Poland without the permission of superiors, according to Olczak.

Olczak said the quick appointment of Dymek underscores the Pauline order's commitment to the parish and revitalization of the historic church in the Broadway-Fillmore neighborhood.

The parish is in the process of a multimillion dollar stabilization and historic restoration of the 102-year-old church.

Dymek, 34, was born in Pila, Poland, and was ordained to the priesthood in 2002. After serving two years at a parish in Oporow, Poland, he studied English at Baruch College in New York City. He served at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Czestochowa in Doylestown, Pa., from 2005 to 2007 and as parochial vicar of a parish in Summerfield, Fla., from 2007 to 2009.

Most recently, he was at St. Casimir parish in Yonkers -- the same church where former Corpus Christi pastor, the Rev. Anzelm Chalupka, is now serving.

Dymek's appointment at Corpus Christi will be effective Sept. 1.

The U.S. and Poland have an extradition treaty that would allow Wydmanski to be returned to Buffalo to answer the felony reckless-endangerment charge, which is punishable by a prison term of up to seven years.

email: jtokasz@buffnews.com