My name is Matthew Konieczny, and I am Dominik’s uncle. On behalf of Patrick, Magdalena, Nicholas and Veronika, we want to thank all of you who made this special Mass possible.
Thank you to all who helped with the beautiful music, the servers, priests, Father Mark Knestout; and especially to Msgr. Rossi and Cardinal Wuerl for welcoming us to celebrate the Mass here in the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. We also wish to thank our friends and family both near and far for the overwhelming kindness and support you have expressed in so many beautiful ways throughout this past week; we are truly humbled by the immense outpouring of your love and care especially from the Gonzaga and Georgetown Visitation Community.
The following are a few words Patrick and Magdalena have asked that I share with you this morning.
Our son Dominik was as genuine as a young man can be with an infectious smile and a loving heart. He truly NEVER thought of himself. His humility was the greatest gift that God gave him. He never once asked for designer clothes, name brand shoes or high end hockey sticks. Oh except for the “50 in 07” t-shirt.
When it came to others, however, he was relentless in his thoughtfulness. Visiting France on a family vacation two summers ago he insisted that we rent a car and drive to Normandy. “There is something I need to do” he said. Upon stepping on Omaha Beach he emptied his full bottle of water, turned and bent down and began filling it with sand. When asked what he was doing he replied, “ I wanted to come here to bring back a piece of history to Mr. Lipari” (his favorite teacher).
He begged us for a car this summer and when we were concerned about the expense he said “Come on, I just want 4 wheels and an engine.” But what he really wanted was to commandeer a carpool and provide rides to hockey practice for underclassmen, in the same way he was treated in his first three years. The example of “Men for Others” being handed down.
Dominik was the quintessential Gonzaga boy. If he loved the teacher and the subject he got an “A” if he didn’t, well you know! His best times spent this year were during his “free” eighth period down at the “K” street parking lot with his band of buddies, throwing the football, playing street hockey and well, who knows what else. He reveled with his hockey buddies and loved when “Prep” had to come to “the Fort”, “pure intimidation” he would say.
What we will remember most about his love of Gonzaga is a comment he made after his brother Nicholas’ graduation last year. On the ride home from the ceremony he asked us, “so what did you notice today?” After we spent several minutes commenting on the beautiful weather, the emotional ceremony, the pomp and circumstance, he said “you guys don’t get it, at Gonzaga it’s all about the hair.”
As we all know life has its ebbs and flows. Dominik suffered a great deal during his junior year from a number of struggles which brought incredible stress and hardship to our family. But through prayer, faith and patience we endured and Dominik overcame it all. The first quarter of his senior year he had the best report card he had ever gotten as well as the highest SAT scores he ever received. And with hockey season beginning next week, and a wonderful circle of friends he was the happiest he has ever been in his life.
As we mourn the loss of our beloved son, we want everyone to know that however tragic, his sudden death was the will of God. We earnestly believe that God would not have taken him from this earth at the pinnacle of his life unless he had a mission for him.
In closing, please know that we are completely overwhelmed by all this. We thought we would be at our local parish with a hundred friends and family celebrating Dominik’s life. But we are marveling in what the Holy Spirit has done this past week. The outpouring of love and solidarity of the greater Washington community and the numerous testimonials honoring our son are almost more than we can fathom. But notwithstanding his humility we are quite certain Dominik is loving every minute of this.
We are marveling at the countless tributes and ways in which Dominik is being honored and remembered. If we as parents can ask you to honor him just one more way, it would be to carry on the message of Divine Mercy. On your way out of the church please take Dominik’s memorial card which has the Divine Mercy prayer on it. On our son’s behalf spread the message of Divine Mercy and practice acts of mercy and kindness towards one another. Share with the world that we have an all merciful God and that no sin is too great that He can not forgive it.
It doesn’t stop here. Let the love you feel for celebrating Dominik’s life continue to inspire you to seek, love and trust in God to fill that place in your heart like Dominik did. Let us all fight for heaven!