Our confrere Friar Donald (Thaddeus) KOS reached his life’s goal in Christ on February 4, 2018, in Enfield (MA-USA).
We thank the Lord for giving him to us. We still feel his unobtrusive presence in the way he used to share his years of experience and profound wisdom, helping us resolve the difficulties of our life as brothers. We thank him once again for discreetly helping us to become better religious.
We sense Father Donald standing next to us still as he repeats: “Cui bono?” (Who, or what, will benefit from this?), thus helping us to sort out whatever was concerning us at the moment and making us anxious. From his simplicity and depth we could grasp what was really important, that our life was in Christ and that nothing else mattered.
May the Lord reward him fully for his many years of faithful service. May he be welcomed by the Good Shepherd at the gates of heaven: “Good and faithful servant, welcome to my home”.
- Friar Donald (Thaddeus) KOS was born in Webster, Massachusetts, USA, on September 18, 1936. He was registered as a member of the religious Province of Our Lady of the Angels (formerly the USA Province of St. Anthony of Padua). He entered the novitiate in 1953, professed his temporary vows on August 15, 1954, and professed his solemn vows on September 23, 1957.After completing his studies in Philosophy in the USA, he obtained his Bachelor of Arts degree at the College of St. Bonaventure in Olean, New York. He then went to the International College of the Order in Rome, where he obtained a degree in Sacred Theology at the Faculty of St. Bonaventure.
Later, he attended the Pontifical Lateran University, where he graduated in Canon Law.
After completing the required coursework, he obtained a Diploma as a Rotal Lawyer.
He was ordained a priest on December 23, 1961, in Rome.
From 1962 to 2017 he was de familia at the General Curia of the Order, with the exception of ten years during which he served as the guardian of the Friary of St. Anthony at the Baths of Caracalla (1995-2005).
He exercised the following offices:
- Postulator General for Causes of Beatification and Canonization;
- Member of the Commission for updating the Constitutions (1967);
- Expert at the 1969 Special General Chapter;
- Assistant General of the Order in 1970; reconfirmed at the General Chapters of 1972, 1978, 1983 and 1989.
- Postulator General for Causes of Beatification and Canonization (1976)
- Procurator of the Order and member of the General Definitory from May 18, 1978 to 1995.
- Procurator of the Order (2007-2013);
- Commissioner at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith for the dissolution of marriages in favorem fidei;
- Vicar General of the Order (1989-1995);
- Referendary of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura (1990);
- Judge of the Ecclesiastical Court of First Instance in Vatican City (1992);
- Guardian of the friary of St. Anthony at the Baths of Caracalla (1995-2005);
- Voter at the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura (1995-1998);
- External judge of the Court of Appeals of the Vicariate of Rome (1996-1998);
- Promotor of Justice of the Court of Cassation of the Vatican City State (1997-1998);
- Official of the Apostolic Penitentiary (1998-2013);
- Vicar of the Ecclesiastical Court of First Instance of the Vatican City (2013-2017).
On January 28, 2016, the Holy Father, Pope Francis, awarded him the Cross Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice.
The Letter of the Minister General to the friars of the USA Province of Our Lady of the Angels.
May the Lord Grant You His Peace
I would like to take this opportunity to express my sincerest condolences to the friars of Our Lady of Angels Province and the family and friends of Father Donald Kos.
Father Donald was a truly extraordinary friar. He served the Order and the Church faithfully for so many years. His ministry, in fact, was not exercised along the Connecticut River which he knew in his youth but along the Tiber River, for he lived and worked in Rome for fifty-nine years. Father Donald was extraordinary not only in the length of his service and the high positions of responsibility which he exercised, but especially in the humble way in which he fulfilled his duty. One could be in a room for a long time with Father Donald and never notice his presence for he never called attention to himself. But when one engaged Father Donald in dialog, one recognized at once the warmth of his heart and the depth of his learning.
As a canon lawyer, Father Donald used his skills to bring peace and reconciliation to those in need. If one needed an answer to a complicated situation, Father Donald would plumb his tremendous experience to find a response which was not only useful but also filled with wisdom and compassion. Here in Rome we often called upon his expertise when we needed an answer which was clear and certain.
Father Donald also had the gift of common sense. Often at Provincial Chapters, when the friars would propose complicated legislation, Father Donald would rise up and ask his famous question, “Cui bono?” which means “What good is that going to do?” He wanted to be sure that the friars did not commit themselves to courses of action that would only frustrate them in the future.
In spite of the fact that Father Donald was a quiet, unassuming presence, we will miss him dearly. He was like that sturdy pillar which upholds the great edifice. To many in the Curia in Rome, he was a friend, a mentor, and an example which we all hope to emulate.
May the Lord fully reward Father Donald for his many, many years of faithful service. May he be greeted by Our Lord at the doors to paradise with the message, “Well done, good and faithful servant. Welcome into my Kingdom.
May the Lord Grant You His Peace.
Rome, February 6, 2018
Friar Marco Tasca, OFM Conv., Minister General