Father Barnabas Gorski OFM – 50th anniversary of priesthood

50 years ago, our parish bulletin Patron printed the following article:

The seminary chapel of the Franciscan Seminary of Christ the King, West Chicago, Illinois, was the scene of the elevation of seven deacons to the Holy Priesthood on February 2nd. Among the newly Ordained was Father Barnabas Gorski, O.M.F.

Fourth in line, of a family of five children, Father Barnabas was born on February 5, 1933. His primary education was completed in the parish school from which he graduated in February of 1947. For the next three and a half years he received his high school education from the Marist Brothers at st. Agnes High School, New York City. After his graduation in 1950, he was admitted to St. Bonaventure’s Minor Seminary and High School in Sturtevant, Wisconsin. St. Bonaventure’s is conducted by the Franciscan Friars of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Province and it is preparatory stage before formal studies for the Priesthood are begun. A great majority of the 500 Franciscans of the Assumption Province are of Polish extraction. Due to the fact that the larger friaries and houses of studies are situated in the Middle West, but the Province of the Friars do apostolic work in the Middle West. But the Province itself does extend to the East with a high school at Watkins Glen,  New York, mission houses in Canton, Mass. and Pittsburgh, Pa ., and teaching positions in Philadelphia and Lodi, N. J.

Upon his entrance into the Novitiate in August, 1951, the former Medard Gorski was invested with the Franciscan habit and received the religious name of Frater Barnabas. In October of 1951 the Novitiate was transferred from the Motherhouse, Pulaski, Wis., where it had been situated for over 50 years to the newly purchased Queen of Peace Novitiate in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. Here it is that Frater Barnabas completed his Novitiate and pronounced his Simple Vows as a Franciscan on August 15, 1952.

The following four years were spent pursuing college studies at St. Francis College, Burlington, Wisconsin. While in college Frater Barnabas had been afforded the opportunity by his superiors of assisting the chaplain at the Southern Wisconsin Colony and Training School of mental deficient situated at Union Grove, about 15 miles from Burlington, For over three years he taught religion  trained altar boys, and prepared the inhabitants for the reception of the sacraments of Penance, Holy Communion, and Confirmation. At the end of his third year of college Frater Barnabas pronounced his Solemn Vows in August of 1955. Since the spacious college grounds contain many grottoes and shrines, it is the site of numerous pilgrimages during the warm months. Pilgrims come from Milwaukee, Wis., Chicago, Ill., Indiana, and the surroundings areas in Wisconsin to spend a day of prayer and devotion at st. Francis Friary and College. Frater Barnabas majority of manual labor time was spent in assisting in the care and culture of the numerous flower beds and rock gardens adorning the grounds. The winter months found him also working in the college green house preparing plants and seedling for the Spring plantings. The opportunities offered to him by his Franciscan superiors also included the task of a camp counselor for two Summers of his theologate at the St. Francis Boys Camp located in Libertyville, Illinois and operated by the Franciscan Friars of the Assumption Province. The newly-built Theological Seminary of Christ the King in West Chicago, Illinois has been the home of Father Barnabas for the past three and a half years. Here he has been pursuing theological studies. In addition to his formal theological studies which will end in June, he is still obliged to an additional year of Pastoral Theology in conformity with the latest papal decrees in this regard. Upon the completion of all his studies he will then receive assignment from his superiors. The apostolate of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Province is a multiple one. In addition to teaching in 4 high schools, 2 colleges, a major seminary and a vocational school for Brothers, the Francis..” cans of the Province run and staff a printery and publishing house, a radio program, foreign mission of the Philippines, home mission in Miss., retreat house, chaplaincies in hospitals and convents, and parishes. The Friars preach and conduct 40 hour devotions, parish missions, as well as individual retreats and Fraternities of the Third Order of St. Francis.