Father Edmund Gutowski CM – 50th anniversary of priesthood

 50 years ago our parish bulletin Patron had printed those two articles on Fr. Ed:

The many years of expectations have drawn to a close. This was perhaps one of the many thoughts of Father Edmund Gutowski, C. M., one of our parishioners on Ascension Thursday. Why? Because on that May 26 he had stepped out of the chapel at Mary Immaculate Seminary, Northampton, Pa., “a priest forever, according to the order of Melchisedech.” Yes, a day of joy and expectation not only for his family and friends but also for us parishioners who have come to know and await this same expectation – the ordination to Christ’s Holy Priesthood. And we should indeed be proud of this fact that another member of the parish has received the Holy Sacrament of Holy Orders.

Let us fill in a few details of the life of Fr. Ed to bring us up to date. This will also give us the opportunity to see the training a candidate for the priesthood must pursue in the Congregation of the Mission – the same community of priests that minister to us here at st. Stanislaus Kostka Parish. Father spent his early years of education right here in st. Stanislaus Parish School. Upon graduating in 1946, he next pursuit his secondary education at st. John Kanty Prep., Erie, Penna. Here he was under the watchful eye and helping hand of the same Vincentian Fathers who care for us here at St. Stans.

Graduating in 1950, Father next matriculated at Niagara University for one year where once again he was under the tutelage of the Vincentians. It was at this point in his life that Father decided upon the vocation to the priesthood and to fulfill this vocation as a member of the Congregation of the Mission. So he spent his next year of college at the minor seminary of the Vincentian Fathers at Princeton, New Jersey. Upon the completion of two years of college, a candidate for the Congregation of the Mission is sent to the Novitiate, where he lives the life of a Vincentians and is imbued with the spirit of St. Vincent de Paul, their holy founder. These two years for father Ed were spent at St. Vincent Seminary, Germantown, Philadelphia, Pa. With the termination of these two years of formation, Father professed his temporary vows of poverty, chastity and obedience on June 11, 1954.

 Now as a member of the Vincentians, he transferred to Mary Immaculate Seminary – the major seminary for the Vincentian Fathers . Here he spent two years studying philosophy, after which he received his degree of a Bachelor of Arts. With the completion of his philosophical studies, Father then went on to four years of specialized training in the study of Sacred Theology as immediate preparation for the ordination to the priesthood. During these last four years the goal of the priesthood was constantly approaching as these were always a step up the rung of the ladder of the priesthood. At the start of his first year of theology, Father received the tonsure, admitting him into the ranks of the clergy. With the completion of his first year of theological studies Father professed his permanent vows in The Congregation of the Mission.

As he started his second year, Father received the first two of the minor orders, that of Porter and Lector. With the order of Porter the Church hands over to the candidate  the care of the material places and things connected with divine service while with the order of Lector the candidate receives the function of reading  the word of God and the power to bless bread and new fruits.

Then with the completion of his second year of theology Father received the last two of the minor orders, that of Exorcist and Acolyte. The order of Exorcist bestows upon the recipient the power to lay hands upon the possessed and recite the prayers of the Church over them. The order of Acolyte is the highest and holiest of the minor orders for it brings the cleric close to the altar, and gives him a direct participation in the ceremonies of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. His functions concern the lights of the Church and the matter of the Holy Sacrifice such as the candles, wine and water.

With the coming of June -14, 1959, Father received the major order of Subdiaconate. The obligations impossed upon the recipient are those of chastity to the end of his life and the daily recitation of the Divine Office. Then as Fr. Ed started his fourth and last year of theology, he received the Diaconate on October 4, 1959. He has now become minister to the priests at the altar; he exposes the Sacred Host at Benediction; he performs the function of baptizing and preaching.  This has, I believe, brought us up to date.

Now with the dawning of that memorable Ascension Thursday we find Bishop John A. OShea, C. M., Bishop of Kanchow, China conferring upon his confrere Father Gutowski, through the Sacramental Imposition of hands, the priestly ordination. Here, indeed, was the culmination of a thorough Vincentian training and the fulfillment of a long awaited expectation.

On this Sunday, May 29,Father will sing his First Solemn Mass here at St. Stanislaus Kostka Church. The ministers for the Mass will be the Very Rev . Casimir Kwiatkowki, C. M., as the archpriest. Frs. Chester Mrowka, C. M. and George Dabrowski C. M. will serve as deacon and sub-deacon respectively. The preacher for the occasion will be Fr. Henry Czekala, C. M. stationed at Whitestone. Fr. Henry Sawicki, C. M. will serve as Master of Ceremonies.

So, during this celebration of the 300th anniversary of the death of St. Vincent de Paul, we at St. Stanislaus can rightly be proud and thankful for offering  to him a priest who has been imbued with his spirit. Let our hope and prayer be that of the Great Lacordaire “To live in the midst of the world without wishing its pleasures; to be a member of every family, yet belonging to none; to share all sufferings; to penetrate all secrets; to heal all wounds; to go from men to God and offer Him their sacrifices and prayers;  to return from God to man and to bring pardon and hope; to have a heart of fire for charity and a heart of bronze for chastity; always to teach and pardon, always to console and Bless …. My God what a life! And it is yours, o priest of Jesus Christ.”

Today, we of the parish, would like to congratulate Father Gutowski for he has received the greatest and most honorable dignity which can be conferred upon man – he has become a priest. The mightiest princes and the foremost rulers of the world must come before him on their knees. For he is invested with the power of Gold himself. To him will come rich and poor, the great and the humble, the sorrowful, the sick and the lonely. For he stands in the place of Jesus Christ. He is Christ living in our own day. As we go back over the years and look upon the life Of Christ one thing stands out. He did not live for just one century. Nor did he only try to save the souls Of men of his own day. His interests were far beyond the first era of our Christian age. He wanted to meet and to save the souls of each one of us in this age of missiles and progress. And so Christ, the priest does live on. He continues to forgive Our sins, to help us in our problems, to teach us, to guide us, to give us grace, to help us save our souls. Christ lives on in his priests and will continue to do his work through a young ,newly ordained priest, Father Gutowski. For he will carry on exactly the same work of Christ himself. When he sits in the confessional, it is Christ who is sitting there. When he stands at the altar it is Christ at the Last Supper and upon the Cross. When he ascends the pulpit it is Christ speaking to us as he spoke to His disciples. When we meet him in the street it is Christ who we are meeting there. For to him Almighty God has given the spiritual powers of Christ himself. Yes, Father Gutowski has received a great honor and a great, dignity.

But to become a priest one has to cooperate with Almighty God. And that required many, many years of great sacrifices. There were problems and difficulties which had to be faced and overcome. And because he has overcome them he is here today. He has let everything behind to follow Christ and this has meant great sacrifice and determination. And for this we congratulate you, Father. His life from these days onward will resemble very much the life of Christ. Like Christ he will say Mass for all of his people. He will lead his flock in praising and thanking God for all that He has given them. He in the Mass will come to his knees asking Gods pardon for all the sins and failures of his people and plead with God for an answer to their many needs and their many problems. Like Christ he will cure the sicknesses which are in the souls of his people. There will be Mary Magdalenes, repentant Peters who will plead for his pardon and like Christ he will wash the souls of men with his absolution of their sins. He will understand man’s weaknesses and his falls. He like Christ will be ready to forgive men in their worse sins for like Christ he knows they are men. Like Christ he will console the sorrowful and the lonely he will fill empty hearts with Gods consoling truths. He will understand men’s problems for he is a part of them. People in their worse difficulties and greatest anxieties will never (be afraid to ask his advice and his help just as people were not afraid of Christ. Like Christ he will teach his followers. He will love children as Christ loved. them and he will teach them their faith in the classroom and in the church. Like Christ he will show them what they must do to love God. He will love and respect the people who are entrusted to his care and like Christ he will spend himself completely to help them to save their souls – for this is the main work of his life. Like Christ he will teach people what they must do to save their souls. This he will do from the pulpit. Yes, the work of Father Gutowski is the work of Christ. Christ lives on and acts through him today. He must walk in the footsteps of Christ. When people see him they must see Christ within him. His life must parallel that of Christ.

And yet, Father Gutowski knows as every priest knows his own shortcomings and failures. He knows what he must be – an imitator of Christ. And today he asks You for a favor. He asks you for your prayers that he might be a priest whose life mirrors that of Christ. He asks for your prayers that is heart might be as understanding and gentle as that of Christ’s.

It is true that Father Gutowski has received a tremendous honor from Almighty God. And as we of the parish congratulate him, we must also congratulate someone else. That person is the One who has taught him from his earliest days what his faith is and what it should mean to him. The inspiration of the home is the seed of every vocation. And every young priest as he gives his blessing to his mother knows he is a priest today because of the sacrifices, the inspiration and the guidance of his mother. And so we pay our tribute to Mrs. Gutowski, the mother of a priest.

50 Anniversary of Priesthood Jubilee Mass – St. Stanislaus Kostka Church Brooklyn May 30, 2010