Homily given by Fr. Ed Gutowski CM, on his 50th Anniversary of Priesthood during the jubilee Mass celebrated at St. Stanislaus Kostka Church, Brooklyn, NY, on May 30, 2010.
FIFTY YEARS A PRIEST
What purpose have we here, we Christians?
What purpose have we in life? What fine, noble, ultimate purpose but God, and God always, and God only?
Each of us has a call, for some marriage, for some single life, for others the religious life – for me it was and is the Priesthood. Today, I am thankful for that gift from God that I received 50 years ago. There is a time for everything, and this time promotes in me reflection, gratitude, reminiscence, re-evaluation, healing, encouragement, and joy for my sacrament of the Priesthood … .it is the time for my little Magnificat.
Priestly life is a living sacrament; signifying and producing Christ; through grace, God has done great things: “I live now, not I, but Christ lives in me. A great Mystery! The work of Divine Providence: through Baptism I received my first grace. In my family I witnessed goodness and nurtured grace. I went to St. Stan’s School where prayer, Jesus, and learning were part of the curriculum. It was the same in high school, the university and the seminary – the climax was Ordination to the Priesthood.
I was from a big family: six brothers and one sister. Two of my brothers told me, when they learned I wanted to be a priest – Ed, if you are going to be a priest, be a good one, a holy priest and don’t be interested in yourself.
Before I was ordained my mother wrote me a letter. She said: My son, be like Jesus, the Good Shepherd. Don’t become a priest for your family or for material wealth. Be a priest for God’s people and all people. Your presence among people must remind them of Jesus, our Savior, our Redeemer.
I was ordained for all people, enemy of no person, friend of all – with a total dedication to God.
A 50th Anniversary recalls places I have been stationed: St Stan’s Brooklyn, NY; St John Kanty Prep in Erie, PA; Oran, Algeria; St. George, Istanbul, Turkey; St. Peter’s in Concord, New Hampshire; Immaculate Conception Parish in Vienna, Austria; the Provincial House in West Hartford, CT; St. Stan’s in New Haven, CT; St. Stan’s in Brooklyn, NY and the Provincial House in Manchester, CT.
I cannot recall the thousands of lives my life as a priest has touched, but my heart is filled with gratitude and happiness for having known them all – the Holy Masses, the_ Confessions, the Anointings,_ the _Homilies, _ Baptisms, Weddings, and Funerals.
Slowly I learned it was not I that did any good but Jesus in and through me. St. John’s priestly prayer has become mine: Father, the world does not know you, but I know you, and these know that you have sent me. I make your name known to them, and I will make it known, so that the love with which you have loved me, may be in them and I in them.
We all have been called to carry the message of God’s love to all His people, regardless of our talents and other gifts. God uses us for all His work.
Jesus, thank you for all the graces of the Priesthood and your people.