The mass media, writes or speaks about priests, only when they discover in him a human weakness. And then, not only does the priest and his infractions get unreasonably publicized, but also the church and priesthood are unduly criticized as well. This is done because someone is not comfortable with priesthood as a result of his own battle with Christ. If someone cannot find fault with the Savior, they try to destroy the Church by emphasizing the human weakness of those who serve the Savior. During the past Year of the Priest, however, we bowed our heads before the Majestic Lord and thanked Him for the beautiful gift of Christ’s Priesthood given to ordinary people. In this gift bestowed upon His servants is included God’s Love of people, His caring for their souls and great strength. Thanks to this Strength, priests are able to dedicate their lives for the glory of God and for the salvation of the people. Here are some examples of this dedicated service:
On Sunday, May 30 at 3:00pm we will have a rare opportunity in our church to experience a wonderful celebration, the “First Mass” celebrated by Fr. Albert Karol Osewski. Fr. Albert, after arriving here from Poland, prayed in our church and joined the youth prayer group Oaza. As a talented young person, he could have chosen any career and money, like many other young people who come to the USA. He, however, decided to enter the seminary. After many years of studying, Fr. Albert, a Franciscan, was ordained to the Priesthood on May 15, 2010 by the Archbishop of the New York Diocese, Timothy Dolan in St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Manhattan. He will be working with the spiritually and materially poor wherever Christ, the Great High Priest, directs him. We extend our sincere congratulations on the occasion of his ordination and assure him of our prayerful support. May the Good Lord protect him and lead him along this difficult path of his priestly mission. We encourage all the faithful to participate in this First Mass, after which Fr. Albert will bestow upon us a special blessing, which only a newly ordained priest can share with the faithful. Also, there will be an opportunity to greet him in the school auditorium and enjoy some refreshments.
Sunday, May 30 will also be a special day for us as we will have the unique opportunity to celebrate the golden jubilee of priesthood of our parishioner, Fr. Edmund Gutowski. On this day, Fr. Edmund Gutowski, CM, will celebrate a Mass of Thanksgiving at 9:00am for the graces received during the 50 years since his ordination into priestly life and ministry. After his ordination he worked in the missions where he was sent by the Savior because it was there that he was needed. Some of us may not know him but he is always part of us, since he is a member of this parish since birth. I am sure he prays for all of us who have made this our place of worship. We extend to Fr. Ed our best wishes and assure him of our prayerful support. May the Good Lord grant him many more years in ministry and carrying out his priestly mission.
In this beautiful Year of the Priest, God has bestowed upon us many special graces, and among them the gift of time to give thanks to God for good priests. In our missionary family of St. Vincent DePaul, and in particular the Province of New England, there are many anniversaries of priesthood which must also be recognized.
One such anniversary is that of 60 years in priesthood (yes, sixty years!) which will be celebrated by Fr. Julian Szumilo, CM who at some point ministered in this parish, who was also Provincial Superior in our Congregation. Fr. Julian is currently living in St. Joseph’s Nursing Home in Enfield, CT, where until last year he was still carrying out the duties of chaplain, and even today he assists the Sisters and the new chaplain. Fr. Julian, being a faithful priest devoted to Christ and the Blessed Mother, spends much time in deep prayer. For the 60 years of wonderful and total devotion to priesthood, we thank him and God the Almighty.
55 years of priesthood is being celebrated this year by Fr. Wacław Hlond, CM who served in this parish at one time and was a Provincial Superior in our Congregation. Fr. Wacław, even at age 81, continues his active ministry and for years has been responsible for the pastoral care of Polish-speaking and assists with the English-speaking parishioners at St. Joseph’s Parish in Ansonia, CT. For the extensive and active 55 years of pastoral life, and for total dedication to the priesthood, we thank God and Fr. Wacław.
45 years in priesthood is being celebrated this year by Fr. Joseph Wisniewski, CM, who also ministered in our parish for a period of time. For many years he ministered in the mission group of the Congregation, preaching at missions and retreats, listening to confessions, and administering sacraments in many parishes. Fr. Wiśniewski is currently a vicar in the St. Cyril and Methodius Parish in Greenpoint and frequently comes to our parish for pastoral assistance. Thank God for 45 years of active pastoral work, for his faithful priesthood and kind heart.
A 40th Anniversary of Priesthood is being celebrated this year by Fr. John Sledziona, CM, who often visited our parish and conducted retreats. He was a former Provincial Superior of the Congregation. Fr. Sledziona, was a teacher and director of St. John Canty University in Erie, PA and the Catholic high school in Concord, NH. Presently he works in the Diocese of Manchester, NH where he is responsible for spiritual training at the seminaries in the diocese. Fr. John is responsible for the program which prepares men for permanent deacon ordination and is responsible for those already ordained deacons. Fr. John helps with pastoral work at the parish in Concord where he helps our priests from Poland adjust to working in the local church. For his priesthood we thank God, and for Fr. John we wish an abundance of God’s graces and strength to fulfill his many duties.
25 years in priesthood is being celebrated this year by Fr. Canon Thomas Machalski, a priest in the Brooklyn diocese who is well known by our parishioners. He is a friend of the Missionaries and a friend of our parish. He cares for Polonia. Even though he is a third generation American, he speaks the Polish language well and travels to Poland for various functions. For his anniversary Mass on May 16, Bishop Karpinski from Lublin, Poland was here in appreciation for Fr. Tom’s service to Poland and Polonia. Fr. Tom is the pastor of St. Josaphat’s Parish in Bayside, NY, and he is the vice-judge of the Metropolitan Court or Tribunal. Fr. Tom was head of the Polish-American Priests Association in the United States and performs a number of other duties. 25 years ago Fr. Tom started his work in Ss. Cyril and Methodius Parish in Greenpoint. For his priesthood we are grateful to God, and we wish him an abundance of God’s blessings and strength in future service to God and people.
In speaking about jubilarians, it is important to mention other anniversaries connected with priesthood, especially missionaries and religious. Our entrance into religious life begins on the Day of Calling, or when a seminarian makes his first official vow to remain in the Congregation of the Mission and is accepted by the Congregation. Such anniversaries are being celebrated this year by Fr. Joseph Szpilski, C.M. currently working in our parish-60 years. Fr. Anthony Kuzia, CM, pastor of two parishes in Concord, NH joined the Congregation 40 years ago. Fr. Roman Kmiec, CM, presently the pastor of St. Stanislaus B&M Parish in New Haven, CT and worked in our parish at one time, is celebrating 30 years in our Congregation now. Fr. Marek Sadowski, CM, also known to us through his service in our parish and is currently the Treasurer of the New England Province, dedicated his life to Christ 25 years ago. We commend them all to our prayers, so that their priestly life continues to bear abundant fruits in gaining souls for God. Conversions. In prayer, let us remember Fr. George Dabrowski, CM, who will turn 80 in July.
In contemplating or speaking about priesthood, let us be fair. Let us notice the good ones and their devotion for the glory of God and salvation of man. Let us look with favor on those who choose service to Christ, the High Priest. And for the weak, for whom it is difficult to always avoid temptation – let us support them with our prayers.