On Saturday, June 1, 2019, four friars of the Province of St. Anthony and Blessed James of Strepar in Poland (Cracow) were ordained priests.
The celebration was presided over by the Most Reverend Edward KAWA, OFM Conv., Auxiliary Bishop of Lviv, the Ukraine, and was held in the Basilica of St. Francis in Cracow, Poland.
“Today, to be a priest, one must be truly courageous. It takes great courage to bear witness to our faith,” said the bishop addressing the new presbyters. During his homily, he also mentioned the Blessed Missionary Martyrs of Pariacoto, Peru: Friars Zbigniew STRZAŁKOWSKI and Michał TOMASZEK, pointing them out as models for the newly-ordained to follow. “Zbigniew and Michał gave us the testimony of how we should behave as Franciscans today. Their witness of faith and love, which they gave in 1991, in Pariacoto, is still valid. Today we need such witnesses in Poland, in the East, in Africa, in Latin America,” he stressed.
He encouraged the younger confreres to love people as priests, pastors and Franciscans, to do everything with love, to be faithful to God, to always ask Him what his will is, and to always build up the treasure they received on the day of their ordination.
The previous day, the Minister Provincial, Friar Marian GOŁĄB, met with the four confreres in the chapel of the seminary. He received their profession of faith and their oath of fidelity. He entrusted them to Mary Immaculate, the Patroness of the Order.
The Minister Provincial quoted St. Paul in his First Letter to the Corinthians: “We have become like the world’s rubbish, the scum of all.” He reminded the brothers that even today these words are valid. But he assured them that if they build their priesthood on God, on fidelity and obedience to Him, God will be with them and will always bless them. “Never doubt. Never lose hope,” he concluded.
The Provincial thanked their parents for having given the gift of their children to God, the Church and the Order. The new priests gave their mothers a “manuterge”: a small liturgical towel the priest uses during Mass.
These confreres have prepared for priestly ordination for eight years. They spent a year in the postulancy program, a year in the novitiate and six years studying philosophy and theology. Each of them has already professed his solemn vows, namely, he has vowed to live in obedience, without anything of his own and in chastity for the rest of his life.
After taking a month’s vacation, the new priests will begin service at various friaries. Friar Marek KOWALCZE will go to Wrocław, Poland; Friar Sylwester KURZYNA will go to in Jasło, Poland; Friar Łukasz MĘŻYK will go to Cracow, Poland; and Friar Mateusz WOJTOWICZ will go to Rome, Italy, to continue his studies.
Friar Jan M. SZEWEK, Province Spokesman