ST. MARY OF THE ASSUMPTION
SAINTE MARIE, ILLINOIS
Pastor Elect Father Pawel Luczak
Rev. Pawel Lucazk was born and raised in Radzymin, just outside Warsaw, Poland. He first had an inkling that he might be called to the priesthood when he was about 10 years old.
"We were talking in school one day about what kind of professions we would have in the future, and suddenly the thought came to me that maybe I should be a priest." Fr. Pawel says of that moment. "And that idea just stuck in my head from then on."
Though he was drawn to the priesthood from early on, Fr. Pawel would soon discover that God had many other adventures in store for him before he started along that path. In 2006, he joined the Pallottine order as a novitiate, but later decided that he was not yet ready for the seminary. Instead, he became a customer service representative for the Orange network, a European mobile service provider.
About five years later, a friend in the United Kingdom offered him a job working in laundry. Fr. Pawel happily accepted this new adventure abroad. He later worked in another customer service role there, as well as in a plastics factory.
In addition to these various work experiences, Fr. Pawel's years in the U.K. provided him with two other important opportunities - an immersive time for improving his English and the chance to witness a kind of priesthood unlike one he had ever before encountered.
"I saw what the model of priesthood looks like in the U.K., where the pastor really has a relationship with the people," Fr. Pawel says. "In Poland, it is much more formal and strict - there is no shaking hands after Mass or inviting priests for a meal. When I saw how it looked in the U.K., I really like that and realized it was more for me."
With this in mind, on the advice of a friend who had studied in Michigan, Fr. Pawel began a course of studies at Ss. Cyril & Methodius Seminary at Orchard Lake. Following two years of seminary studies, Fr. Pawel spent his last years in pastoral formation at Our Saviour Parish in Jacksonville, under the guidance of pastor Fr. Tom Meyer.
Due to the COVID-19 crisis, Fr. Pawel's ordination on May 2, 2020, did not look exactly the way anyone had imagined - but the celebration was uniquely beautiful nonetheless. "It was amazing," says Fr. Pawel of the ordination. "It was something unusual, especially when our bishop was able to say the homily in Polish and make the atmosphere friendly and filled with the Spirit. This was especially nice since my family and friends weren't able to come from Poland and Michigan. The other priest being ordained, Fr. Piort Kosk, was also Polish, so you could say we had a Polish ordination this year!"
Fr. Pawel was assigned to St. Anthony of Padua for a summer and St. Peter in Quincy before coming to St. Thomas.
"The most exciting part is meeting people and being out with them, and getting to know them better and the needs and concerns in their daily life and spiritual life, and then being able to respond to those needs. I'm looking forward to meeting the parishioners and the people, and going to see the school and the students, and just waiting for that moment when I can say 'hello' to everyone after Mass!"
[St. Peter Church Newsletter July 2020]
Rev. Pawel Luczak