Good Morning. Thank you for being here today.
I think that everyone is very surprised, like I am this morning, by the news coming from Rome, and will understand why my heart and mind turns into both wonder and joy. I am humbled by the Holy Father’s appointment and even though I always wanted to serve God and the Church in the best way I can, I am overwhelmed with the sense of my unworthiness. For that reason, I turn all my emotions and wonders into a song of gratitude.
I want to thank, most of all, our Holy Father, Pope Francis. This appointment not only shows his great concern for the Church on Long Island, but also it is a concrete way of reaching out to all the faithful in the Diocese of Rockville Centre. The Holy Father recognizes the depth and enthusiasm of spiritual life coming together with an amazing exchange of the diversities of our cultures. Even though we all have different accents and backgrounds, what really unites us is our faith and love for God and his Church.
I am grateful to our Shepherd, Bishop William Murphy. I would not be where I am in my life without his pastoral vision, giving me an opportunity to serve the people of God here on Long Island, first of all, as parish priest, and then as the diocesan Director of the Office of Worship and then as Co-Chancellor. In all these ministries, I had a great opportunity to meet local people with a variety of needs. I also had the privilege to discover how strong and beautiful our Church is on Long Island. Having the responsibility for liturgy in the diocese was a learning experience for me. It was and is an opportunity for me to serve my brother priests and parish leaders by assisting them in a variety of pastoral and sacramental needs.
I am grateful to all the faithful on Long Island. I was always touched by their faith and love. Being away from my home in Poland for more than half of my life now, today, I can say that I am home. A home made of open hearts, which gently accepted me here not as a stranger, another emigrant with hard accent to understand, but as a brother and friend. I was blessed serving parishes in Baldwin, West Hempstead, Massapequa and Rockville Centre. I was exposed to such a great atmosphere of enthusiasm of faith and love for one another. In our common desire to belong more deeply, my heart and life became more sensitive and opened to the presence of God in the sacraments and people’s lives, regardless of their social status, political orientation, color of their skin or religious association. I want to continue my life in humble service to all in the fight for freedom, justice and love.
Humbled and feared of my unworthiness, I ask for support and prayers. I know of at least two people in our Christian history, challenged and surprised by God’s will, as I am now. I turn to Mary and Joseph and ask them for their assistance and help. I want, like Joseph, “Not to be afraid” and respond to the whispers of the Holy Spirit the same way Mary did, “Fiat Voluntas Tua,” – May everything be done everywhere according to God’s will.
Thank you again for being here this morning. I ask for the prayers of my fellow Long Islanders. God bless you!