Fr. Richard was ordained into the priesthood on May 22, 1983. On Sunday, May 19, he was honored with a reception after Holy Mass at Sacred Heart.
You could have heard a pin drop as Mike Pierson spoke on his behalf of what Fr. Richard has accomplished in his 30 years of service to our Lord and I want to share it with you….. “Fr. Richard: We come together today as people of Sacred Heart Parish to celebrate with you on the 30th year of your Ordination. Thank you for saying yes to Christ and becoming His voice and Spirit for us. ……. During the past 30 years as a Priest, Missionary, and Pastor, you served God’s people. Thank you for the sacrifices you have made for the church and its people. You have served in a number of different cultures, languages; yet despite the political, economic, and cultural challenges you have always kept the focus on Christ and His call to be holy.
The threats of communism and its many evils made you more committed to your mission of serving Christ during your Priesthood in your native land of Poland. The poverty, economic hardships and physical challenges of serving God’s suffering children in Peru where the average family lives on less than $2 a day took its toll physically on you, but you never doubted your commitment to Christ and His church.………….. The call to serve God’s people in Florida, Corpus Christi, Three Rivers, Pawnee (George West) and his forgotten at the Federal Prison, were challenges beyond your ability, but with your prayers and devotion to our Blessed Mother, the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and hours of Eucharist Adoration, you have continued to serve the Church and bring honor to your Priesthood. Despite rejection, murmuring, misunderstanding, and lack of support by some, you have continued to love and serve us knowing that Christ will prevail and the Holy Spirit will be active in your and our hearts.
In spite of varied stumbling blocks, God has placed before you; you have grown in faith, trust, and total commitment to your calling to serve Christ’s Brothers and Sisters. You have been faithful to go where God wanted you to go without counting the cost. You have been faithful to speak Christ’s message forcefully when it wasn’t popular or easy. It hasn’t been easy this past 30 years ….(where has the time gone!)... but unless we take up the Cross God has given us, none of us can stand before Christ on Judgment Day and plead for mercy. You have accepted your crosses gracefully.
“In the past six years at Sacred Heart Parish, in spite of its challenges and obstacles, you have stayed the course. Your prayers for our Holiness; your hours of fasting; your frequent confessions have made us better Christians. You have taken us to new levels of devotions, and understanding of our callings. Rarely have you taken a day off in 6 years without allowing us the opportunity to come and celebrate Holy Mass with you each day. Normally, you are here in the Church so everyone wishing to take advantage of the Sacrament of Confession can do so an hour before Holy Mass. Never have you refused to discuss with any of us matters of spiritual or earthly matters. Your door at the rectory is always open for any of us for a cup of tea. For the thousands of hours of prayers, the thousands of rosaries, the many tears you have shed for us, … we graciously thank you and praise God for bringing us a Holy Priest.
The Church states: “The priest is obliged to treat us not according to what may please us, but according to the demands of Christian Doctrine.” You have been faithful to the Church’s instruction.
Christ revealed to Saint Faustina of Divine Mercy: “The Priest acts in My place; he does not act of himself, but I act through him.”Saint John Vianney who became Priest of Priests… who was turned away as a seminarian and rejected initially by the people of his first church… stated: “Without the Priest, the Passion and Death of our Lord would be of no avail.” It is the Priest who continues the work of redemption here on earth…. What use would be a house filled with gold, were there no one to open its door? The Priest holds the key to the treasures of Heaven. It is he who opens the door. He is the Steward of the Good Lord; the Administrator of His goods…. Leave a Parish for twenty years without a priest and they will end by worshiping the Beasts there. … The Priest is not a Priest for himself; he is a priest for you,”
In closing these brief remarks on behalf of Sacred Heart Parish, we thank you for staying the course; fighting the good fight. We thank you for being patient with us. Most of all, we are all eternally grateful for your Holiness and your insistence that each of us attempt to be Holy. And may we all remember your continuous request that we pray, pray, pray. Know we will be praying for you and we ask your continuous prayers for us. God bless you!”.... Indeed, Fr. Richard is humble in his service to our Lord. Congratulations to your 30 years of devotion to the Priesthood!... Adios!