On the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, Sunday, November 21, 2021, our province pastoral ministry of St. Adalbert Roman Catholic Church (Elmhurst, NY) celebrated 125 years of Franciscan Presence. Fr. Mirosław Podymniak, OFM Conv. (Friary Guardian and Pastor), Fr. Herman Czaster, OFM Conv., Fr. Ericson de la Pena, OFM Conv. (Parochial Vicar) and Fr. Lucjan Szymański, OFM Conv. (Parochial Vicar) welcomed several other friars, including our Province Vicar Provincial ~ Fr. Michael Heine, OFM Conv., who served as the main celebrant and homilist, stating, “St. A’s is a legnd in our Franciscan Province. It was the cent of so much activity and literally hundreds of friars would pass through the doors of that friary, because this was where they would come as soon as they would land in the United States…The fruit of those early friars who ministered to this Polish community can be felt today, as the friars and all of you welcome our sisters and brothers from around the world….Here, the vision of the prophet Daniel is seen, for at St. Adalbert’s, all peoples, nations & languages serve Him [Daniel 7:14].” Friar Michael continued to ask those present to pray for vocations: “Encourage your sons or grandsons to consider a life as a Franciscan Friar, or your daughters and granddaughters to consider life as a Consecrated Religious. Who knows? Maybe one of these little crowned ones in the front, will be your next pastor or the principal or a sister at the school.”
At the end of the celebratory Mass, the pastor – Friar Mirosław also spoke to those gathered: “We have given praise and thanksgiving to God almighty at this Eucharistic celebration today, for both occasions; for the occasion of the Solemnity of Christ the King and also for our Franciscan Jubilee 125 years. It’s a long time; six generations of Franciscan Friars and people of our parish. Not long ago, in 2017, we had our Parish Jubilee of 125 Years and today, the Franciscan Friars praise the Lord for the opportunity that we have to serve the people of this parish. The 1st pastor was a diocesan priest who was here for four years, followed by another diocesan priest who was stationed here for only four months, because the bishop invited Franciscan Friars…We thank God for all these years of service He called us to do...” Friar Mirosław listed the 20 Franciscan Pastors by name, pointing out that there were also 67 Franciscan Associate Pastors, who have served over these 125 years. Four of those pastors were present for the celebration: Fr. Herman Czaster, OFM Conv., Fr. Paul Miskiewicz, OFM Conv. (now Parochial Vicar at the Basilica of St. Stanislaus, Bishop & Martyr, in Chicopee, MA), Fr. Russell Governale, OFM Conv. (now serving as a Psychotherapist at the Interborough Developmental and Consultation Center, in Brooklyn, NY), and himself. There were eleven vocations to the Franciscan Friars Conventual from the parish, and after pointing that out, Friar Mirosław took the opportunity to also ask those in attendance to continue to pray for vocations. He thanked the two student friars who came to assist and celebrate with them: friar Jonathan García Zenteno, OFM Conv. (Our Lady of the Angels Province) and friar Alexander Gould, OFM Conv. (Our Lady of Consolation Province). These student friars took some time away from study to travel up from The Catholic University of America (Washington DC) along with Fr. Everest Valentine Nyaki Mkenda, OFM Conv., a friar of the Provincial Custody of St. Maximilian Kolbe in Tanzania, who is continuing his education at CUA, while living in community in our Post Novitiate House of Formation in Silver Spring, MD.
The entire Mass was livestreamed on the Saint Adalbert Parish in New York Facebook page: