Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of June 2, 2003
Priest made a difference for good
During his brief stay, Fr. Pawel Andrasz helped deepen the faith in Wabasca
By ANDREA DeLEEUW
In the next months, I felt so proud to be a Catholic.
As a speaker, Father Pawel was exceptional. He was able to reach our misery and show us how to change. Father taught the truth. Sometimes the truth was a huge pill to swallow but it was definitely the cure. He was not afraid of those who wanted to run the show. His strong character kept us to the doctrine of the Church.
Father urged us regularly from the pulpit to be proud of being Catholic. Personally, I was often afraid to speak openly about my faith, but for me and for others that was about to change.
It was the one and only Lenten season that Father Pawel spent with us. He had asked a member of the community to build a large hollow cross to carry during the Way of the Cross. Father told us one Sunday that we would be carrying this cross about a kilometre along the roadside on Good Friday. This is a small community, I thought to myself. What if people stare at us; what if they say nasty things? I was nervous about this but I promised myself that I would go and that I would encourage my children to go.
Something special happened that day. On that Good Friday people did stare, some said things as they drove by, but I kept on walking with the cross in prayer with my parish community.
After we finished, I felt as though I had conquered a great fear. In the next months, I felt so proud to be a Catholic. I felt as though my faith, the Catholic faith, was so rich with meaning. This faith that was given to us by Jesus, to build the New Jerusalem, the bride of Christ, was part of me. I felt so proud and great inside.
It was no mystery that Father Pawel was special. We could see that he came to us with the Holy Spirit. He was a very prayerful man. Every time I went to the church early, on the Sundays when it was my turn to play the organ, Father would be sitting near the front of the church in adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.
One time I asked Father Pawel what he thought about when he was adoring the Blessed Sacrament. He said, "I just thank God for everything, I adore him for what he has done for me. This is where I get my strength." He carried a large rosary as he walked all along the outer aisles of the church in deep concentration just before our Sunday Masses. He showed his deep respect for the Holy Eucharist and for our Blessed Mother.
He received many gifts, which he shared with us, and God's graces shone upon our community. In the short time he was with us he was able to awaken our consciences to help us to see who we were and where we were at in our spiritual journeys. Father began to crush the walls of fear in us all, the fears that bond us to sadness. Father's beginnings would have proved to be very fruitful.
Many people came to Father Pawel for help. Many of us found ourselves to be lost sheep. Father worked hard to understand our situations. He persevered to help those who asked for his help, even though he suffered many hardships in the process. With his wide knowledge base and the gifts of the Holy Spirit, Father helped us to know ourselves, to free ourselves from our prisons and to know God more deeply.
He was the kind of priest we needed in our community, the kind that is committed to his flock, the kind who searches out the lost and brings them back to the Master, the kind who cared to know his sheep and the kind of shepherd that calls out to his sheep with the Word of God.
Any parish that is fortunate enough to have this priest as their own will surely prosper. We were blessed to have this priest in our midst. On behalf of this community, I would like to thank Father Pawel for his untiring good works and his dedication to us and to the will of God. God bless you Father wherever you are.
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