'To Rediscover the True God Again'
EDITOR'S NOTE — In this first of a three-part series, the Very Rev. Fr. Kazimierz Chwalek, MIC, new provincial superior for the Marian Fathers in the United States and Argentina, shares his insights and plans in taking on this new leadership role.
INTERVIEW BY DAN VALENTI
VALENTI: Can you share your outlook coming into this important post?
FR: KAZ: As I assume the office of the superior of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of Mercy Province, I am deeply aware of the great work our religious community has accomplished over the years. We are blessed by a staff of talented and dedicated laity and supported by the generosity and loyalty of our Marian Helpers and the Divine Mercy Apostolates — our partners in ministry. With them, the Marian priests and brothers have been able to contribute in a significant way to the Church's spiritual renewal. By our various forms of ministerial outreach, we are helping men and women of our time to rediscover the true God again, the God of love and great kindness, the God of Judeo-Christian revelation. And when they come to know Him more, they love Him. They place greater trust in Him. They find anew the healing, strength, and joy that come from prayer, from the Sacraments of the Church (especially Penance and Eucharist), and from intercessory prayer.
VALENTI: What is your overriding goal for the province?
FR. KAZ: Before I answer that, I must express my gratitude to our loving God for giving us the opportunity to make Him known. He enables us to dispense His love and healing grace for physical, emotional, and spiritual needs to the many who visit or call upon us. That's the overriding purpose of the Marian Fathers. I am also grateful to all the Marian Helpers, coworkers, and friends of our community for their prayer, material support, or sufferings borne on our behalf. I thank them for assisting us in this work. Lastly, I am grateful to all who preceded me in this ministry of service, especially [my predecessor] Fr. Dan Cambra, MIC, for his extraordinary generosity. All that being said, my overriding goal is to seek ways and create possibilities for members of the province to attain spiritual perfection and to grow in holiness. With God's help, I plan to implement this by looking to the past — our Marian charisms, which are our special calls to grace through the Lord — and to the future, so we can embrace new opportunities to grow in the Lord.
VALENTI: How difficult is it to plan for the future?
FR. KAZ: It's not a question of it being easy or difficult. It simply must be done. It is good to rejoice and be grateful to God for past accomplishments, but the role of the past is to project us into the future. "Look to the future" — Blessed John Paul II tells us — "where the Spirit is sending you in order to do even greater things. Make your lives a fervent expectation of Christ" (John Paul II, Vita Consecrata, 110). Looking into the future means continually discerning God's will for our community and its mission in the present moment of our history.