SALT LAKE CITY — Sunday, June 2, marked the last Mass that Fr. Marcin Szymanski, OP officiated at St. Catherine of Siena Catholic Newman Center.
Fr. Marcin, who for the past two years has been the parish’s parochial vicar and director of religious education, will return to Prince of Peace Newman Center at the University of Washington in Seattle, where he will serve as the associate director, a position he held before coming to Utah.
Fr. Lukasz Misko, OP, who has been at St. Catherine’s for four years, two as pastor and two as the campus minister at the Newman Center, also will be leaving Utah; he has been reassigned to the Dominican Liturgical Center in Krakow, Poland.
Both priests are members of the Polish Dominican Province in Krakow.
Parishioners and students at the Newman Center organized a “Friar Farewell” on June 2 to celebrate and thank both priests for their service in Utah. Tracy Lewis, St. Catherine’s pastoral council president, who was one of the organizers of the gathering, said that both friars have been a great asset to the parish and to the Catholic Church in Utah.
“I actually love both of them. ... I feel that, actually, they brought a lot of spirituality. Their enthusiasm for our faith is infectious. They just were active in every aspect of the parish,” she said.
One of the things about the priests that Cathy Welhais, a St. Catherine’s parishioner, will remember is that they transformed the crying room into a chapel, she said.
“Now people can go there just for a moment of quiet time and prayer, and that helps to grow in our faith,” she said, wishing both priest lots of spirituality, happiness, and a happy environment in their new endeavors.
Mary Ann Burcen, also a parishioner who helped organize the farewell, said she has appreciated everything both priests have done.
“They brought different strengths; they really, really implemented the joy in and for our faith,” she said adding that she wishes them lots of joy and happiness in the next chapter of their lives.
“Fr. Marcin has a great personality. I remember the first time he gave Mass. … He has an awesome personality and so much enthusiasm,” said parishioner Katie Montenegro, adding that she is going to miss both priests’ joy and energy. “It was very exciting to get to know them.”
During the farewell, Fr. Jacek Buda, OP, the parish pastor, who is also from the Polish Dominican Province, offered a special prayer and the benediction of the Blessed Maryja Panna, The Blessed Virgin Mary Queen of Poland.
“We are going to really miss them,” Lewis said.
Fr. Lukasz will remain at St. Catherine of Siena Catholic Newman Center until the end of June.