Deacon Maciej Araszkiewicz Pilot photo/George Martell
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[This is the seventh in a series of articles profiling each of the 13 men who will be ordained to the priesthood on May 18.]
CHESTNUT HILL -- Before he entered the seminary, Deacon Maciej Araszkiewicz enjoyed a seemingly successful career in computer science.
"My dream was always to write computer games, to be a computer game programmer," he told the Pilot in a March 8 interview.
He grew up in a Catholic family in Bydgoszcz, Poland. He first thought about becoming a priest when he was about 27. Before that, he said, he had not seen anything appealing about that vocation.
"I didn't have, really, faith or (a) relationship with God," Deacon Araszkiewicz said.
That changed when he went on a pilgrimage to Czestochowa, Poland. He was impressed by the faith of the pilgrims he met there.
"It opened my eyes, the fact that somebody believed like this," he said.
After that pilgrimage, Deacon Araszkiewicz became more involved in church life. At one point, he went on a retreat where he learned about the spiritual exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola, which made him consider entering the Society of Jesus.
Then, his cousin invited him to attened the catechesis of the Neocatechumenal Way. He agreed, he told the Pilot, more out of curiosity and a desire to meet people. He soon joined that community, and at his first retreat he learned about the Redemptoris Mater seminaries.
"I was thinking that God answered my prayers about my vocation, where should I go," Deacon Araszkiewicz said.
After earning a doctorate in mechanical engineering, he received an opportunity to write games for Nintendo Wii, but by that point he was already thinking about entering the seminary.
The job was the fulfillment of a goal he had had since his youth, "but in the end, it didn't fulfill me," Deacon Araszkiewicz said.
He worked at this job for a month, then resigned and entered the seminary.
He went on the Neocatechumenal Way's retreat for candidates for the priesthood in Italy, where he was assigned to the Redemptoris Mater Seminary of Boston. He said he was happy with his assignment, partly because he already spoke English and had been to the United States before. When he was 24, he had stayed in Nashville, Tennessee, for work and travel.
As a seminarian, Deacon Araszkiewicz had two years of pastoral formation in Brooklyn, New York, and one year in Detroit, Michigan.
"God was helping me all this time, also to abandon myself, and to find his love in the difficulties, to find that whenever I abandon some part of myself, I give myself to him, that he transforms it, and in the end I am happy for the will of God," he said.
The Bible verse he chose for his ordination card is Psalm 37:4, "Make the Lord your delight, and he will give you the desires of your heart."
"Many people think to be in the Church you have to deal with commandments to obey God. But in the end, this verse also says God grants the desires of the heart," Deacon Araszkiewicz said.
He experienced the truth of this during a pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in March. As a teenager, he said, he had been interested in ancient American cultures, and during his time in Tennessee he had wanted to visit Mexico and see the pyramids, but he had been unable to do so. On this pilgrimage, after visiting Guadalupe, he was finally able to see the Aztec pyramids.
"After years in the seminary, God granted the desire," Deacon Araszkiewicz said.
"Somebody might say to enter the seminary is such a commitment. But in the end," he said, "I see that God is making my life beautiful."