Karol Karandysz Pilot photo courtesy/Vocations Office
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Current Parish: St. Tarcisius, Framingham. Home Country: Zielonka, Poland.Seminary: Redemptoris Mater Archdiocesan Missionary House of Formation. Hobbies: Reading, listening to music, playing the guitar.
When was the first time you thought of priesthood?
I was 7 when I said for the first time that I wanted to be a missionary priest.
What were major Catholic activities you participated in prior to the seminary?
I have practically come to know the Church through the Neocatechumenal Way. When I was 5 years old my parents entered the Church through the catechesis of the Neocatechumenal Way and they would take me to church with them. Then with my own community I attended World Youth Day in Rome, Amsterdam and Cologne, where I heard the call of God to become a priest.
What is your favorite Scripture passage? Why?
I have many. One of them is Deuteronomy 6:4-6; “Shema Israel...” because it reminds me always to put God at the center of my life.
What was your involvement in parish life before entering the seminary?
Initially by attending the celebrations of the word and the Eucharist every Wednesday and Saturday evenings with my community. Then also becoming involved in other celebrations of the Church and volunteering to clean the church and the church hall.
Who influenced/inspired you to priesthood? Please explain.
I think I was influenced by my family in some way, chiefly through the Neocatechumenal Way and in some degree by many priests and seminarians I met and spoke with. Moreover among my friends many of them have entered the Redemptoris Mater Seminaries throughout the world, namely in Cologne, Berlin (Germany), Harlem, Amsterdam (Holland), Washington, Newark, Guam (U.S.A.), Kiev (Ukraine) and Beirut (Lebanon), as well as some girlfriends who are thinking about entering the religious life.
What would you say to a young man who thinks he may have a vocation?
First of all pray, and then speak with some priest about it, such as your pastor or vocation director of the archdiocese. It would also be very good if you would enter the Neocatechumenal Way, because it has a very good pastoral care for young men and women with a vocation.
What would people be surprised to know about you?
Many things (some of which I am not very proud of!). One thing, for instance, is that I used to play in a hard metal rock band.
Please tell us, what are some of the most important parts of discernment?
I think an important part of discernment is not to consider yourself alone the only judge in spiritual matters but to allow other people (especially people who may be wiser and older) to have a say on what God may be calling you to do.
What activities would you recommend to foster a culture of vocations?
I think that one of the best ways to foster vocations is to open the Neocatechumenal Way in the parishes. It is amazing how big is the percentage of youth from the Neocatechumenal communities who enter seminaries and religious life. I come from a small parish in Poland and I am the third vocation to come from the parish.
Did anyone invite you to consider priesthood? Please explain.
For many years the priest of the team of catechists of the Neocatechumenal Way of my parish. He told me that I should not run away from my vocation like he did. Also, several people told me simply that I would become a priest.
What influence (if any) has Pope John Paul II had on your vocation?
Pope John Paul II had and still has a great influence in my life and my vocation through his teaching and example of life.
How did you come to know Jesus Christ?
First of all thanks to my family, especially my mother, who transmitted the faith to me and invited me to the Neocatechumenal Way, which chiefly contributed to shape my faith today.
What signs led you to believe that God was calling you to be a priest?
Apart from what I said before about many people telling me that I would be a priest, I also felt a great desire for the evangelization.
What are some of your favorite and most important spiritual readings/books/passages?
“Kerygmat apostolski dzisiaj” and “The Imitation of Christ.” “The Imitation of Christ” is well known and the first book is written by an itinerant priest in Russia where he describes the heart of the Kerygma and his experience of announcing Jesus Christ.
How does the priest best follow in the footsteps of the Apostles?
By being poor, chaste, obedient and missionary.
The Pilot, in cooperation with the Office of Vocations, is publishing a series of brief profiles of the men preparing for the priesthood in the Archdiocese of Boston. For other profiles or if you think God may be calling you to a vocation to the priesthood or religious life, visit the Vocations Office Web site at www.VocationsBoston.org.