Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Today for a change, I (Fr. Przemek), would like to share my thoughts and experiences from the time being here in Marlborough as a vicar. Prior to becoming a priest, I was formed at the Redemptoris Mater Seminary in Boston. This seminary has been crucial in shaping my priesthood and I have a deep gratitude for the formation I received there. For those who did not have a chance to hear my announcement in person last week, I would like to share with you the news. Cardinal Seán O’Malley has appointed me as an administrator in St. Patrick in Brockton. I will officially start there on March 1st, 2022. I myself received this information recently and it has been a big surprise for me.
Since I received this news, it has been a roller coaster of feelings and emotions. The very first thing that hit me was a thought of my limitation in speaking and understanding Spanish. In St. Patrick the majority of parishioners are Spanish speaking. “How am I going to be able to help people that I have difficulties understanding?” I thought. However, as I am reflecting upon it, this is exactly where God wants to manifest himself and work through me. It is not me who is helping others, it is God through the Holy Spirit that can change the heart of man. I am just a poor instrument which God decides to use. If I think that I am in control of everything, I would be a bitter and proud man. This limitation (and many others) is a blessing for me. To experience being incomplete is necessary for me to have a space inside of me so that the Lord may shower his tenderness on me. In this way, I can experience his providence and care for me.
The above limitations are a great blessing but also the abundance of love that I have received here in Marlborough is also another blessing. God through this Parish has been very generous with me in many different ways. Fr. Steven was my first Pastor, and this was a gift from God. I was very much helped by him through my first years of my priesthood. He was always very supportive and caring. It really helped me to gradually unpack the gift of the priesthood that God has given me. In a different way, equally important, was your (parishioners) love towards me. Many times, your affections and kindness were helping me in difficult times of an adjustment. You always need to remember that a priest is also a man and not a machine. Each one of us has many battles that we have to face every day. Let’s face it. The devil does not like us and will do everything to interrupt a mission that God has entrusted to us. I remember many times receiving cards from you (especially in the Christmas and Easter season) with the words of encouragement and appreciation which brought a smile on my face that would sooth my heart. Even gifts and treats left on the porch of the house were a sign of support and love. Little things that would say so much!
Right now, I am embarking on the new journey prepared by God going to Brockton. I see that He is very tender and gradual in leading myself towards Himself. If somebody would have told me some years ago that I will be a priest or that I will end up in the USA or that I will be studying philosophy and theology or that I would spend three years in Kiribati in the Pacific or that I would visit in my mission places like New Zealand, Fiji, Majuro, Guam, Hong Kong, Hawaii, Rome, Alaska without earning money or that I would learn English or that I would live in the seminary with the guys from nine different nations I would say … you are insane! And here I am writing as a future administrator (pastor) in Brockton. All these steps were led by Him gradually with tenderness and love. God is really creative in His plan, and it seems like He is just warming up!
Again, I want to thank all of you for your support and prayers. I will always remember you and this wonderful parish which was truly a honeymoon of my priesthood! Thank you and please pray for me!
Father Steven Clemence