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"He must grow greater, while I must grow smaller" (Jn 3: 30)
Fr. Slawomir Kalisz OMI
How did it happen that I became a priest, in the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate (OMI)?
I was born in Poland in 1970 to a very loving couple. Two years later my sister was born. From my early schooling days many things interested me. I enjoyed sport, music and friends. About that time I first had the idea of becoming a priest but I told no body about it.
Study came easily. Primary school was followed by secondary school and I specialized in Maths and Physics. Everyone thought that I would go on for further education. At that time I met an Oblate priest while he was on holidays in my hometown. He had been working in Madagascar. I asked for the address of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate and that was how it all began. I attended a vocational retreat and weekends. Later I became more involved in my parish life especially working with the Altar Boys. During that time I saw the movie: "The Mission". It inspired in me a great desire to become a missionary.
After successfully completing my secondary education I entered the Oblate novitiate. That was the most beautiful year in my life. After that I went to my Seminary in Obra in Western Poland where I spent the next six years. During that time I was thinking about where I should serve my call as a missionary. At first I thought about Madagascar, then about countries of the former Soviet Union, later Siberia and finally China/Hong Kong.
In the Seminary I performed many functions. I was a beekeeper, I looked after visitors, and during my last two years, I was responsible for 100 Altar Boys in Oblate Parish in Obra. As a result I become attracted to pastoral work.
Then came my day of ordination, which was on 20th June 1996. The Oblate Bishop Eugeniusz Juretzko OMI from Cameroon ordained me and our Superior General, Father Marcello Zago OMI, gave me, my First Obedience. I was assigned to the Chinese Mission and on that day, my missionary and priestly life began.
Two months later I found myself in Australia where I studied English at Monash University in Melbourne. My first year of priesthood was very exciting because of being in a different country and culture. After endeavoring to "master" English, I took my first steps in pastoral work in St. David's Parish in Adelaide.
Finally on the 22nd of December 1997 I came to Hong Kong. My Superior sent me to Chinese University to study Cantonese. After two years, in April 2000 I finished my study of Cantonese. It is true that Cantonese is not very easy to learn, but I believe that God gave me the strength and patience to learn such a difficult language.
My first assignment was to serve the Chinese speaking Parish at St. Jude's in North Point. In St. Jude's Parish I took my first steps in serving the local community. It was a good experience because of the many things I learned there. A year later I was working in St. Mary's Parish. But, God's will is always surprising us. On 16th December 2001, I was appointed Parish Priest of Notre Dame Parish in Ma Tau Wai.
I do not know what the future holds for me but from what I have already received from God I am very thankful. I have always desired to serve God and His people.
I still remember my motto from my Ordination picture: "He must grow greater, while I must grow smaller."(Jn 3:30) These are the words that John the Baptist spoke about Jesus.
I love my priesthood even though at times it has not been without difficulty. I summarize my priestly service in the words of Father Twardowski:
"I am in awe of my Priesthood
I fear my Priesthood
And before my Priesthood I turn to dust
And before my Priesthood I kneel."
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