to be the best it can be today and for those who join us for generations
During my extraordinary visit to Poland to address the Polish Episcopate
and reestablish cooperation between them and SSCMS, I met with Beata
Maria Szydło, Prime Minister of Poland, and Archbishop Salvatore
Pennacchio, Apostolic Nuncio to Poland. I also visited numerous
seminaries to speak to students and invite them to come study with us
at SS. Cyril & Methodius Seminary. One of my goals is to double the
SSCMS enrollment. The historic journey continued to Rome, Italy, where
I participated at Mass at the Vatican at the tomb of St. John Paul II on his
Feast Day. Later that week, at Mass celebrated by Stanisław Cardinal
Dziwisz, I gave the Homily in Polish and English, and was also blessed
with the privilege of being joined by special guest Mr. Angelo Gugel,
St. John Paul II’s personal assistant during his entire pontificate.
This journey exemplified some of my first-year leadership goals
in reconnecting SSCMS with Poland and the Catholic Church and
reminded the Polish Episcopate that SSCMS and the Orchard Lake
Schools family are prepared to grow with the Church here and
around the world. SSCMS has prepared nearly 2,000 priests for the
Church, for service to the Catholic people in dioceses in the U.S.
and lay people who serve academia and spread the Word of God. I
am truly humbled.
In ongoing efforts to unite the Orchard Lake Schools with the
community and Polonia, I joined so many guests at the Chancellor’s
Christmas Concert to celebrate the extraordinary performances of
the Collegium Cantorum Polonia Choir and Chicago Nightingale
Children’s and Youth Choir, and Mrs. Maralgua Darjaa, plus the
St. Mary’s Jazz Band, the SS. Cyril & Methodius Seminary Choir and the Fr. Józef D
browski Polish Language School Children’s
Choir. Stanisław Cardinal Dziwisz, Archibishop Emeritus of Krakow, Poland, was the honorary patron of this Christmas tradition.
In the spirit of the season, I witnessed the celebration of Advent by Candlelight and the Chancellor’s Senate recognition dinner.
Faith truly does bring us closer to the Lord who lifts us up to do great work and give thanks for the support of the future of this
fine educational community.
Throughout my first-year efforts to revitalize the campus community, I also wanted to reintroduce Polish First Sundays, in which
after the 1:00 pm Mass the first Sunday of each month, campus visitors were invited to take part in a Polish dinner in the Dining
Hall. Both the Polish Panorama and the Campus Bookstore were open as well
to provide insights to Polish history and opportunity to purchase campus items
and Polish cards, gifts and books.
The 45th Annual March for Life in Washington, DC marked a journey in
support of the pro-life movement by both seminarians and Prep students at
the National Mall and march down Constitution Avenue leading to the steps of
the Supreme Court. The trip also afforded the seminarians and I the privilege
of a visit to the Embassy of the Republic of Poland and a meeting and special
dinner with the Ambassador, Professor Piotr Wilczek.
I am deeply grateful for all those who supported our seminarians, priests and
SSCMS at the annual Patronal Feast and Auction, from the morning’s Polish
Above: Fr. Krol gives a thumbs-up with
Archbishop Salvatore Pennacchio,
Apostolic Nuncio to Poland.
Left: Professor Piotr Wilczek, Ambassador of the Republic of Poland in the U.S.,
and the Commonwealth of the Bahamas, and the 71st Fidelitas Medal recipient.