Friday, October 13, 2017

Very Reverend Michael A. Woroniewicz:  We Gather as a Community

On a beautiful Fall day, on the calm shores of Orchard Lake, the Very Reverend Michael A. Woroniewicz, whom the OLS community calls “Fr. Mike,” sits in his office at SS. Cyril & Methodius Seminary ready to share some of his thoughts on his new role as Rector of the seminary with Good News readers.

GN:  How do you hope to uphold the mission and vision of Fr. Dabrowski and help guide the faith of the Orchard Lake Schools community?
Fr. Mike:  It’s good to be here and quite different serving as the seminary rector than as a parish priest. Mass here is more of a concelebrated community event rather than being the one priest in a parish.   I think the priests on staff serve as role models and pastors for the seminarians. I hope to be a mentor to them as well. The Second Vatican Council says that we share in spreading the Faith. As disciples, we follow Jesus Christ, and we’re sent out to make more disciples. This is especially true of the seminarians studying for the priesthood, in the spirit of Saints Cyril and Methodius, our patrons. Pope Francis said, “We are joyful missionary disciples.”   And Archbishop Vigneron set forth the initiative to “Unleash the Gospel.”  I think these inspiring ideas need to be part of our new direction.  In the academic area, I would hope that I have instilled a love and zeal for preaching in my students.  I have always placed an emphasis on good Liturgy and good preaching--these can change lives!

GN:  How would you describe your new role as rector?

Fr. Mike:  It’s different being the Rector than it was in my adjunct teaching capacity. The staff, faculty, and seminarians welcomed me into the seminary community both then and now. We consult and give feedback to one another.  I believe that the Rector is ultimately responsible, but needs to make decisions consulting the team. When a priest gets a new assignment, the first year is often spent listening and reflecting.

GN:  What do you see as your biggest challenges in your new role?

Fr. Mike:  The most pressing need is to find more students. Ultimately, God calls people. I hope to find ways we can help encourage more students to listen for God’s call, and take up ministries in the Church.  To do it, we should be an open, inclusive, faith-filled, hospitable family.

GN:  What is your typical day like?

Fr. Mike:  As the rector of a seminary, no two days are exactly alike.  There’s a regular rhythm of Mass, morning and evening prayer, and meals with the seminary community.  Then there are regularly scheduled meetings with faculty committees and board members.  I’m on the phone regularly with diocesan bishops’ offices and vocation directors.  I usually teach two courses each semester in the areas of homiletics and liturgy.  Of course, there are the unscheduled conversations with seminarians and various members of the Orchard Lake Schools community as well as the administrative paperwork.  There are also meetings outside of the campus with various professional associations and groups.  On occasion, I get to travel away for a conference or an ordination—and the ordinations of our students are the best part of it all!   

GN:  Do you have a favorite quote that inspires you?

Fr. Mike:  I was ordained a priest on December 14, 1985.  On my 25th Anniversary of Priestly Ordination, I included this quote from Pope John Paul II’s Homily in Denver, Colorado on August 15, 1993 on my prayer card: “Do not be afraid to go out on the streets and into public places, like the first Apostles who preached Christ and the Good News of salvation in the squares of cities, towns and villages. This is no time to be ashamed of the Gospel. It is the time to preach it from the rooftops.”

GN:  Can you share a little bit about your family?

Fr. Mike:  My dad, Mitchell, lives in Westland and is retired from General Motors. My mom, Irene, passed away in 1996.   I have a younger brother named Joseph who lives in Las Vegas, Nevada, and with a large extended family, there are dozens of cousins all over the country.

Fr. Mike, shared some of his favorite things with us.

Prefers “Fr. Mike”
“Do not be afraid to go out on the streets
and into public places, like the first
Apostles who preached Christ and the Good News
of salvation in the squares of cities, towns and villages.
This is no time to be ashamed of the Gospel.
It is the time to preach it from the rooftops.”
-- Pope John Paul II/Homily in Denver, CO
August 15, 1993
“No one wanted to be considered the least.
Then Jesus took a towel and a basin
and so redefined greatness.”
– R. Foster
Sports Team:
Detroit Tigers
Golabki, Pierogi (sauerkraut)
Travel Destination:
   Maui, Hawaii
Railroads. Trains.
Traveling, especially by train.
“I visited all 50 states by time I was 50.
The last one was South Dakota.”
Latest books about Homiletics
Ordinary People
Harry Potter series
OLS Tradition:

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Joseph A. Drobot, Jr. Fidelitas Medal Recipient Embodies Ideals of Founding Father

Joseph A. Drobot, Jr.
Fidelitas Medal Recipient Embodies Ideals of Founding Father

The Fidelitas Medal, first awarded in 1949, is presented in recognition of
one’s fidelity in serving God, country, and the Orchard Lake Schools.
Fidelitas medalists are evaluated for their realization of
the religious and cultural ideals of Orchard Lake Schools founder,
Rev. Joseph Dabrowski, a Polish missionary priest,
who established the original education institution in Detroit in 1885.

Joseph A. Drobot, Jr., an Honorary Alumnus of Orchard Lake Schols (H’00), has dedicated his life to God, his country and serving others.  As the current president of the Polish Roman Catholic Union of America (PRCUA), an organization founded in 1873 and recognized as “the mother of all Polish American Fraternals,” he lives by his motto: Behind every success is effort. Behind every effort is passion. Behind every passion is someone with the courage to try.

The 70th Fidelitas Medal recipient, to receive the Orchard Lake Schools most prestigious honor at the Ambassadors Ball On April 22, 2017, was born in Detroit, Michigan. He is the son of Joseph A. and Estelle L. (nee Kosch) Drobot and attended St. Hedwig’s Grammar and High School before moving on to the University of Detroit where he received his Bachelor of Science in Accounting and Master’s Degree in Economics. He then completed post-graduate work at Michigan State University.

Drobot’s dedicated service to PRCUA spans over 50 years (Societies #87 and #718). He played in the organization’s basketball and baseball league tournaments and, in the 1960s, served as one of the insurance deputies as well as on the Budget and Grievance Committee (36 years). His father, Joseph, Sr., served as the National President for two terms (1978-1986), and he followed in his father’s footsteps when he was elected in 2010. He will finish his second term in 2018.

Throughout his storied career, Drobot served at a cost analyst (Ford Motor Company), vice president (various NYSE companies; Michigan National Bank), and treasurer, manager of mergers/acquisitions, and plant administrator (Wall Colmonoy Corp., a privately owned industrial materials engineering company with international metal foundry operations). He was also an adjunct teaching instructor at a number of Michigan colleges and universities.

Drobot has shared his leadership, knowledge and talents with numerous organizations throughout his life, including the Orchard Lake Schools as a former chairman (1992-94; 2008-10) of the Board of Regents (named to the Board in 1991), a member of the Board of Directors, and a member of the Wikiera Foundation promoting Polish culture and heritage through The Polish Mission. He has also served the following:
·         Polish Museum of America, Chicago, Illinois (Chairman since 2010).
·         Lourdes Assisted Living and Nursing Homes in Michigan (Member of the Board of Directors).
·         Freedom House, Sanctuary for victims of political persecution seeking asylum in the United States (Member of the Board of Directors).
·         Edward and Ellen Dryer Charitable Trust promoting assistance to the visually impaired through medical research and community assistance programs (Board member).
·         Parish and local community volunteer activity.

Joseph and Judy Drobot have been married for over 50 years. They have four children and ten grandchildren. The long-standing member of St. Regis Parish, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, spent a lifetime in the state before relocating to Chicago, Illinois to assume the presidency of PRCUA.

Recognition, Honors, Awards

·         2012.  Knights Cross of the Order of Merit from the Republic of Poland awarded for service in promoting the good reputation of Poland and in combating falsehoods and negative stereotyping of Poland, Polish History and Polish citizenry.

·         2013.  General Pulaski Medal of Honor from the Central Citizens Committee of the City of Hamtramck, Michigan, awarded for service to the Polish American Community in Michigan.

·         2015.  Casimir Pulaski Award from the Polish American Congress, Illinois Division, for work in promoting Polonia in the USA. (March)

·         2015.  Haller Swords Medal, Cleveland, Ohio, conferred to civilians working closely with the Polish American Veterans Association and Polonia. (May)

·         2015.  Heritage Award, Polish American Congress, Indiana Division, for activity promoting the good name and reputation of Poland, Polonia and Polish Americans.