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
Golabki, Pierogi (sauerkraut)
Traveling, especially by train.
“I visited all 50 states by time I was 50.
The last one was South Dakota.”
Latest books about Homiletics
Harry Potter series
at 11:10 AM