Father Cezariusz Wilhelm Jastrzebski, 28, realized the power of the priesthood as a teenager in his native Poland.
The eldest of two sons born to Urszula and the late Cezariusz Jastrzebski, he grew up as an active member of Holy Trinity Church, Luban. His parents and maternal grandmother Adala took him to weekly Mass and taught him to pray the Rosary.
He attended Primary School nr.6 in Luban; Pope John Paul II H.S. in Gryfów Slaski; the Metropolitan Seminary in Wroclaw; and SS. Cyril and Methodius Seminary in Orchard Lake, Mich., where he received his master of divinity degree.
During the course of his studies, he served a vacation assignment at Our Lady of Czestochowa-St. Casimir, Sunset Park, and summer assignments at Our Lady of the Angelus, Rego Park. He completed his pastoral year at Holy Trinity, Whitestone.
As a high school student, he was interested in history, biology and kickboxing. He had a girlfriend and many friends. He aspired to have a career in education or sports and wanted a nice house, a beautiful wife and some children.
Still, he said, “I felt something missing in my life.”
While walking on the beach with his girlfriend one day, he saw lifeguards trying to resuscitate a man who had been drowning. A priest ran over and gave the man something only a priest could – general absolution.
“This incident revealed to me the power of priesthood,” he said. “Only a priest can give absolution by the power of God.”
On that beach, he found what was missing in his life plan – his true calling, which is to serve God as a priest.
He entered the seminary, and when the opportunity arose to continue his studies in the U.S., he considered the exhortation of Polish St. Pope John Paul II: Duc in altum!
On his journey, he said he’s received guidance and support from Msgr. Thomas C. Machalski, rector of SS. Cyril and Methodius Seminary, and Father Witold Mroziewski, diocesan director of the Polish Apostolate.
In his priesthood, he hopes to be an instrument of the Lord, especially through the sacrament of reconciliation.
“Forgiveness is important for people, especially in today’s world,” he said. “People live like God is not present.”
He hopes to help people turn to God more and invite Him into their lives.
His mother and younger brother, Szymon, will attend his ordination.
Father Jastrzebski will celebrate his First Masses of thanksgiving at Our Lady of the Angelus Church, Saturday, June 28 at 5:30 p.m., and at Holy Trinity, Sunday, June 29 at 11 a.m. He will celebrate his First Mass in Poland in July.