Having undergone all the ceremonies associated with appointing him a descendant of the Apostles, Bishop Witold Mroziewski stood before the congregation at his episcopal ordination and thanked the cardinals, bishops, priests, members of the laity and his family.
“Of course, probably the most important person here, with all due respect, is my mother, Wloclawa,” the newly ordained bishop said. “From the bottom of my heart, I thank you for the gift of my life and for the gift of the priesthood, which you nurtured in me.”
Wloclawa Mroziewska came from Poland to see her son, who left his native land as a young priest, receive the apostolic crozier and miter.
“When he left the country, it was difficult, but then I realized he was needed here,” she said. “I now see that all is as it should be. All is thanks to the Holy Spirit.
“I pray for him for strength, so that he can continue to work in service of God’s people… So that all can be done for the glory of God.”
Mroziewska said she was so happy to hear the news from her son, who called her while she was making dinner. She wanted to share in the joy with her late husband, so she biked over to the cemetery to tell him the great news. She said her husband played a great role in fostering their son’s vocation by setting a good example of service to the local church.
Danuta Rutkowska, Mrozeiwska’s goddaughter, said the Mroziewskis were an example of faith for all the community, raising their children close to God. She said for as long as she could remember Witold Mroziewski helped anyone who came to him.
Jadwiga Rutkowska, who was Bishop Mroziewski’s neighbor when he was growing up, said she thought of the possibility that her well-behaved young neighbor may have a vocation.
“I felt that he had a gift from God and that he would go far,” she said. “We pray for him to continue to serve God and His people.”
Mroziewska said she is thankful to the people of the Brooklyn Diocese for supporting her son in his vocation.
When then-Father Mroziewski came to Brooklyn, his first assignment was Our Lady of Czestochowa-St. Casimir, Sunset Park.
Alina Kwasnicka, a parishioner of Our Lady of Czestochowa-St. Casimir, said the young priest quickly became a vital part of the parish, where he would become pastor.
“He was not afraid of rolling up his sleeves and work,” she said.
Among his many projects in the parish, he founded the Saturday Polish school that will celebrate its fifth anniversary this year. For this achievement he received an honor from the Polish education minister. Teresa Ramotowska, the principal of the school, said she hopes he will come back and bless that school as a bishop.
Kwasnicka said that the late president of the parish financial council, Mocnia Dondorewich, always predicted that the good father would become a bishop. Kwasnicka concluded that her prayers in heaven must have helped promote the cause. “This is a historical event,” she said. “Under his leadership we can do a lot.”
Canon Andrzej Kurowski, S.A.C., pastor of St. Frances de Chantal, Borough Park, said the Polish community will now have even more motivation to contribute to the diocese: “When the first Polish auxiliary bishop in Brooklyn asks of something, how can we say no?”
Grazyna Suchocka, whose husband is a distant relative of the bishop, said Bishop Mroziewski is someone who inspires people.
“He brings people in; people want to be close to him,” she said. “The is someone who wants to make changes for the better… He sets goals and attains them. The more difficult a task the more it motivates him.”
She said she is overjoyed in seeing him become a bishop: “He is the right man, for the right job.”
Alicjia and Jan Czpinski, who would often travel to Our Lady of Czestochowa-St. Casimir, from their parish of St. Stanislaus Kostka, Greenpoint, said they are proud to count the bishop as a friend. They said he had a great impact on their family and helped foster their daughter’s vocation to religious life.
Jan said the bishop is very pastoral to all those he meets: “He never turned anyone away… We had coffee and cake. We discussed issues and we came up with solutions.” Jan added that he was elated to learn that Father Mroziewski be elevated to the office of bishop.
“We got the same feeling almost like when John Paul II became pope,” he said.