Updated: Jun 8, 2021
The following story appeared in the May 28 Idaho Catholic Register.
Deacon Pawel Pawliszko, left, and Deacon Adrian Leszko at their recent graduation from Ss. Cyril and Methodius Seminary. The seminary, near Detroit, is geared toward seminarians from Poland and other Slavic nations. The seminarians then choose the diocese that they will serve. Both deacons will be ordained priests for the Diocese of Boise on June 3 along with Deacons Joshua Falce and Deacon Aleksander Dembowski. (Courtesy photo)
On Thursday, June 3, Bishop Peter Christensen will ordain four men as priests, the most men ordained in the Diocese of Boise on the same day since 2010. The ordination begins at 11 a.m. at the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist and is open to the public.
The May 14 issue of the Idaho Catholic Register included biographies of the four to be ordained. They can also be found on catholicidaho.org.
In this issue, we ask the men some personal questions as they prepare for ordination.
The men to be ordained are Deacon Aleksander Dembowski, Deacon Joshua Falce, Deacon Adrian Leszko and Deacon Pawel Pawliszko.
As you get closer to your ordination date, what emotions are you feeling?
Deacon Dembowski: I feel very excited! There is a bit of stress, but I am very happy to be serving as a priest in our Diocese of Boise. I know that the priestly path is not easy, but I believe it is beautiful. This is a great blessing from our good Father!
Deacon Falce: Ready. Even though I’m aware of there being much learning ahead, I have a certainty of where God has called me and is calling me. Ordination is a fulfillment of the role I have been called to.
Deacon Leszko: I am happy that God has given me the grace of persevering in my resolution (to become a priest) and reassured me that this is the path He has prepared for me. Unfortunately, my parents and loved ones will not be able to come to this important day for me, but I am glad that they will be able to watch Holy Mass via the internet. I am full of optimism that God, who did not spare me the grace to reach such an important moment in my life, will also generously give me His blessing.
I am also filled with gratitude to Bishop Peter and Father Caleb (Vogel) for accepting me in the Diocese of Boise and for their priceless help and support during my seminary journey. I am thankful, as well, for all those who have supported me with prayer and financial assistance through letters, and in various ways. I am profoundly grateful. Without you, dear brothers and sisters, it would be more difficult for me and all seminarians in everyday life. God bless you.
Deacon Pawliszko: I’m really excited. Accepting the priesthood is, for me, a great challenge and a great honor. A challenge because I will be a particular role model for people, Christ will speak through me, and I should be the best witness of Him. Honor, because I will be like Jesus, not only internally but also through the external manifestation of the priesthood during the Holy Eucharist.
What one thing do you most look forward to about being a priest?
Deacon Demboswki: There are many such things! I want to be open to the Holy Spirit. It is He who leads the Church, and I want Him to lead me, too! As a priest, I want to have contact with people, especially young people. I can’t wait for them to give me Jesus as I also give them Jesus!
Deacon Falce: The obvious answer is offering the holy sacrifice of the Mass. After that, I would say teaching and catechizing. I say this because as I have grown in my faith, I have discovered immense depth and richness to our faith. This (richness) awaits everyone, beyond what each of us can conceive of or comprehend, and yet so few are aware of it or have yet to encounter it. I have found the pearl of great price (Matt. 13:45-46), and
I desire to sell all I have for it so that others may acquire it as well.
Deacon Leszko: I have been preparing for many years to be a priest. It is not easy to point to one thing about the priesthood that I want to experience and enjoy and share with others. I think that the first and most essential thing I am waiting for is celebrating the Holy Mass. The second is hearing confessions and reconciling people to God.
Deacon Pawliszko: I am moving to-ward the priesthood to proclaim to the world God’s kingdom through works of mercy to those in need. I would like to show God’s love through the sacraments and through assuring people that they are not alone.
What one thing are you most anxious (apprehensive) about?
Deacon Dembowski: Can the one who believes be afraid of something? Instead of feeling anxious, I try to focus on what I can do, and when a difficult time comes and I can’t cope, I reach for the most effective medicine – prayer!
Deacon Falce: Hearing confessions in a second language. Absolution is not dependent on the priest understanding every word, but I do want to be able to strengthen and encourage people, and give a penance that speaks to the struggles and sins that the faithful desire to amend when they come to confess. That is more difficult to do in a language other than one’s native tongue.
Deacon Leszko: I hope that God gives me the wisdom to understand people who are struggling with problems in order to help them as much as I can. For me, the most difficult moments in priesthood will be those when I would not have an answer or would not be able to help those who seek help.
Deacon Pawliszko: I’m not anxious because I do not believe in myself, but I believe in God. He always gives me His grace to overcome my limitations.
If you were to choose a one-word trait that tops your list of what describes an effective priest, what would that word be and why?
Deacon Dembowski: For me, that word is to listen. Just listen. This is where it always begins. Faith comes by hearing! (Romans 10:17) I believe that today we need to listen; listen to young people and to older people and learn from them. This is where everything starts. Listen, then act!
Deacon Falce: Christ-centered. This encompasses everything: the way of serving, the way of being a priest of prayer and one who points to Christ as the example and model. I must also be Christ-centered in my ongoing con-version to being conformed to Christ. Only in being Christ-centered are all of these possible in their fullness.
Deacon Leszko: Faithfulness. In my opinion, this word best describes the most effective priest. If the priest is faithful, he will keep doing good work, never cease to pray, always teach the faith without any compromise, and always be seeking by his actions the good of the Church, not his own. Faithfulness is also an imitation of Christ who, through faithfulness to his Father, fulfilled the Father’s will and gave us an example to follow.
Deacon Pawliszko: Holy. A holy priest, by his example, can guide people to God.
What must the Church do to hold on its young people?
Deacon Dembowski: I think it is not only about keeping young people in the Church, but about how to reach those who are not yet in the Church. I don’t think there is one single golden prescription. It’s not about making fire-works; it’s not about spectacular deeds. Let’s look at Jesus. He performed spectacular miracles, but did that convince everyone? What attracted, and still attracts, people to Jesus is His individual view of people and true love. Each “sheep” is important because each one is a child of God and should be ministered to individually. Young people like concrete things. They want truth, but they also require authenticity. I have to be real; I have to be authentic in what I do.
Deacon Falce: Can I give a two-part answer? First, live the faith; really, truly live it. A positive example influences those who see it. If our day-to-day life has little difference from the atheist next door, why is there any reason to remain Christian? The Resurrection must so radically change our daily lives that they mirror the Acts of the Apostles and the saints.
Second, ardently pursue reverent and beautiful liturgy because it is right to give such worship to God because it lifts the minds and souls of those in attendance to the transcendent. Sub-stance and beauty attract and retain.
Deacon Leszko: The Church carries out various activities around the world. It runs schools, hospitals, orphanages and charitable works in multiple countries. The Church obeys the will of Jesus Christ and does everything to show His face to the world. Unfortunately, in many places, only the failures and mistakes of the people of the Church are shown and not its great mission, which helps millions of people. Young people should know about these activities and take part in them. The Church already encourages them to join the missionary and charitable activities of our parishes. Only by experiencing God in the Eucharist and by meeting the needs of people in need or hungry for God will we be strong enough to progress in our faith and love the Church in which God is constantly working.
Deacon Pawliszko: The Church must show young people that they are important and that, with Jesus, they can change the world.
All four future priests will serve as parochial vicars in the parishes to which they are assigned, beginning in July. Deacon Dembowski will serve at the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist in Boise, Deacon Falce at St. Edward’s Parish in Twin Falls, Deacon Leszko at St. Mark’s Parish in Boise, and Deacon Pawliszko at Our Lady of the Valley Parish in Caldwell.
If you enjoyed this story and would like to read more like it, please consider buying a subscription to the Idaho Catholic Register. Your $20 yearly subscription also supports the work of the Diocese of Boise Communications Department, which includes not only the newspaper, but this website, social media posts and videos. You can subscribe here, or through your parish, or send a check to 1501 S. Federal Way, Boise, ID, 83705: or call 208-350-7554 to leave a credit card payment. Thank you, and God bless you.