Fr. Marcin: Celebrating 10 Years a Priest
It’s hard to believe that a decade ago we were living in the year YouTube was founded, Pope John Paul II died, Pope Benedict XVI became 265th Pope, and George W. Bush was officially sworn in for a second term as president. It was also the year Father Marcin Koziola was ordained a priest.
If you don’t know Fr. Marcin personally, the ‘young priest’ is from Kodeniec, Poland where he also attended his first two years of seminary. In 1999, Father Marcin moved to Orchard Lake, MI to attend St. Cyril & Methodius Seminary, a place where he knew in his future as priest, he would be needed.DOWNLOAD THE BULLETIN
Fast forward to today, and Father Marcin is more than a priest who is ‘needed’— he’s wanted. To the children, he’s the priest who will always make sure they get blessed with enough holy water pitched from his broom. To many adults, he is a counselor, spiritual adviser, and great friend.
Danielle Koleniak: What have the past ten years been like for you?
Father Marcin Koziola: I’ve served at three parishes and it’s been fun. I was ordained 05/25/2005. My first assignment was St. Joseph Parish in Bradenton. I was only there one year before I was moved to St. John the Evangelist in Naples where I spent four years. In 2010, a week after Easter, I was moved here. I’m coming up on five years here. Every parish is a little bit different, and I find this parish to be a good mix of generations with many kids. I love seeing them come to church and Faith Formation. I’ve never seen so many kids coming to church.
DK: How have you seen the church evolve since first becoming a priest?
FM: I noticed when Pope Francis became Pope, he opened the doors to many people and opened their minds, so we’re not so ‘behind the times’ in accepting people for the way they are. I think that’s what we need in our society right now—a place where we all can come, worship and be accepted. We’ve all made some mistakes in our life, but our God is a merciful God and he embraces hope.
DK: What is the one message you continue to share day in and day out?
FM: All 10 years, I’ve been preaching the same style—welcoming. I don’t preach that our God is a punishing God. It’s important that we remind ourselves that there is something in us that wants to do good things and to share that with others. What we seek can change our lives completely. I believe in that.
DK: On a more personal level, how have you grown as a person?
FM: When I was ordained, I was a little afraid of just about everything. I didn’t know if I was doing it all right, so I would always ask my pastor. Now, I know what I’m doing. It comes with experience, mostly. In seminary, they don’t teach ‘life in the parish.’ It’s something you learn through experience– through being with people and meeting people where they are, spending time with them, and getting to know them.
DK: Why is it important for you to be so approachable?
FM: As priests, we have to be connected with people in order to know their needs, fears, and anxieties. You have to know what’s going on in their lives in order to serve them better.
DK: What have you learned about yourself in this 10-year journey?
FM: I’ve learned that you have to be more at peace with yourself in order to serve people better. So you have to do the things that give you peace while finding balance and relaxation. If you are not going to be at peace with yourself, then you won’t be able to help anyone.
DK: What is your hope for the next ten years?
FM: I hope people who are divorced will find a way to come back to the church. I want the church to accept them.
DK: What do you enjoy most about being a priest?
FM: It’s most fun seeing the kids coming to church and that they want to come to church. I love seeing the kids learning in religious education. We’re planting a seed. It brings me so much joy to see young families bringing their kids to church. It’s so important because the parents are leading an example that their children will follow.