Message from the Bishop: September 2019
A monthly reflection from
The Rt. Rev. George Wayne Smith,
Tenth Bishop of Missouri
One of the many blessings of being the Bishop is playing a role in the discernment process of faithful people considering ordination. I often experience moments of grace alongside the seeker as we explore the possibilities.
But not every discernment process ends with a call to priesthood in the Episcopal Church. Such is the case with the Rev. Marek Bozek. Fr. Marek is serving as the Pastor of St. Stanislaus Kostka Polish Catholic Church in St. Louis. Last November he and I began a journey to discern whether he should be received as priest in the Episcopal Diocese of Missouri. Following much prayerful discussion with Fr. Marek and consultation with others, I have decided not to receive Fr. Marek as a priest in the Episcopal Church.
Over the past months and years, you may have read stories in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and other news sources about a possible union between St. Stanislaus and the Diocese of Missouri. Those talks ended in August when the St. Stanislaus Board would not consider a union without full property rights to their church, which the Presiding Bishop’s office would not guarantee. I had hoped we could come up with a solution that worked for everyone involved, but that did not happen.
Despite the collapse of those negotiations, we were still discerning Fr. Marek’s reception into the Episcopal Church. This was a complicated circumstance that required much consideration and a hard decision on my part. I did not reach my conclusion lightly. I informed Fr. Marek of my decision this week. He and I are committed to maintaining a good relationship between the Diocese and the congregation of St. Stanislaus.
This story is ending in a much different fashion than I had expected. But, as always, I believe that God’s grace prevails and leads us. Although the St. Stanislaus congregation will not affiliate with our Diocese and I will not receive Fr. Marek as priest of this Diocese, we all remain committed to the Church’s purpose to proclaim the Word and administer the Sacraments as distinct bodies of faith in our community.
Click these links to read past stories about connections between the Diocese of Missouri and St. Stanislaus:
- Aug. 21, 2019: Union with St. Stanislaus is off; cooperation continues
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