Father Mariusz Jarzabek to speak at diocesan shrine in Oswego

By Nancy Huffaker 

St. Mary of the Assumption Parish and Shrine in Oswego will be the site of the upcoming Women’s Mini-Conference on Saturday, Oct. 9. This beautiful church was consecrated in 1925 to the glory of God and in honor of our Blessed Mother, marking it as a sacred place.

On Aug. 15 of this year, the Feast of the Assumption, Bishop Douglas J. Lucia inaugurated the church as a diocesan shrine, stating in his decree that “Saint Mary, because of its aesthetic beauty and architectural value, is an appropriate place of pilgrimage and prayer.” In his letter, he explained that the Church’s Code of Canon Law instructs: “At shrines the means of salvation are to be supplied more abundantly to the faithful by the diligent promotion of the word of God, the suitable promotion of the liturgical life especially through the celebration of the Eucharist and of penance, and the cultivation of approved forms of popular piety.”

It is fitting, therefore, that St. Mary of the Assumption was selected as the location for the Syracuse Catholic Women’s Mini-Conference in the Northern Region. Father James A. Schultz, the first pastor of the new diocesan shrine, prays that “the 2021 Women’s Conference will provide hope, mercy and strength to women of all ages as they gather together equally united in their Catholic faith and love for their Blessed Mother and Lord.”

The theme for the half-day women’s retreat is “Encountering Christ” and the morning will begin with the recitation of the rosary followed by the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. After a short break, our presenter will give a spiritual reflection followed by a question and answer session. The Sacrament of Reconciliation will be available, and the event will conclude with the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, Adoration of Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament and Benediction.

Father Mariusz Jarzabek, MIC, engaged in pastoral work at the National Shrine of Divine Mercy in Stockbridge, Mass., will be the featured speaker. In a recent interview, Father Jarzabek attributed his call to the priesthood to special intercession by the Blessed Virgin Mary. When discerning his future vocation during high school, he regularly prayed the rosary on his bus rides, asking for her help. Although he had to wait a few years, our Blessed Mother eventually led him to the Congregation of Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception. He was ordained in 1990 in Warsaw, Poland. In his ministry at the National Shrine of Divine Mercy, he has found the greatest fruits in the hearts of those who were far from God, but allowed Him to transform them through His mercy. His biggest challenge lies in helping people come back to God, and to better understand, grow in and appreciate their faith.

Prior to his assignment to Stockbridge in 2019, Father Jarzabek served at the Shrine of Divine Mercy in Mandaluyong City in the Philippines, at the Shrine of Our Lady of Sorrows in Poland and as a Marian missionary in England. Having ministered at shrines around the world, he finds it especially meaningful to present at the new diocesan shrine at St. Mary’s.

“I am very thankful and happy” for the opportunity to speak, he says, “especially at a shrine of the Blessed Virgin Mary.” He will reflect on the treasures of the Catholic Church and comment on our Catholic faith as a huge grace to be appreciated and shared. He prays that attendees will be inspired by the important role of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the life of Jesus, in the Church and in our lives.

To register for the mini-conference, visit www.syracusecatholicwomen.org or send mail to Diocesan Women’s Commission, 240 E. Onondaga St., Syracuse, N.Y. 13202. Cost is $15, or $20 at the door. Check-in begins at 8 a.m. and the program will conclude at 12:30 p.m.

For information on arranging a pilgrimage to St. Mary of the Assumption for a group of any age or a parish, contact Kristie Pauldine at kpauldine@syrdio.org. Pilgrimages consist of Holy Hour and an opportunity for Confession. In addition, Holy Mass, a guided tour, a presentation and light refreshments can be arranged.

Nancy Huffaker is a member of the diocese’s Commission on Women in Church and in Society.

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