Five new priests were ordained to the priesthood for the Archdiocese of Denver May 25. Get to know a little bit about each of them, as well as where their first assignments as priests will be.
Father Witold Kaczmarzyk
It was at the University of Technology in Poland as a student of the faculty of physics that Witold Kaczmarzyk would discover his vocation to the priesthood.
“While a student, I started reading the Bible, praying and attending meetings where I could talk with other students about my faith,” he said. “Due to them, my vocation ‘came to the surface,’ and I made a decision to study theology and develop my faith seriously.”
He informed his parents that he wanted to drop out of the university and study theology, and while surprised, they were supportive. In 2010, he began to study theology and, using his aptitude for science, taught math, English, physics and chemistry as a private tutor for a time.
After two years, he entered a seminary in his home diocese of Kalisz, Poland, and was transferred to Sts. Cyril and Methodius Seminary in Orchard Lake, Mich., which specializes in training Polish seminarians for the priesthood in the United States.
St. Sebastian has been important to Father Kaczmarsyk in his vocation, and as a new priest, he is most looking forward to celebrating the Eucharist and hearing confessions.
Father Kaczmarsyk’s first assignment as a priest will be as Parochial Vicar at Christ the King Parish in Denver.
Father Mateusz Ratajczak
Mateusz Ratajczak grew up in a forgiving, Catholic
family, and, surrounded by the examples of many holy priests, entertained the thought of being a priest as a boy growing up in Poland.
However, as a teenager, Ratajczak rebelled and stopped seeing the Church as a place for him. It was through the Neocatechumenal Way that God called him back and “showed me strongly his mercy for me.
“I discovered the Church as a hospital for the weak, where [I experienced] the continuous discovery of the love of God in the context of the postbaptismal community,” Ratajczak said.
He entered Redemptoris Mater Seminary in October 2009. His time there has been “the best time of my life,” he said, especially the three years of missionary training he spent in different islands of the Pacific.
Upon his ordination, Father Ratajczak is grateful to God, Archbishop Aquila and the faithful of the Archdiocese of Denver for making it possible for him to be a priest.
“In becoming a priest, I am really hoping for being ever more conformed to Christ the Good Shepherd,” Father Ratajcazak said, “who lays down his life for the sheep, and who came to serve and not to be served.”
Father Ratajczak’s first assignment as a priest will be as Parochial Vicar at Light of the World Parish in Littleton.
Father Tom Scherer
When Tom Scherer surrendered control of his life and learned to trust in God, the seed for the priesthood was planted in his heart.
It was at the 2011 priestly ordination in Denver where that seed was cultivated and blossomed into a vocation.
“God spoke to my heart, saying ‘This is what I want from you.’ I was quite alarmed, because I thought I had already discerned that priesthood was not for me, but the more I prayed about it, the more peace I had.
“The conviction of God’s call has grown steadily over the course of the past 7 years.”
Scherer studied at the Pontifical North American College in Rome, the most beautiful part of which was being “near the saints, to pray at their tombs and to be formed by their witness of faith and charity.” He’s also been able to experience firsthand the universality of Church, with classmates from all over the world.
Now, as a priest, Father Scherer continues to be open to the surprises God has in store for him.
“God has surprised me so much over this journey that I don’t even want to try to anticipate anything,” he said. “My one expectation is that God will continue to give his grace so that I may live this life well.”
Father Scherer has been granted permission to continue his studies in Canon Law at the Pontifical University of Santa Croce in Rome until the completion of the program.
Father Adam Bradshaw
Throughout his journey to the priesthood, Adam Bradshaw has been inspired by the words and witness of John the Baptist.
“He has been a constant companion, a guide and a model for how I should live my life as a priest,” he said.
Bradshaw was born in Austin, Texas but grew up in Houston. He entered the Church in 2009, and “knew I wanted to give my life to God in some way,” he said.
Although Bradshaw had always wanted to get married, he was drawn toward priestly ministry and “felt a lot of peace and certainty that this was what God wanted me to do.”
Now a soon-to-be priest, Bradshaw is most excited to celebrate Mass and hear confessions.
“These have been the hinges of my life all these years, and I am so excited that now I will be able to help in celebrating the sacraments and bringing the presence of Jesus to people,” he said.
Father Bradshaw’s first assignment as a priest will be as Parochial Vicar at Spirit of Christ Parish in Arvada.
Julio Cesar Amezcua
Julio Cesar Amezcua is originally from Madrid, Spain. He attended Catholic school and grew up playing soccer and riding horses.
At the age of 21, he moved to Denver to study psychology at Metropolitan State University of Denver. It was there he met Father Angel Perez-Lopez, who helped him grow in his faith and eventually led him to join a community of the Neocatechumenal Way in 2009.
After a discernment period of a few months, Amezcua felt the Lord was calling him to enter Redemptoris Mater Missionary Seminary. The missionary calling of his eventual priesthood is very appealing to him.
“This is what excites me the most,” he said. “It means that the Lord can take me anywhere in the world at any moment.”
Amezcua served in Boston during his mandatory year of mission outside of the seminary, and saw firsthand the challenges the Church in Boston is facing: intensifying secularization.
“This event opened my eyes to the difficulties that we can face in Denver if we don’t evangelize,” he said.
Father Amezcua’s first assignment as a priest will be as Parochial Vicar at Queen of Peace Parish in Aurora.