Missionary of the Week – August 5-11: Fr. Peter Gozdalski

01 Aug 2018

The Province Vocations Office will present a “Missionary of the Week” in Salesian News during the summer months.  Amy Marinaro of the Vocations Office conducts very short interviews.

August 5-11: Fr. Peter Gozdalski

How did you discover your Salesian vocation?
I come from a small village in Poland where the Salesians ran a big orphanage and a technical school after the Second World War. After the Communists took away the school, the Salesians remained in the town with a community and a parish.

As a small boy I was an altar boy, and I was always close to the Salesians there. At the end of primary school I also started playing the pipe organ during Mass. After I finished high school I decided to join the Salesians.

How did you become a missionary?
When I was in formation I did not think of going to the missions because it was not possible for a seminarian to go to the missions. In late 1982, however, the first group of Salesians went to Zambia, and there was a need to get many confreres there. Since there were not enough priests and brothers as volunteers, the provincial came to our postnovitiate and told us that seminarians also were needed. At once I wrote my application, and a few months later (in 1983) I left Poland and started my missionary adventure. I completed my theological studies in Africa and was ordained a priest in Africa.

How do you live your missionary vocation now?
After completing my term as provincial treasurer of Zambia, I was asked to work in the Generalate. I was not too keen, and after long discussion I was left in Zambia. A year later, however, I was asked again to go to Rome for three to four years to work in the Salesian university, UPS. I agreed to this and went to Rome, spent almost a year at the Generalate, then six years at UPS and then nine years in the office of the treasurer general at the Generalate.
After completing my service at the Generalate, the Rector Major asked me to come and work at the Mission Office in New Rochelle.

Photos courtesy of Fr. Peter Gozdalski

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