Bishop Malone has appointed Rev. Robert Zilliox as the pastor of St. Mary, Swormville, effective September 13. Fr. Bob is returning to St. Mary’s, having served here as parochial vicar from 2008-2010. Welcome back Fr. Bob!
I came to America from Poland, and I am so proud to be Polish and identify myself with my home country. Why? Because of its history and the history of my people. Since the year 966, my country has experienced so many difficulties – wars, famines, disasters and plagues. Almost every 50 years my country was turned into ashes. But with faith and strong leaders, the people always stood up and rebuilt everything again and again. Nothing caused my people to turn away from God, His Church and our beloved country.
After World War II, Warsaw Poland was completely destroyed but was eventually restored by people who were living in the caves and basements of the ruins of the capital. They started rebuilding everything by creating little shrines, crosses, statues on the streets and town squares. With strong faith, moving in the right direction, always having God by their side – they won.
When I was 20 years old, the Solidarity movement began to fight against communism. The seminary was under house arrest, my father was taken away by the communist secret service and people were abused, tortured and brutally murdered. Once again, people turned to God with deep faith led by wise, strong, spiritual leaders.
Today, we come to St. Mary’s confused, lost, devastated, angry, sad, and maybe even rebellious. I say WE because I am on your side, I am with you, and I am like you. I am also trying to find answers.
I came to the United States 17 years ago, two days before 9-11. Can you imagine what I felt? Witnessing the destruction and terrorism, I was filled with fear. But I remember very well what happened after the attacks. Millions of people – including you – turned to God. Churches were packed to capacity as many asked WHY and turned to God for answers and protection. It was the right turn!
Now we experience our own destruction, fear about the future and we have many unanswered questions. But you came to this church to be as close as possible to Jesus…to search for consolation, peace and restoration of our spiritual life. This is the right way, the right decision, and the right direction on your part.
How do I know this? Because I am slowly being consoled by Jesus. Still my wound is bleeding. When a wound is bleeding, we must quickly stop the bleeding. You look for the bandage, not to allow the worst to happen.
This is why I found my space of healing under the Cross of Jesus. Look at my position of my chair here and in our chapel. It is always under the Cross of Jesus.
And one day, sitting by myself at the chapel and looking at the cross, I said to Jesus:
I am not leaving you alone. I am staying with you and your people, my people, people who you entrusted to my care at this very moment.
My brothers and sisters, with the bandage on my heart, looking for healing and inner peace, I will faithfully stay by Jesus’ side and with His church. But to win this battle, to restart our spiritual life as a family and a parish community, like a legendary phoenix, we need to rise from the ashes.
A brother and sister helped by a brother and sister are like a walled city. Give your hands and your hearts to God; let us build together for the future. The future is with God, through God and in God. Let us choose the right way, the right direction under the leadership of Jesus Christ and His Mother Mary.
Homily, September 1- 2, 2018