We are very happy to welcome our new assistant pastor, Fr. Matthew Wydmanski, OSPPE to our Corpus Christi family. Arriving in Buffalo at the beginning of Advent, Fr. Matthew came to us like John the Baptist, announcing that the Lord is near. In a recent interview, Father was very kind to share some of his story with us.
Quiet and thoughtful, Fr. Matthew has his origins in Sosnowiec, a town in the southern part of Poland near Katowice. He attended high school in Oswiecim, and as a young student made frequent visits to an orphanage there, spending time with the children. Later he studied chemistry in Krakow, and during this period became quite involved with the welfare of students. This experience led him to visit the Pauline Monastery in Krakow, where he learned about the Order and made the courageous decision to enter. To do this he had to discontinue the studies he had begun. His patron, St. Matthew, was an inspiration for him, since he also made a break with his previous life and set out on a new way.
Ordained in 1992, Fr. Matthew was assigned for a year to work in a small parish in central Poland. He was then sent to Germany, where he stayed fifteen years, first in the Monastery in Regensburg, and then in nearby Mainburg. This beautiful rural area is known as Holledau, where hops are grown. Fr. Matthew served as Pastor for ten years in Mainburg, and he was happy there, needed by the people. He thought back to the days of his youth, when he cared for children in Poland and played with them. In Germany he renewed this ministry, and reached out to young people in an orphanage. These children came from very difficult situations; their parents were in jail, or had lost custody because of alcoholism and social dysfunction. The parishioners in Mainburg joined Fr. Matthew in caring for the children, taking them to live in their own homes, and sharing vacations with them. Thus the young ones could experience life in a normal family. The thankfulness of the children he helped in Germany has been one of Fr. Matthew’s greatest joys.
After his assignment in Germany, Fr. Matthew came to the Pauline Monastery in Doylestown, PA, where he stayed a few months. Now in Buffalo, his task is to serve the people: to provide the Sacraments, and to talk with those who want or need. Does he have some special vision for Corpus Christi and the East Side? Father responds with the peaceful humility of a monk. “No…..my mission is to help Fr. Anzelm. I am here to assist him in fulfilling his visions. My hope is that people will have patience with me.”
Our assistant pastor, who had to cope with a foreign language in Germany, says he is now starting again in the U.S. “from the beginning.” He is, however, already quite at ease with English, and has faced the challenge of learning new languages with determination. He welcomes anyone, especially young people who want to work, to come to him for help with German. “It could be a good experience for them to learn this language and seek temporary employment in Europe, since the situation in Buffalo is so difficult.”
In his spare time, Fr. Matthew pursues an interesting hobby. “I am a jeweler,” he smiles. He learned from a silversmith in Poland how to make silver jewelry, and worked at this craft in Germany also. With proceeds from the endeavor, it was his privilege to help the orphanage in Oswiecim.
It is now our privilege to warmly welcome Fr. Matthew, himself a gem, a gift to us from God. We hope he will be happy in Buffalo and at home with us at Corpus Christi. Witamy, Ojciec Mateusz!