Fr. Rafal Pyrchla’s life bears testimony to all of the beautiful things that can happen in a young soul when hearty seeds of faith, hope and charity are planted firmly within.
Fr. Rafal Pyrchla’s life bears testimony to all of the beautiful things that can happen in a young soul when hearty seeds of faith, hope, and charity are planted firmly within.
“I have felt a calling to the priesthood ever since I was a child,”
“I have felt a calling to the priesthood ever since I was a child,” says Fr. Rafal, who joined St. Francis Solanus parish as a Parochial Vicar this past fall. “I always wanted to become a priest and my main goal was to be like my hometown pastor in Poland. I really liked him and I admired what he was doing. He was very pious and he prayed a lot. I was also really impressed by my mother’s piety. She was a woman of deep prayer. My father died when I was 8 years old and she raised four boys by herself.”
By being surrounded by enriching Catholic family traditions and Catholic culture, these seeds of grace were nurtured and continue to bloom until this day.
“We prayed the Rosary and went to Mass together regularly as a family when I was growing up,”
“We prayed the Rosary and went to Mass together regularly as a family when I was growing up,” Fr. Rafal says. “My twin brother and I would pray for each other, and we still do to this day. He has kept his Catholic faith and he still lives in Poland. The town we lived in, which was one hour from Krakow, was very Catholic as well.”
In God’s good time, Fr. Rafal entered a seminary in Poland, and after undergoing some formation there, decided to come to the United States about eight years ago to serve as a missionary priest. He was ordained in 2017.
“As a missionary, I am called to live far from home and go to a country where there are not a good number of Catholic people or priests”
“As a missionary, I am called to live far from home and go to a country where there are not a good number of Catholic people or priests,” he says. “It also means that I have the privilege of sharing my Polish Catholic heritage, prayers, and traditions with others. My favorite Polish devotion is the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, as St. Faustina was from Krakow.”
Above all, Fr. Rafal appreciates the opportunity to walk alongside God’s people on the journey of faith.
“I enjoy being with people in the joyful times of their lives, such as Baptisms and weddings,” he says. “I am also grateful I can serve them in difficult moments, such as after the death of a loved one. I am glad I can be there for my parishioners in both good and bad times.”
When asked how he sees his priestly vocation as a commitment to stewardship to Our Lord, Fr. Rafal offers a thoughtful, reflective response.
“Being a priest offers me a way to give time to people and to the Lord, as well as to grow in holiness,” he says. “As a priest, I really feel I can give my talents to God, especially by teaching. I am looking forward to teaching in the parish school next fall. I would also like to get to know the parishioners better, serve them in the best way I can, and be with them when they need me.”
St. Therese of Lisieux’s Prayer for Priests
O Jesus, eternal Priest, keep Your priests within the shelter of Your Sacred Heart, where none may touch them. Keep unstained their anointed hands, which daily touch Your Sacred Body. Keep unsullied their lips, daily purpled with Your Precious Blood. Keep pure and unearthly their hearts, sealed with the sublime mark of the priesthood. Let Your holy love surround them and shield them from the world’s contagion. Bless their labors with abundant fruit and may the souls to whom they minister be their joy and consolation here and in heaven their beautiful and everlasting crown.