Ordained in Stuttgart

It is fulfilled – It has begun.

On Sunday, March 1, along with fellow preparation and ordination trimesters student Michael Rheinheimer, I received the Sacrament of Priesthood in Stuttgart, Germany. We sat before the altar, supported by three others, Anke Nerlich and Carlos Maranhao, who had been ordained the day before, and Lisa Hildreth, who would be ordained in Spring Valley two weeks later.

Ordination is a unique and powerful threshold, where the fore- and forth going parts of life unite in the intense Here and Now. Two Germans: one a classical musician turned pragmatic housemother for many years and the other an idealistic seeker of the Grail with a background in theater; one Brazilian former bank worker in São Paulo turned Waldorf teacher literally overnight; one American wife, mother, and Waldorf kindergarten teacher with a good amount of humor and a very big heart; and me, a Pole turned American as the result of, let’s just say “a highly improvised biographical experiment” in my early twenties. What a journey it has been for all of us! And where will it take us? Hamburg, Bonn, Kassel (and soon São Paulo), Boston, Darmstadt … for starters! All these places, so very different in history, mentality, climate, and local character, nevertheless have something in common: In each of them is an altar where communities of free Christians gather and celebrate the Act of Consecration of Man. We are joining them now, full of awe and goodwill, aware of our mission within our community, wearing His sandals on our feet …

It has indeed been a complex and intense way that led me to this moment: It began on Staten Island (a borough of New York City), where, during a conference in the summer of 2005, I realized that I had found my “pearl” and decided to join the priest training. That led to the year at the Chicago Seminary, where, with others, I had a chance to meet and get to know wonderful members and friends of the Christian Community in Chicago;
it led further through the community in the great city of New York, where aside from meeting devoted friends, I met my wife, Senzelle, and where our firstborn, Jozef, was baptized in 2008; through the community in Spring Valley, which became our home for nearly five years and where our daughter Oriana was baptized in 2010; through the community in San Francisco, which became our oasis at the time we lived in the Big Valley, and where our son Tobias was baptized in December 2013 … through communities in Hillsdale, Denver, and Los Angeles, which I had a chance to visit and where I always felt at home, even if only for a short time …

Thank you all, dear friends, teachers and colleagues whom I had the privilege to meet on my way to priesthood. Each of those meetings was important and had a formative, shaping quality. Each was essential in order for me to make this step and cross this threshold—the threshold to Becoming.

by RAFAL NOWAK