Written By Sunday October 11, 2015
Nuncio advises him to listen well
By Raymond Syms, Associate Editor
Bermuda’s new Catholic bishop has been reminded that his office was not one of power but of service.
Preaching the homily at the episcopal ordination of Bishop Wieslaw “Wesley” Spiewak, Archbishop Nicola Girasoli, Apostolic Nuncio to the Antilles, urged him to develop a listening heart that allowed him to not just hear, but truly listen to his priests, religious and laity. This, Archbishop Girasoli stated, was vital if the Bishop was to exercise his ministry for the people entrusted to his care.
Further, Archbishop Girasoli told the new bishop he would only be able to embrace this ministry if he truly became one with Christ through prayer.
He added, “You are young, dynamic, you’re full of enthusiasm and I assure you here in Bermuda you will be greatly supported by a very dynamic Catholic community.”
The Nuncio told the congregation of nearly 600 that retiring Bishop Robert Kurtz had “tremendously improved” the diocese during his term.
“Thank you for what you have done in these 20 years here,” he told Bishop Kurtz.
The episcopal ordination was held October 1 at St Theresa’s Cathedral in Hamilton. October 1 is the feast of St Therese of Lisieux, patroness of the Cathedral and Diocese.
The main Consecrating Bishop was Bishop Kurtz. The co-consecrators were Archbishop Patrick Pinder, Metropolitan of the Province of Nassau, Bahamas – of which the Diocese of Hamilton is a Suffragan Diocese, and Archbishop Girasoli.
Caribbean bishops present were Archbishop Joseph Harris of Port of Spain; Bishop Kenneth Richards of St John’s-Basseterre, Antigua; Bishop Burchell McPherson of Montego Bay, Jamaica; Auxiliary Bishop Christopher Glancy of Belize City and Belmopan, Belize; and Bishop Luis Secco of Willemstad, Curacao.
AEC General Secretary Fr John Persaud was also present.
Like Bishop Kurtz, Bishop Spiewak belongs to the Congregation of the Resurrection and about 30 priests from Poland, Germany, Australia, Canada and the United States were in attendance from that Congregation. Among them were Superior General Fr Bernard Hylla; General Council members Frs Evandro Miranda Rosa and James Gibson; Provincial Superiors Fr Murray McDermott (Ontario-Kentucky Province) and Fr Krzysztof Swol (Polish Province), and Fr Michael Osuch representing the Provincial of the US Province.
Representing Bishop Spiewak’s family were his sister Alicja and her husband Stanislaw. Bishop Spiewak’s brother (his only other sibling) was unable to be present because of health issues.
The gathering included Bermuda’s Governor George Fergusson and his wife, a representative of Premier Michael Dunkley, Charles Gosling, Mayor of Hamilton, and representatives of the Embassies of the United States, Portugal and Italy. Anglican Archdeacon Andrew Doughty represented Bishop Nicholas Dill and the Anglican clergy.
The Liturgy was conducted under the guidance of Master of Ceremonies Fr Joseph Morley and the music ministry was under the direction of Julie Madeiros and Tobago-born Christian Lumsden, Diocesan Director of Music and an organist.
Towards the end of the Mass was the Signing of the Certificate of Episcopal Ordination by the consecrating bishops, witnessed by the diocesan consultors.
AEC president Archbishop Pinder, Fr Hylla and Bishop Emeritus Kurtz delivered brief congratulatory messages. Bishop Spiewak then addressed the people for the first time as Bishop. He thanked the senior members of his Congregation and its priests and brothers for their support and goodwill.
All were later invited for refreshments at the St Agnes Academy auditorium, located opposite the cathedral.
Bishop Spiewak was ordained a priest in his native city of Krakow, Poland in 1990. He has worked and studied in both Poland and Italy and takes up his new role after serving as Provincial Superior in Poland.
Bishop Spiewak was also a member of the Commission of the Polish Bishops’ Conference for the pastoral care of Polish emigrants and a member of the board of directors of the Conference of Major Superiors of the male religious orders in Poland.
– Compiled from a report by Fr John Persaud and news reports from Bernews.com and Royal Gazette.com