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May 29 - June 11, 2016

Meet the archdiocese’s newest priests

The Archdiocese of Chicago welcomed five new priests on May 21. They hail from Mexico, Poland, Michigan and the archdiocese itself, and they range in age from 26 to 35. The men, who will take up their new assignments July 1, have walked varied paths toward ordination. Learn about them here, and join the Catholic New World in congratulating them.

Pawel Barwikowski, 28

  • First assignment: St. Andrew, 3546 N. Paulina St.
  • Born in: Pisz, Poland
  • Education: Elementary and secondary school and undergraduate college in Poland; University of St. Mary of the Lake/Mundelein Seminary
  • Parents: Helena Dardzinska and the late Henryk Barwikowski
  • First Mass: May 22, 1:30 p.m. at St. Francis Borgia, 8033 W. Addison St.

Pawel Barwikowski was one of seven children, including his twin brother Piotr, growing up in Pisz, Poland. He entered the seminary in 2007 in his home diocese of Elk. In 2009, he met Father Marek Kasperczuk, then rector of Bishop Abramowicz Seminary, who asked him to consider coming to Chicago.

He received permission from the bishop of Elk, who told him, “I’m letting you go, because the church is universal. Serving in Poland or in the United States, you will be serving the same church.”

Barwikowski came to Chicago in 2010, spent a year at Bishop Abramowicz and entered Mundelein a year later.

In a note in the bulletin for St. Andrew Parish, where he is assigned, he wrote: “Today, it is with a full heart, and a heart on fire, that I express my gratitude to Father Sergio Romo and all of you for letting me be a member of your parish community. I believe this experience will help me to become a better version of myself.”

Dominic Clemente Jr., 26

Dominic Clemente Jr.
  • First assignment: St. Edward, 4350 W. Sunnyside Ave.
  • Born in: Elmwood Park
  • Education: St. Celestine School, St. Patrick High School, St. Joseph College Seminary at Loyola University Chicago, University of St. Mary of the Lake/Mundelein Seminary
  • Parents: Dominic and Kathryn (Dolan) Clemente
  • First Mass: May 22, 11 a.m., at St. Celestine, Elmwood Park.

Dominic Clemente Jr. said he first felt called to priesthood in seventh grade “because of the example of good priests in my parish that made priesthood look attractive and exciting.”

He resisted the call to priesthood while in high school, but remained active in the faith by participating in his parish youth group and high school campus ministry. “It was my dream to be a Broadway producer,” Clemente said. “My passion was in theatre and the arts. Priesthood was always in the back of my mind.”

After high school, he started attending community college. It was at that point that the call to the priesthood came up in his prayer life more and more often, he said.

“After a conversation with my pastor I visited the college seminary and the rest is history,” Clemente said. “It’s hard to believe that six and a half years have gone by so fast. I’m proud to be a priest of this great archdiocese that I have grown up in and I attribute my vocation to the great example of many good Chicago priests.”

Miguel Angel Flores Andrade, 35

Miguel Angel Flores Andrade
  • First assignment: St. Michael, Orland Park
  • Born in: Guadalajara, Mexico
  • Education: Elementary school and minor seminary in Jalisco, Mexico; Seminario Arquidiocesano de Señor San Jose, Guadalajara, Mexico; University of St. Mary of the Lake/Mundelein Seminary
  • Parents: Estela Andrade Robles and J. Jesus Flores Fonseca
  • First Mass: May 21, 3 p.m. at St. Paul, 2127 W. 22nd Place Miguel Angel Flores Andrade said his experiences in seminary have formed him to be the man he is now.

“My journey toward priesthood has been like none other in my life,” Flores said. “I can honestly say that no other journey has come close to fulfilling my most intimate desire of happiness as this journey toward priesthood. In 2000, I entered the seminary where the Lord, in his infinite love, mercy and wisdom, has molded me patiently like the potter.”

His education and formation in the Archdiocese of Chicago, at Casa Jesus, St. Joseph College Seminary and Mundelein Seminary helped develop his understanding of the universal church.

“Everything I learned in all those places has served me in my Christian life and, God willing, it all will help me in my future ministry,” he said. “I also give thanks to the Archdiocese of Chicago and all the people who, through their generosity, make it possible that many young men answer the Lord’s call to serve him and his church. May God bless all those who serve in the ministry of forming priests.”

Matthew Litak, 28

Matthew Litak
  • First assignment: Christ the King, 9235 S. Hamilton Ave.
  • Born in: Evergreen Park
  • Education: St. Bernadette School; Evergreen Park High School, Benedictine University, University of St. Mary of the Lake/Mundelein Seminary
  • Parents: Coletta (Carik) Litak and the late Rudolph Litak
  • First Mass: May 22, 10:30 a.m. at St. Bernadette, Evergreen Park.

Matthew Litak grew up in a family of five brothers and two sisters in Evergreen Park, and was intrigued by the priesthood early on.

“I have a distinct memory of my brothers and I being at Mass as boys and they would all be goofing around and otherwise being dragged to the cry room, but I would be begging to stay because I was so engaged,” Litak said. “I would be creating homilies in my head after the Gospel. This was even before I was of school age.”

Even so, he didn’t think seriously about whether he was called to the priesthood until nearly the end of high school. He ended up enrolling at Benedictine University in Lisle, where he became involved with Catholic community and met Matt Jamesson, who was ordained for the Archdiocese of Chicago in 2014.

“We were both college-age men who had thought about priesthood for a long time, but were not quite ready to enter seminary,” Litak said. “He encouraged me to start going to daily Mass and to adoration, and also taught me the Liturgy of the Hours. My discernment came to a head in a powerful moment of prayer during adoration, in which I felt God calling me through the words of John’s Gospel, “feed my lambs, feed my sheep, feed my lambs.”

Before long, he said, he was talking to a vocation director, and eventually he and Jamesson — now an assistant vocation director for Vicariate I — entered the seminary.

Michael Trail, 26

Michael Trail
  • First assignment: St. Damian, Oak Forest
  • Born in: Detroit, Michigan
  • Education: Elementary and high school in Detroit, St. Joseph College Seminary at Loyola University Chicago, University of St. Mary of the Lake/Mundelein Seminary
  • Parents: Kenneth and the late Yolanda Trail
  • First Mass: May 22, 11 a.m. at St. Columbanus, 331 E. 71st St.

When Michael Trail moved to Chicago to attend Loyola University in 2007, it wasn’t with the intention of entering the college seminary. He began to discern his vocation during his first year, visited the college seminary and decided to enroll.

He’s not the first member of his family to be ordained, he said. His late grandfather was a permanent deacon in the Archdiocese of Detroit for more than 40 years.

“I grew up Catholic and regularly attended church with my mom and grandparents as a child,” he said. “It was the faith of my grandparents that inspired me to live out my Catholic faith. Faith and family was the lens by which they viewed everything. These two things laid a solid foundation for all of my family.”

He chose to remain in Chicago, he said, because this is where he began to discern his vocation.

Photos courtesy of Studio West