Father Gawronski, SJ, remembered for witness of priesthood
April 26th, 2016
By Carl Bunderson
DENVER – Jesuit Father Raymond Thomas Gawronski, professor of dogmatics at St. Patrick’s Seminary & University in Menlo Park, died April 14 of complications from cancer, at the age of 65.
He was remembered for his love of Christ, formation of seminarians and witness to the beauty of the priesthood.
“Certainly he was an excellent classroom lecturer, but it was his real interest in the (seminarians), and their spiritual development, and his desire that they have a real relationship with Christ – that was his constant theme,” said Father Gladstone Stevens, the rector and president of St. Patrick’s Seminary. “He was such a great witness to what priests could be.”
Father Stevens told CNA that while Father Gawronski had not been at the seminary for very long, “when you think about the disproportion between the time he was here and his impact, it’s just incredible: he was such a presence here, in such a positive way.”
Brooklyn-born Father Gawronski was ordained a priest of the Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus in 1986. He went on for further studies in Rome, earning a licentiate in theology at the Pontifical Oriental Institute, and a doctorate in theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University.
He spent the last two years of his life serving as a spiritual director and professor at St. Patrick’s Seminary.
He is the author of “Word and Silence: Hans Urs von Balthasar and the Spiritual Encounter Between East and West” and “A Closer Walk with Christ: A Personal Ignatian Retreat.” He appeared in an EWTN series and his articles appeared in such publications as Communio, New Oxford Review and America.
Father Stevens reflected that he appreciated Father Gawronski’s insistence that “we have to do a better job bringing together the intellectual and spiritual life” of seminarians, which he shares.
A funeral Mass and burial were planned for April 26 in Colorado.
From April 28, 2016 issue of Catholic San Francisco.