In the wake of the clergy abuse case that’s shaken the Catholic community in Philadelphia in the past weeks, one parish is reflecting on the loss of a priest - who has transferred to another church - who was devoted to doing nothing but good in the community.
On the weekend of June 9, at each mass, the parishioners of St. Adalbert Church received the unexpected news that the Archdiocese had decided to transfer The Rev. Thaddeus Gorka.
After fifteen years of devoted service at St. Adalbert – which has served the Port Richmond community since 1903 – Gorka has moved on to Sacred Heart Parish in Swedesburg, Pa.
During his time at St. Adalbert, the community on several occasions had petitioned for Gorka to be made pastor. When parishioners heard the unexpected news of his transfer, they made multiple attempts to have the Archdiocese reconsider its decision.
Over 760 church members joined the effort, and made numerous phone calls and wrote letters to Archbishop Chaput. However, Gorka still moved on, and the community can now only look back fondly on his time in Port Richmond.
During Father Gorka’s fifteen years at St. Adalbert, he went above and beyond his duties as an ordained Catholic priest.
He organized and led numerous spiritual pilgrimages, including the annual walk and bike ride to Our Lady of Czestochawa in Doylestown, Pa., and also organized trips to various foreign countries.
Through these trips abroad, parishioners of all ages had the opportunity to gain insight into various cultures and religious practices, which in turn strengthened their own faith.
When the Catholic community was struck with the negative impact of the inappropriate actions of fellow priests, Gorka set an example for his religious community. Each day he continued to hold his head high with pride. He encouraged the parishioners to do the same, and to continue to pray for the victims involved and to remain strong in their faith.
As so many people stray from the Catholic faith, Gorka continued to work hard to keep it alive and strong in the community. He acted not only as a devoted priest to the parish, but also as a spiritual leader, friend and confidant to the parishioners and youth in the community.
He found immense pride and joy in not only the parish, but also in the various religious organizations the parish housed. He did not do any of this for his own personal recognition, but for the personal and spiritual benefits that the members of the Catholic community would gain.
The St. Adalbert community is at a tremendous loss with the transfer of Father Gorka. All of his hard work and devotion will never be forgotten, nor will his kind words and constant smile.
The parishioners of Sacred Heart are receiving a tremendous spiritual gift with his arrival.
Dot Piotrowski is a parishioner of St. Adalbert that wished to share her thoughts with Star’s readers.