St. Adalbert says farewell to longtime priest

After fif­teen years of de­voted ser­vice at St. Adal­bert – which has served the Port Rich­mond com­munity since 1903 – The Rev. Thad­deus Gorka. has moved on to Sac­red Heart Par­ish in Swedes­burg, Pa.

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.

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