Society of the Divine Word Priest, Fr. Jerzy (George) Gawlik, Dies
Chicago, IL (June 2, 2020) – Fr. Jerzy (George) Gawlik, SVD, priest of the Society of the Divine Word and pastor of St. Joseph the Worker Parish in Wheeling, Ill., passed away Friday, May 29, 2020 at the age of 66.
Gawlik was born on February 9, 1954, in Brzozowice-Katowice, Poland. Gawlik received his First Vows on September 8, 1976 and his Perpetual Vows on September 8, 1980 in Poland. Gawlik was then ordained to the priesthood on April 26, 1981 by Bishop Ignacy Jeż, also in Poland.
While ministering in Poland, Gawlik served as formation director and prefect of Divine Word Seminary in Nysa, formation director of Divine Word Mission in Pieniezno, and rector and novice director at Divine Word Mission House in Chludowo. Gawlik was also a missionary to the Philippines.
Since his 2004 arrival in the United States, Gawlik served as both associate pastor and pastor at St. Joseph the Worker Parish in Wheeling, Ill.
Rev. Quang Duc Dinh, SVD, Provincial Superior of the Society of the Divine Word Chicago Province, recalls Gawlik as a “great missionary.” The Provincial Superior also remembers Gawlik as a kind and gentle pastor.
Fr. Francis Xavier, SVD, a vocation director for the Society of the Divine Word, served as the assistant pastor to Gawlik at St. Joseph the Worker. “Father George was like a father to me,” remarked Xavier. “He was a man of deep prayer who was always filled with joy” and beloved by his parishioners. Fr. Timothy O’Malley, pastor at Most Blessed Trinity Parish in Waukegan, Ill., recalled how Gawlik “brought the profound love for Divine Mercy” to the parish community. In addition to his devotion, O’Malley also acknowledged Gawlik’s commitment to the Spanish speaking community at St. Joseph the Worker.Cognizant of social distancing guidelines, a private funeral Mass celebrated by Bishop George Rassas will take place on Friday, June 5 at 10:00 a.m. at St. Joseph the Worker in Wheeling, Ill. The Mass will be livestreamed to the public.