What is your family background?
From left: Fr. Karol Porczak, M.S. with parishioner; Sacred Heart St. Ives Catholic Church, Cambridgeshire, England; Author: David Bartlett
My name is Fr. Karol Porczak, M.S. I was born in Jawor, in southwest Poland, in lower Silesia. My father’s name is Jan. He is a mechanic in a national transport company. My mother, Zofia, was an art teacher. I have two brothers and one sister. We are a very close family as a youth. I went to summer camp at the age of seven.
We were Sunday church goers and usually went to confession regularly and practiced our prayers and helped with the liturgical seasons. My grandmother, Julia, on my father’s side, was the one who taught me my prayers. As a boy I memorized all my prayers easily.
What is your educational background as a youngster?
In my primary school years I did two grades in one school year. I was a star pupil.
How did first come to know La Salette?
For secondary school, I went to a boarding school in Rzeszów, some 50 miles away from home town. The La Salettes were teaching us catechism at their own parish.
When I was 16, I began going to Church every morning. I read a novel, “As White As The Blood Is Red” by Jan Dobraczynski which was inspired by the story of the so-called “cursed soldier” whose name is Inka (Danuta Helena Siedzikówna). It moved me so much that I began to believe in my personal God for the first time. Six months after that experience was the most beautiful time of my life thusfar.
Fr. Bronislaw Fura, M.S. (1930-1994), was the catechist of the highest grade who taught catechism at our secondary school. I was the head of my class and I was tasked to organize the lessons for our catechism, which necessitated arranging regularly for our once a week class with Fr. Fura. After two years of seeing me each morning at Mass, he asked to see me and then simply told me that I would become a priest. I responded to his comment by saying “no way”!
But I kept seeing him with other young men from my school on a regular basis, as he freely shared soda and cocoa drinks with us. We enjoyed ourselves and played games and we could ask him whatever we wanted. He simply made time for us.La Salette Seminary Chapel, Krakow, Poland (general view and close-up)
Where did you receive your formation as a La Salette?
At the end of secondary school, I applied to enter La Salette at the Shrine in Debowiec, where the Novitiate was, about 70 miles from my home. There I made my Novitiate and then went to study theology in Krakow, 100 miles from the Shrine. In 1991, I was ordained at the La Salette Shrine with fourteen other La Salette seminarians.
What ministries have been a part of your ministry experience?
I was an organist in the seminary which held some 80 seminarians at the time. I was a catechist for three years in the same secondary school in which I studied as a boy.
I was a Parish Assistant in England for three years, studied Dogmatic Theology in Rome with a specialization in Mariology, and was graduated in 2003. Then I was appointed director of the Poslaniec, the Polish Province’s La Salette Magazine. I remained as editor of the magazine for ten more years, in different functions. Afterwards in 2013, I was appointed Provincial Secretary. In 2015 I started my pastoral assignment as the Parish Priest in Sacred Heart St. Ives Catholic Church, in Cambridgeshire, in the Diocese of East Anglia, England to this day.
What do you like best about the La Salette Apparition?
I find it fascinating that we have no “directive founder”; instead the tears of our Lady have inspired me to spread her message to her people all over the world.From left: sanctuary; entrance and choir loft of La Salette Church in Rzeszów, Poland