Cleric of Communist-era Poland Heads to China

"Fidei Donum" Priest to Evangelize in Hong Kong

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HONG KONG, MARCH 2, 2007 (Zenit.org).- A priest from former-communist Poland will be sent to China to evangelize in a country still living with communism.



AsiaNews reported that 36-year-old Father Czeslaw Wojciechowski is believed to be the first "Fidei Donum" missionary priest of communist-era Poland to evangelize in China. He will go to Hong Kong with the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions.

Sent first to Chad, Father Wojciechowski taught at the major seminary of St. Mbaga Tuzinde. Malaria and a much-needed gallbladder operation sent him back to Poland with the advice from his doctor not to return to Africa.

"The doctors suggest that it would be better for me to go to a country where there is no risk of malaria. China and Mongolia were among the countries," said Father Wojciechowski.

The priest said: "My bishop chose China, but he made me wait for 18 months. In the meantime I was appointed spiritual father to the National Center for Missionary Training and put in charge of Warsaw's Missionary Institute for the Laity.

"Here I started to learn Chinese with a woman refugee from China."

Father Wojciechowski recounted his path to China and said, "In hindsight I can see that it all began in 1998 when, with my friend Pawel, I went to Frascati, Italy, to visit an old Camaldolese monk from Poland who was in his 90s, Father Rostworowski, who had once been Karol Wojtyla's confessor."

Upon telling him that he was going to Chad, Father Wojciechowski was told by the old monk, "I think it would be better to serve the Church in China.'"

Father Wojciechowski recalled: "I didn't see anything prophetic about it until Divine Providence gave the answer, which for me is a challenge that I must take on."