Fr. Bryan Kujawa, New Parochial Vicar
There is a lot happening in our parishes, but I don’t want it to get lost in the shuffle that we have a new parochial vicar! I hope you are soon able to meet Fr. Bryan Kujawa (kwee-AH-va), to introduce yourself to him and make him feel welcome. Fr. Bryan is a priest of the Diocese of Crookston assigned here in our archdiocese for the next year. I know he is very much looking forward to meeting and working with all of you.
For a bit of background, Fr. Bryan took a leave from public ministry last year to receive some personal and professional development assistance. He had challenges interacting with his then-bishop, Bishop Hoeppner (who resigned as Bishop of Crookston in April of this year after the conclusion of an investigation regarding his mishandling of allegations of misconduct). Fr. Bryan also wanted to improve his ability to connect with others. Because of the situation with Bishop Hoeppner, Fr. Bryan’s leave was supervised by Archbishop Hebda. In addition to working with counselors and other professionals while on leave, Fr. Bryan also met with the lay-led Board of Review of the Diocese of Crookston and the Archdiocese’s Ministerial Review Board, both tasked with evaluating priests’ fitness for ministry. Both Boards reviewed the results of Fr. Bryan’s progress and recommended to Archbishop Hebda that Fr. Bryan be approved to engage in ministry.
Archbishop Hebda agreed with the recommendations and, after consultation with Fr. Bryan’s counselors, Fr. Bryan and Bishop Pates (former Bishop of Des Moines and currently temporary administrator of the Diocese of Crookston), decided to assign Fr. Bryan here in the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis to support his ongoing wellness program, provide an opportunity for mentorship, facilitate his transition to parish life, and engage him in supportive and challenging ways. Fr. Bryan would then return to ministry in the Diocese of Crookston after completing this temporary assignment in the archdiocese.
Because the situation with Fr. Mario is so uncertain, they asked me if Fr. Bryan could be of help in Richfield. I met with him over coffee and we got along well. The trustees of the three parishes then met with me and representatives from the archdiocese. The main concern was that Fr. Bryan is not bilingual. While that’s not ideal, we are fortunate to have Fr. Mike Kueber back in town during the summer to offer his help, and other priests who can help bridge the gap until Fr. Mario comes back. We were also informed that Fr. Bryan is charismatic and well liked in the Diocese of Crookston, so the other concern expressed by a trustee was that we won’t want to let him go after only one year. I don’t think the archdiocese is going to take that under advisement. Again, please introduce yourself to Fr. Bryan when you get a chance. Please also continue to pray for us and for our parishes during this time of transition. May Mary, Mother of the Church intercede for us as we serve her Son and His Church.
Please do not hesitate to reach out to me if you have any questions or concerns.
I want to express my gratitude for everyone’s prayers during this process to discern our new shared Mass schedule, and for your feedback. We received 700 surveys, many of them including additional comments. I’ve read them all multiple times. One person took the opportunity to encourage me to speak more slowly during Mass.
Thank you for that feedback!