Q&A with Fr. Marcin Szymanski, OP

Fr. Marcin Szymanski, OP, will be leading a retreat for young adults the weekend of May 4-6, 2018. Previously the assistant director at the University of Washington’s Newman Center, Father now lives in Salt Lake City, Utah, and ministers to the St. Catherine of Siena Newman Center and Parish. If you are a young adult between the ages of 21-35, please join us in welcoming Fr. Marcin back to the Seattle area!

Q: Father, please tell us a little bit about yourself!

Fr. Marcin: I work now at St. Catherine of Siena Newman Center and Parish in Salt Lake City, Utah. I am a Polish Dominican- all my priestly life I ministered abroad: two years in Dublin, Ireland, and four years in Seattle. I am a bit of a nerd, as I am interested in various types of games and modern entertainment like Twitch and YouTube platforms, mostly for sociological reasons. I also like good Christian metal and rock. Also, [J.R.R.] Tolkien.

Q: Would you mind sharing your vocation story with us? What inspired you to become a Dominican priest?

I started thinking (vaguely) about the priestly vocation in my mid-teens. During high school I attended Dominican Youth group in a parish neighboring to my own. I was drawn by the community life, the passion for truth and liturgy. So I decided to join, which I did after finishing high school.

Q: You attended the most recent World Youth Day, which was in Poland, returning to your native country. Could you describe one of your favorite moments of WYD? How did WYD effect you as a young priest?

My favorite moment was running into Fr. Bryan Dolejsi (who was the pastor of a neighboring parish at that time) during the closing Mass. There was roughly one and a half million people there – what a coincidence!

Another thing was bringing my group into my parents’ house: two completely distinct aspects of my life met during WYD. WYD had a very profound effect on me personally, mostly in the aspect of humility: God decided to lead me through the whole experience in a way completely different than I thought or wanted.

Q: Your retreat is entitled “Experiencing the Living Church: Liturgy for the People or the People for the Liturgy?” Can you delve into the theme for us? What might retreaters expect from you?

For sure you can expect a lot of liturgy in its various aspects! Liturgy of the Hours, Adoration, Confession, Mass – I do not want to just talk about liturgy, but I want people to learn about it first and foremost through experience. We will be also looking into certain ideas that influenced the reform of the liturgy in the mid-twentieth century.

Q: Your retreat is for young adults ages 21-35. If the young adults could grasp one concept from your retreat to take back out into the world, what would it be and why?

I think I really want to show that liturgy is a vital part of understanding who we are, who God is, and what is the relationship between Him and us.

Q: Do you have a favorite saint? Catholic book?

My favorite saint, as of late, is John the Baptist, as I am fascinated by his life and death and challenge of being the predecessor of the Messiah. My favorite book was always Introduction to Christianity by Joseph Ratzinger.

If you are a young adult (ages 21-35), we encourage you to register for this retreat here!