Chaplain/Parish Priest: Fr Grzegorz Gawel SChr
Chaplain (Gold Coast): Fr. Bernard Bednarz SChr
The Polish Chaplaincy is based at Bowen Hills Parish. Around 300 Polish (+150 locals) regularly attend Mass at the Our Lady of Victories Church Bowen Hills plus another 200 who attend Mass at Darra, Gold Coast and Woodridge.
Father Waclaw Czapla CM was the first priest who ministered to the Polish Community. Fr Czapla served from 1949 to 1953. Father Hieronim Myszkowski OFMCap replaced Fr Czapla in 1954 and stayed for one year. In those days there was no permanent place for the community to gather and Mass was celebrated in various locations.
The Our Lady of Victories Bowen Hills Parish was established in 1923 but it was not until 1956 when it became the permanent base of the Polish community. Father Kasjan Wolak was appointed its first Parish Priest in 1955 and served until his death in 1973. The next Parish Priests/Chaplains who came in succession were: Father Jozef Kolodziej SChr, Father Ignacy Smaga, SChr, Father Zbigniew Pajdak SChr, Father Tadeusz Przybylak SChr, Father Stanislav Wrona SChr, Father Rafal Rucinski SChr, Father Dominik Sobala SChr, Fr Sylvester Karasiuk, Fr Andrew Kolazckowski, and now Fr Grzegorz Gawel SChr.
All part of the priests’ pastoral work include celebrating Mass, officiating baptisms, weddings, funerals, etc.; visiting families, hospitals and nursing homes, catechism, etc. As Polish families are spread all over Queensland, the geographical scope of their work includes the whole Brisbane Archdiocese, from the Gold Coast to Maroochy.
The Missionary Sisters of Christ the King (MChK) have assisted the Fathers for the last eight years in caring for the old and sick people in the Polish Community.
Annual Festivities in the Polish tradition include Easter celebrations, Mary – Queen of Poland (3 May), Corpus Christi (June), Assumption (15 August), Polish Independence Day (11 November), Christ the King (end of November) and Christmas celebrations.