Father Gerald Przywara quietly observed his 50th anniversary of ordination to the priesthood by celebrating Mass at the Poor Clares Monastery in Barhamsville, New Kent County.
He was ordained as a Vincentian priest in his native New York on May 27, 1967 after completing his priestly formation at Mary Immaculate Seminary in Northampton, Pa.
He came to the Diocese of Richmond in 1969 where his first assignment was as associate pastor (now called parochial vicar) of St. Rose of Lima Parish in Hampton, followed by the same assignment at Immaculate Conception, Hampton.
In 1972 Father Przywara was named Catholic Campus Minister at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg with residence at St. Bede’s. He had that role for three years.
He then served as chaplain to the Newman House Community at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg from 1975 to 1982. During that seven-year period he encouraged vocations to the priesthood to several young men. Two of them later entered the seminary and were ordained priests.
They are Father John A. Abe, ordained to the priesthood for the Diocese of Richmond in 1984 and now pastor of St. Matthew Parish in Virginia Beach, and Father Paul Manning, ordained for the Diocese of Paterson, N.J. in 1985. He now is Vicar for Evangelization and Executive Director of St. Paul Outside the Walls in Madison, N.J.
After his seven years at the Virginia Tech college campus Father Przywara was given permission to be a missionary in the Diocese of Prince George, British Columbia for four years.
“I was then in ministry among the indigenous people of western Canada,” he told The Catholic Virginian.
Bishop Walter F. Sullivan assigned Father Przywara as the first pastor of the newly established St. Luke Parish in Virginia Beach in 1986. He was pastor there for seven years until 1993.
Father Przywara’s next assignment as pastor of Sts. Peter and Paul in Palmyra and St. Joseph’s in Columbia (now known as St. Joseph’s Shrine of St. Katharine Drexel) was his longest. He was pastor of the two communities for 12 years from 1993 to 2005. During that time he was also Catholic chaplain to cadets at Fork Union Military Academy.
His last parish assignment was pastor of St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Staunton from 2005 to 2008. He then retired from active priestly ministry.
Father Przywara has been chaplain to the Poor Clare Sisters for the past nine years. He celebrates Mass every day but Saturday at 8 a.m.
“I feel very blessed to be in the chaplaincy to the Poor Clare Sisters,” he said. “They are a highly dedicated and loyal community of the Church.
“It has been a privilege to be a chaplain to the sisters.”