Story and photos by Sharon Roulier
PITTSFIELD – Springfield Bishop Mitchell T. Rozanski made his first official visit to the Berkshires this weekend as he celebrated Mass at St. Joseph Church in Pittsfield.
Some 700 worshippers from throughout the Berkshires attended the 11:30 a.m. Mass that welcomed the faithful from parishes in the deanery, hosted by St. Joseph’s.
“To make his first official visit it says something about the Berkshires and something about the people here,” said Msgr. Michael Shershanovich, St. Joseph’s pastor, in an interview with Catholic Communications following the Mass. “The people here are so faithful and we’re so far away from Springfield. To have something like this, it’s a real shot in the arm.”
Joining Bishop Rozanski for the mid-day liturgy was Bishop-Emeritus Timothy A. McDonnell who now resides at St. Joseph’s. Also present were Berkshire County dean, Father Christopher Malatesta and Fathers John Salatino, Peter Naranjo, David Raymond, Michael Pierz and David Aufiero.
During his homily, the bishop spoke about his role as a new parish priest 30 years ago, serving in the Archdiocese of Baltimore. He recalled visits he paid to a woman parishioner who was suffering from severe back spasms and was homebound. The woman, and her husband, always greeted the young priest with a joy-filled spirit, he recalled.
“I was perplexed by their cheerfulness,” said the bishop. But then he began to understand that despite the woman’s suffering, the couple found joy in being together.
“They taught me about priesthood and the joy in serving,” said the bishop, urging the congregation to “embrace the cross.”
“Accepting it as Jesus asks us to do is when we find true joy,” said Bishop Rozanski.
“I just felt so much peace and joy in the church. We had people laughing and people praying and that is so important,” he said.Msgr. Shershanovich said that the bishop’s homily was a reflection of his motto, “Serve the Lord with Gladness.”
The Mass included both a Spanish hymn and Polish song during Communion.
Theresa Wojick Quillard, a parishioner of St. Patrick’s in Hinsdale was among the hundreds who waited in the long receiving line to greet Bishop Rozanski during a reception in the parish center following the Mass.
“I’m one hundred percent Polish and I’m happy to meet the bishop because he’s Polish, too,” said Quillard. “We’re going to enjoy having him as our bishop.
Look for more on this story in an upcoming edition of "Real to Reel," which airs Saturday evenings at 7 on WWLP-22NEWS.