Welcome to Saint Theresa and Saint Christopher Parishes on the Web!
Meet our New Pastor!
Now that Fr. Peter has announced his moving to St. Barnabas in July, we would like to introduce our New Pastor!
Father Przemyslaw Lepak, or Fr. Shemek as he wishes to be called, the son of Henryl and the late Krystyna (Plutowska) Lepak, was born and educated in Poland. He studied for the priesthood at SS. Cyril & Methodius Seminary in Orchard Lake, Michigan and Sacred Heart Seminary in Detroit, Michigan.
While studying for the priesthood, he served as a summer seminarian at St. Mary of the Bay, Warren; St. Joseph’s, North Scituate; Immaculate Conception, Westerly, ; St. Brendan’s, Riverside; and in the chaplaincy program at Rhode Island Hospital. His home parish is St. Michael the Archangel in Skarszewy, Poland.
Father Lepak was ordained by Bishop Thomas J. Tobin on June 3, 2006 in the Cathedral of SS. Peter and Paul, Providence.
His first assignment after his ordination was St. Kevin’s Parish in Warwick as assistant pastor. Next, he was assigned to St. Brendan in Riverside in 2008 and served there until his current assignment Our Lady of Mercy.
In his own words….
My name is Fr. Przemyslaw “Shemek” Lepak. I was born in Gdansk, Poland on February 24, 1979.
My parents are Henryk and late Krystyna Lepak. I have two sisters Iwona and Beata who live in Poland with their families. I also have three nephews Patrik, Oscar and Kamil.
Currently I am a Catholic Priest in the Diocese of Providence. I was born, raised and educated in Skarszewy, Poland. I entered the seminary in Pelplin, Poland on September 1, 1998. I came to the United States as a seminarian in August 2000 and completed my seminary formation at Sacred Heart Seminary in Detroit, MI. I was ordained to the priesthood on June 3, 2006 at the Cathedral of Sts Peter and Paul in Providence, RI by Most Reverend Bishop Thomas Tobin. I was assigned to St. Kevin’s Parish in Warwick, St. Brendan’s Parish in Riverside and am presently serving as Assistant Pastor at OLM in East Greenwich.
Some of my interests are skiing, travel, riding my motorcycle, cooking, hiking, soccer and swimming.
My favorite team is Lechia Gdansk from Poland and here in the U.S. The New England Patriots.
Many people asked me: “What would I have done if I hadn’t entered the seminary or come to the United States?” Honestly speaking, I don’t have to wait too long for the answer. I can picture myself wearing the uniform of a Polish Army officer and I would be serving my country as, at least, a Lieutenant.
But I am not an officer today and as I sit in my parish office I realize how God has directed my paths. Remembering my past, I go back to Skarszewy, my little hometown in the northern part of Poland. I grew up in a very religious Catholic family. Thinking back, my mom, Krystyna, was really the one who brought God to my life and taught me our Catholic faith. The most important day for our family was Sunday when I, with the entire family, attended the celebration of the Eucharist. From my parents I learned my prayers and love of Jesus Christ. There is no exaggeration in saying that in my family I discovered and nourished my vocation. I feel that because of my family I started thinking about the priesthood.
I don’t know when I started to consider the priesthood. Maybe it was in the second grade, when I received a few reprimands from the priest for misbehaving during the religion class. Or maybe it was in the sixth grade when I mistakenly filled the wine cruet with water and vice versa. What I know is that much engaged in the liturgical life in my home parish of St. Michael, I sincerely enjoyed serving as an altar boy. I also loved to listen to the stories of the missionaries and priests working abroad coming to our parish. I was very fascinated and wanted to become one of them.
In the mid 1990′s, I started to question my future. For me, it was not easy to decide what way of life to choose. Trying to find out what God wanted me to do and what direction He prepared for me, I spent a lot of time praying for the light of the Holy Spirit, talking to my friends, priests, attending a few retreats for high school students, and looking for a sign that would tell me what to choose as my future. I really wanted to become a priest and, at the same time, to join the Polish Army.
The thoughts of being a priest and soldier stayed in my heart to the very end of high school. After my final exams, I applied and was accepted to both the Major Seminary in Pelplin and the Jozef Bem Military Academy in Torun. However, as I had to make a decision which one of these two to choose, I did not hesitate to withdraw my application for the military school and enter the seminary.
The day I entered the seminary, I began my very special journey with Christ. It was the beginning of rediscovering the presence of God in my life and the plan He has for me.
It would be a partial history of my life and vocation if I didn’t mention the Blessed Virgin Mary’s role in my everyday life. She truly became, after I lost my mother while in the eighth grade, my mom. She still has a special place in my heart that I am sure will continue to be present there.
Now I am at our Lady of Mercy Parish in East Greenwich which I see as another of God’s blessings. As I have some time to reflect, I recall priests and bishops coming from the U.S. to our seminary in Poland and asking us to consider working in their country. There would have been no reason for me to come here if I hadn’t heard a voice telling me to come to America, the same kind of voice that told me to enter the seminary, the same kind of voice that told me about Rhode Island. That is how, on August 20, 2000, a day I will remember forever, I arrived in New York and began my personal and spiritual journey on this continent.
I am very blessed I have begun my new chapter of my life at Our Lady of Mercy in East Greenwich. God Bless you all.
Fr. Shemek will be moving from Our Lady of Mercy and begin his ministry as our pastor on July 1st. Let us welcome him to Tiverton!
A Word of Welcome!
Our two parishes, incorporated independently, and yet sharing many of our abundant resources, have much to offer both parishioner and visitor alike. Whether you visit us here on the web, or at either location for one of our events or celebrations, you will find something to suit your needs. Each parish has a unique character, from the folks who call the parish theirs and the church building in which we celebrate the Lord’s goodness to us. St. Christopher Parish completed its Centennial Year, and St. Theresa Parish recently celebrated her Golden Jubilee! We look forward to having you be a part of our community be it just once or for a lifetime.
This website has been designed to assist you in finding just about any information you may need from us. From the schedule of Masses to requirements for baptism, from information to help in planning a wedding with us to links that will take you far and wide in guiding your personal spiritual journey, it is hoped that your time with us will be helpful. Come by often and spend as much time as you like. Updates occur on a regular basis, so who knows what you may find this time around.