On April 26, 2017, Fr. Alfred Grzempa OMI was appointed provincial of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Imamculate, Assumption Province. His official installation will take place during the Oblate annual retreat on June 16, 2017. His appointment arrived while he was participating in the De Mazenod Experience in Aix-en-Provence, France.
Fr. Alfred Grzempa was born on May 31, 1964 in Chojnice, located in the south-west of the Pomorskie province in Poland. The region from which his family hails is one of the most picturesque parts of Poland. His childhood dream was to be a train operator – and he was working towards that goal at the trade school in Chojnice.
In his third year of studies, however, young Alfred heard in his heart the call to religious life and envisioned himself as a missionary working among the people of the developing world. He studied at the Oblate Juniorate from 1982 to 1985, when he immediately entered the novitiate at Swiety Krzyz, and then went on to the Oblate Scholasticate in Obra. In 1992, Bishop Zdzislaw Fortuniak ordained him as a priest.
Fr. Alfred was now ready for missionary work. His first assignment from his superiors was in Poznan, where he served for eight years: the first two he spent as a missionary preaching parish retreats across Poland, and for the remaining six he worked for the “Misyjne Drogi” magazine.
In October 2000, Fr. Alfred came to Canada. He served the community and learned English in Surrey, B.C., and later Melville, Saskatchewan. In 2002, Fr. Alfred became a pastoral associate at St. Eugene de Mazenod Mission in Brampton, until August 2005, when he was named pastor of St. Casimir’s Church in Toronto. Since then, Fr. Alfred has been a pastor at Our Lady of Perpetual Help in St. Catharines (from 2008 to 2014) and Holy Ghost parish in Winnipeg (from 2014 to 2017). Fr. Alfred’s role model is, appropriately, the famous pastor of Ars, St. Jean-Marie Vianney.
Fr. Alfred is the youngest of four children in his family. His two brothers and one sister continue to live in Chojnice, Poland. His parents passed away, not having had the chance to see their son ordained. His favourite hobbies include reading about the lives of the saints, geography, as well as learning about and experiencing other cultures.
This news has brought us great joy, and I trust that you will all join me in congratulating Fr. Alfred on his new appointment. We wish Fr. Alfred many of God’s graces in this very important ministry for our province. May our founder, St. Eugene de Mazenod, continue to inspire him, and our Blessed Mother keep him in her care.