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Western Mass. seminarian reflects on Beatification

by WGGB Staff

ROME (WGGB) — Excitement and crowds are building in Rome for the Beatification of Pope John Paul II.  One of the people excited for the festivities is young man from the Diocese of Springfield who is studying in Rome to be a priest.

Michael Pierz is a seminarian at the Pontifical North American College. It is a peaceful oasis away from the busy streets of Rome with a breathtaking view of St Peter’s Dome. Pierz grew up in the Berkshires served as an altar server in Lee.

He’s Polish and feels a close bond to the late Pope John Paul II. “A call came into me is one example of John Paul II.  The example of good and holy priests, that there was an wonderful opportunity to serve the church, ” said Pierz.

Pierz remembers meeting Pope John Paul II in the fall of 2002 while studying in Rome before entering the seminary. “I was able to say a few words to him, speaking in Polish, and I remember him saying ‘Pray Pray’. This was before I entered the seminary, but even then I knew it was one of those defining moments that gave me a chance to realize God’s action in my life,” reflected Pierz.

This young seminarian is looking forward to Pope John Paul II’s Beatification which he says is well deserved. “He played a particular role.  He was a good leader.  He was a great, gentle man who wanted to serve God and serve the church, and his witness is being validated once again in the Beatification this weekend,” says Pierz.  

As Michael Pierz continues his studies to be a priest, he does so with the same sense of serving that he so admired in the late Pope John Paul II. “Fundamentally the goal is to be able to serve God and to serve man, in the sense of growing a deeper relationship with Christ and with God, and become who God really made me to be.”