The day before, in the presence of the head of the Archdiocese of Holy Mary in Astana, the parish said goodbye to the previous rector, fr. Wojciech Matuszewski and welcomed the new rector.
Archbishop Tomash Peta expressed gratitude to the departing priest for serving the Church of Kazakhstan: “Let me thank you from the bottom of my heart for your zealous service in Kazakhstan over the past seven years, and especially for your five years of service in the National Shrine of the Queen of Peace in Oziornoje. You fell in love with this place so much and tried very hard to make the parish of the Queen of Peace grow both spiritually and in terms of the external beauty of buildings and structures. Thank you for your hard work. We believe that with your prayer you will continue to support the Church in Kazakhstan. May the Mother of God, the Queen of Peace, beg from the Lord for all the necessary blessings in your further priestly service”.
Father Wojciech Matuszewski leaves Kazakhstan to return after 26 years of absence to his native diocese of Siedlice (Poland). Over the years, he has served in Ukraine, including in a theological seminary, in various parishes in Russia, and in recent years in Kazakhstan.
The newly appointed rector, Fr. Mariusz Stawarz, in turn, thanked Fr. Wojciech for his service in the parish and promised to remember him in personal and common prayers.
The parishioners gave Fr. Wojciech a memorable gift in the national style, indicating how dear the priest has become to them over 5 years of service. “All parishioners were treated by you with great warmth and kindness, and felt the love that you gave us during these five years of service in our parish. Thank you very much, father, for your homilies with which you instructed us, for everything you taught us, for being able to find the right words and understanding when you were asked for help and advice. We will miss you very much”, said representatives of the parish community.
About his service in the national sanctuary of Fr. Wojciech Matuszewski said: “I felt good here. And I really love this place. I was very lucky to have my sisters and other people around me and helping me. I apologize to those whom I may have offended during this time. Please pray for my future ministry. I wish Father Mariusz all the best. There are many different things to do here, so may God help you, father.
Father Mariusz Stavage is a priest from the Archdiocese of Przemyśl (Poland). After arriving in Kazakhstan, he served in Kellerovka (the Parish of St. Francis of Assisi), in Pavlodar, as well as in the village of Yasnaya Polyana (The Parish of Our Lady of Perpetual Help) and Zeleny Gay (The Parish of the Descent of the Holy Spirit).
The National Sanctuary of the Queen of Peace is based in the village of Oziornoje, where traditional youth meetings are held annually and the altar “Star of Kazakhstan” is located. The sanctuary is a place of pilgrimage for believers not only from Kazakhstan, but also from near and far abroad.