By Msgr. Hugh Shields
Special to the CS&T

We are used to hearing kind words about someone when they die. And because we are so accustomed to these phrases, we can very easily lose the thoughts and feelings that these words attempt to convey. Let me share a few phrases that I have heard since the recent and sudden death of Vincentian Father Michael T. Mazurchuk.

“He always had a smile.”

“It was never about him…he spoke for others.”

“He was my violin priest.”

“He did so much for me and my family.”

“He was a good son…a caring brother.”

“Our Vincentian Congregation is really feeling his death.”

“When his death was announced at Mass on Sunday, men and women were crying.”

When I visited Panama during Easter week this year, the people there spoke of the 10 years that “Father Mike” had shared with them in ministry. Father Mike was a missionary in Panama, in New York and on the streets of North and South Philadelphia. He was everyone’s priest. But his heart and soul walked with the Hispanic Community.

We have lost…no, given back to the Lord…a good man, a good priest, a good Vincentian and a good friend.

May the Lord welcome Father Mike home. May the Lord console with His peace the parents and family of Father Mike, the Vincentian Community and all of us Philadelphians who count Father Mike as “our priest.”

May he rest in peace.

Msgr. Hugh Shields is the Vicar for Hispanic Catholics of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

Listen to Father Mike Mazurchuk’s liturgy (with violin) on
the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe last year. (In the recording, after the
welcome there is approx. a minute of silence before a violin piece and the
liturgy continues.)