Father Hubert Jurjewicz, a Polish born priest and current College of Saint Elizabeth student, is on track to become a doctor three times over.
Jurjewicz, who is currently enrolled in the College’s doctoral program in counseling psychology, isn’t attaining all of these degrees for the recognition.
“For me, studying opens new doors,” he says. “I don’t spend my time watching TV, I’ve never been good at sports, and I like to study and do something productive. It’s how I relax.”
Jurjewicz is currently the administrator at Our Lady Queen of Peace in Hewitt, N.J., and interning at the Center for Counseling and Psychological Services in Denville, N.J. He already has two doctorates: a degree of docent in religiosity from University of Presov in Slovakia, and a doctorate in social science, sociology and psychology from the University of Cardinal Wyszynski in Warsaw, Poland.
He believes that God’s work and psychology are inherently linked, and an advanced degree will benefit his work with parishioners.
“Some people will never come to the Church but, because of my educational background, I am able to meet them,” says Jurjewicz. “I don’t have to use the word God. Sometimes I just listen, sometimes I just share my thoughts, and sometimes I cry with them.”
Despite never visiting the U.S. or speaking a word of English, Father Jurjewicz felt an indescribable call to serve the people of the United States. After a brief meeting with an American priest on a pilgrimage in Poland, he began having trouble sleeping. His dreams were punctured with nightmares of empty American churches.
Uncertain of his desire to leave home, Father prayed for guidance in a famous Polish shrine. While there, he pleaded for a sign that pursuing his dream of serving the needy in America was God’s will. When he arrived at church that morning, for the first time during his stay, the mass was said in English. The Father’s prayers were answered.
Father Jurjewicz transferred to the Diocese of Paterson in New Jersey in 2008. He discovered weeks later that the Bishop of Paterson was at the very same Polish shrine, during the same week he was, praying for religious Polish vocations.
In New Jersey, Father Jurjewicz began taking classes to learn English. He became fluent very quickly and was appointed as transitional deacon of Saint Rose of Lima in East Hanover. Only nine months after that, he achieved his dream and was ordained into priesthood by Bishop Serratelli on May 23, 2009.
Father Jurjewicz is set to graduate from CSE in 2018.
Learn more about CSE here: www.cse.edu
Mary Colleen Robinson has a communication degree with a concentration in journalism and is currently working as the PR/Social Media Specialist at the College of Saint Elizabeth.