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Creighton pastor addresses U.S. House
archived from: 2011-09-06
by: Pittsburgh Catholic Staff Report

“Father Miro” chosen as guest chaplain

“Honor, awe and respect.”

That’s how Father Miroslaw Stelmaszczyk, pastor of Holy Family Parish in Creighton, described addressing the U.S. House of Representatives as guest chaplain in July.

He said he will never forget the feeling of speaking “from the podium where many, many important people have spoken, including presidents of the United States, as well as other guest chaplains among the many.”

And he wasn’t alone at the U.S. Capitol, accompanied by a bus-load of parishioners and other guests, who left Holy Family at 4 a.m. July 26 for the trip to Washington.

“I felt so blessed that, included as part of our trip, were a number of my altar servers and their parents, as well as parish volunteers,” said Father Stelmaszczyk, who is usually just called “Father Miro.”

The special honor came about after meeting U.S. Rep. Jason Altmire at a parish Lenten fish fry. The congressman submitted the Polish immigrant priest’s name for consideration as a guest chaplain.

He was selected because of his activities at the parish and in the wider community, receiving honors such as Citizen of the Year in 1993 and Polonian of the Year in 2004.

Ordained in May 1977 for the Diocese of Czestochowa, Poland, Father Miro has served in the Diocese of Pittsburgh since 1986. He was incardinated into the Pittsburgh Diocese in 1993.

Guest chaplains open the House session at exactly noon and offer a prayer that must be 150 words or less.

“In my prayer, I included intentions for all of our elected officials as well as all peoples worldwide,” Father Miro said.

Before giving the prayer, he met with Altmire and House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio.

“It is as though I experienced a whole new sense of some of the responsibilities of those officials elected to serve the people of the U.S.,” Father Miro said.

“This was and always will be a very memorable event in my life.”




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