Br. Andy Gancarczyk SCJ
Director of Religious Education
I was born on May 24, 1975 on the Feast of Mary Help of Christians in Prudnik, Poland. I am the first child of Henry and Theresa Gancarczyk. I have two younger brothers. I grew up and spent my childhood in Kałków one small, old village founded in the XII century, in southern Poland, on the foothills of the Sudetenland. In Kałków I finished Primary School and was an altar boy and Boy Scout. At age 14 I enrolled in the Conservatory of Music in saxophone class. In 1990 I began to study in The King Stefan Batory “Carolinum” High School in Nysa, in the pedagogic class. During this time I really liked soccer, so I played in the local soccer club. As the eldest son, also had to help my family on the farm. Then I met the Priests of the Sacred Heard and every summer and winter vacation I spent in a retreat held in various SCJ’s communities.
After graduating from high school I entered the Novitiate in Stopnica on June 15, 1994. I professed my religious vows on September 24, 1995 at Sacred Heart Monastery in Stopnica. In October I continued formation of the brothers in juniorate in Pliszczyn near Lublin. I also started a three year course at the Theological College of the Archdiocese of Lublin and graduated in 1998 and received a professional certification with a specialization in teaching.
In 1998 I moved to Warsaw, asking my superiors to continue my education in the pedagogical direction. I got permission and started studies at the Salesian Institute of Christian Education. After 3 years of study, my superiors sent me on a one-year break and my first ministry as a brother was at one of the biggest Polish SCJ Parishes in Sosnowiec. I was teaching religion class in the Public Middle School. In April 28, 2002 I professed perpetual vows and in October returned to Warsaw to continue my studies.
At the University I concentrated on issues of “little homelands” and the social theory of empowering. I have participated in many international scientific projects in Poland, Slovakia and Estonia. I graduated from Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski University in Warsaw and received Master’s of Education, in the specialization of Social Pedagogy on June 9, 2004.
In the years 2004 - 2008 I worked as a treasurer of the community and Director of Printing Department of the SCJ’s Publishing House “Dehon” in Cracow. I worked with computer graphics, layout, digital printing and book binding.
In 2005 I asked for the opportunity to go on missions ad gentes. At first I thought about India, but my superiors did not share my desire to leave. Finally, in 2008 I went on a mission to Uruguay, where I spent five years working in some of poorest neighborhoods in Montevideo. For the last three years in Uruguay I was treasurer of the District and Director General of CED (Centro Educativo Dehoniano - Dehonian Education Center).
In 2013, I safely returned to Poland. In January 2014 I came to United States with high hopes and a desire to acquire another interesting work experience, the desire to share my faith and experience already gained. Since July 2014 in Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish.
I love photography, cooking and computer graphic design. I play the piano, guitar and saxophone, I like jazz, punk and classical music.