First Place Award for General Excellence, Catholic Press Association, 2013-2016

Father Sebastian Maria Kajko, C.F.R.
He at first fought the call, but God wouldn’t give up
Chris Sheridan

Father Sebastian Maria Kajko, C.F.R., never dreamed he would become a priest. When he did realize that God was calling him to the priesthood, he fought against it every step of the way.

“The idea of being a priest scared me,” he said. He noted with a laugh that his initial reaction to the idea was, “‘Oh no, I don’t want to be a priest, I want to get married!”

Father Sebastian, 36, was born in Krakow, Poland, to Jozef Bogdan and Margaret Kajko, and raised in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Throughout his discernment process, he said, there were “hundreds of incidents of resisting in different ways.”

“There is a real element of sacrifice and I was very much aware of that,” he said.
Actively involved in youth and prayer groups, he felt that God was calling him to the priesthood, and at the age of 21 he quit his job at an acrylics factory in Canada, and joined the Conventual Franciscans. After two years, he left the order, accepted a job at a Canadian auto parts factory and began a relationship he thought would lead to marriage. The relationship did not last. “My heart was not at peace, and the idea of the priesthood just wasn’t gone,” he said.

During a visit to the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal in 2000, Father Sebastian said he found “a spiritual peace.” He realized “this is what I want to do—pray, love Jesus and tell everyone about him.” He earned a bachelor’s degree in theology from the Franciscan University of Steubenville and entered the order in 2003.

Father Sebastian, during an interview, spoke of his “passion for the scripture” and his strong call to evangelization. He noted that his apostolic assignment leading a Bible study for young adults at the Kolping House in Manhattan has been very fruitful and has prepared him for the priesthood. “It has forced me to really delve into God’s words,” he said. “It’s prepared me so when I preach or give talks, I can do it in a way people will understand.”

He said of the priesthood, “There is an element of sacrifice but the Lord is not going to be outdone in generosity. God has invited me to participate in the beautiful things he is doing in people’s lives.”

Father Sebastian will celebrate his first Masses at St. Elizabeth Seton Church in Newmarket, Ontario, on Sunday, May 22, at 9:30 a.m.; and in Poland at St. Bartholomew’s Church, Krakow, Poland, on Sunday, July 17.

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