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Manistee Native Returns from Rome Amid Coronavirus to Finish Studies for Priesthood

04 19 20 Italy Deacon Pkg

A Manistee native studying to be a priest recently returned home from Italy where he was finishing up classes before being ordained for the Diocese of Gaylord.

He self-quarantined when he returned to Traverse City and is now finishing his classes here ahead of his ordination in June.

Deacon Alex Kowalkowski was in the middle of classes at the North American College in Rome when the coronavirus started spreading through Italy last month.

“There was such a charm to the way the people interacted and the store owners but the last two weeks we were there it was difficult they were and to see the fear and it was almost something you could sense, we would be walking to class there was just a sense of fear in the air,” said Kowalkowski.

It was mid-March when Alex and other seminarians at the college made the decision to return home to finish their classes.

“I love being home in the Diocese, there’s a true peace about serving here but it’s difficult because the day that I left the seminary was kind of scrambling around trying to say goodbye to different people. So there wasn’t proper closure and there probably never will be and that’s the difficult thing,” explained Kowalkowski.

Now, just months from being ordained a priest, Deacon Alex says being in both Italy and the United States during the coronavirus pandemic, has taught him lessons he’ll carry into his time as a priest.

“I think the biggest thing this has taught me, or just helped me remember, I’ve sat with this in prayer, is we can set plans and within any amount of time those plans can change very quickly, so to trust God in all this and really to kind of make my expectations his expectations,” said Kowlakowski.

Deacon Alex is scheduled to be ordained a priest in June.

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