Humans of Hamden: Father Matthew Gworek

                                                                                                                                                                                Photo by Lindsay Pytel

                                                                                                                                                                               Photo by Lindsay Pytel

By Shauna Golden

Sitting alone quietly at a Quinnipiac University cafeteria table tucked underneath a set of stairs, 30-year-old Father Matthew Gworek offered up a friendly smile.

Father Gworek is a Catholic priest who works down the road at Our Lady of Mount Carmel and is also a chaplain at Quinnipiac University. Taking a minute out of his day at Quinnipiac, Father Gworek gave his perspective about recent events going on in the world.

When asked about the protests of the National Anthem during recent NFL games, Father Gworek explained that this issue falls into a gray area, it is not simply black and white.

I think, you know, you can see different perspectives and a lot of different sides. I think it was, maybe the best example was, I think it was a player for the Pittsburgh Steelers this past weekend, who had this big struggle because his team was doing one thing but he was also a veteran, so he had to kind of walk the line and try to support both groups and both sides.

Father Gworek explained that individuals have the opportunity to use this issue as a way of working together to find a common ground.

Hopefully the NFL and the players and the teams and whomever will look at that and say we can use this as a way to pull together instead of just ripping us apart.

When asked about the Cassidy-Graham Healthcare bill, the proposed plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act, Father Gworek offered up an opinion similar to his last. He explained that the country must come together instead of dividing itself.

Unfortunately, there’s probably no perfect system. Because it comes from different perspectives and ideas, that leads to differences of opinion and kind of leads to, unfortunately, the kind of situation we’re in, where you have two different sides that see very differently. I think that whatever happens and whatever way the country decides to go it should be something that’s well thought out and considered and really does support as many people as possible.

When the conversation shifted away from current events and transitioned to the topic of priesthood, Father Gworek’s bright blue eyes lit up and his nervousness visibly lessened.

The priest, who was ordained just under 18 months ago, explained that becoming a man of the cloth hadn’t always been his path in life.

I never thought I was going to be a priest. I actually went to UConn and I studied music there, I wanted to be a music teacher. That was the plan.

However, after becoming heavily involved in the church on UConn’s campus, Father Gworek simply couldn’t walk away from something that had become such a big part of his life.

It was a really cool experience where I came to look at these people around me, especially the priests who really seemed to love what they were doing and who they are and what they’ve decided to do with their life and whatever I do I want to find that happiness.

Father Gworek has found his happiness in serving as a priest at two different churches. Gworek offered this advice to those who are still actively looking for what will give them happiness in their lives:

I think for all of us that’s the driving force. We want to do something that makes us happy...and for everybody that’s a little bit different based on who we are and the talents that God’s given us.

Father Gworek is a human of Hamden and Quinnipiac.

Shauna Golden