Priests Offer Advice for Fresh Spiritual Start in New Year

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By Tony DeGol
Proclaim!  

Like just about everyone else in America, Father George Gulash and Father Brian Warchola are ready to say goodbye to 2020.  

Granted, the problems we face today are not going to magically disappear when the clock strikes midnight on January first.  The new year, however, is truly an opportunity for renewed hope and a chance for a fresh start in our personal lives — especially when it comes to our relationship with the Lord. 

During a recent Proclaim! interview, Father Gulash and Father Warchola shared their thoughts on moving beyond the struggles of the past year and using this time to become better Catholics. 

“Like with any growth there needs to be a pruning and a preparation before that growth can happen,” insisted Father Gulash, Pastor of Resurrection Parish in Johnstown and Administrator of Saint Clare of Assisi Parish in Johnstown. “Certainly in 2020, a lot of people were focusing on what they couldn’t do because so much was taken away from them. With the new year, we can begin to build something new, something different, something creative.”  

Over the past several months, many faithful engaged in increased spirituality at home. Perhaps 2021 is the time to not only continue down that path, but expand on it, Father Gulash suggested. For those who became more casual in their faith this past year, now is a chance to reconnect. 

As always, the Church offers an incredible opportunity for mercy and healing through Reconciliation.   

“I always tell people as I’m administering the Sacrament that this is a new beginning,” assured Father Warchola, Pastor of Holy Name Parish in Ebensburg. “Everything that happened in the past you can leave in the past. This new year is an opportunity for us to move forward, to look to the future, and to realize there is nothing we can do about things that happened in the past.” 

Advent and Lent are the usual seasons during which Catholics choose to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation, but Father Warchola urges parishioners to resolve to go to Confession more regularly in the new year — perhaps monthly or every other month. 

A healthy and consistent prayer routine is also important. 

“For someone to explore that, they need to stop worrying if they’re doing it the right way,” Father Gulash cautioned. “I think that’s what holds a lot of people back. Out of that fear that they’re doing something wrong, they don’t do anything.” 

Prayer is not about gaining control, he reminded.  

“Prayer is opening ourselves up to what God wants of us,” he added. “We simply bring to the Lord where we are right now.” 

Making more time to sit quietly before the Blessed Sacrament is a great prayer resolution, suggested Father Gulash. 

Editor’s Note: Father Gulash and Father Warchola share more ideas for a healthier spiritual life in 2021, along with their own personal resolutions during a special Proclaim! TV segment on January 3, 2021, at 10:30 am. on WATM ABC 23. 

[Photo: Proclaim! TV host Tony DeGol discusses faith in the new year with Father George Gulash (top) and Father Brian Warchola.]