From Poland to Omaha: Father Jay Offers Support and Enlightenment

Father Jay and Dr. Thomas W. Hilgers

Father Jay and Dr. Thomas W. Hilgers

From the Winter 2014 Culture of Life newsletter

The Pope Paul VI Institute is proud to maintain a large network of resources that extends even intercontinentally. One such resource is Father Jarosław (Jay) Szymczak, PhD, from Lomianki, Poland, a small town on the outskirts of Warsaw. Father Jay serves as Chaplain for the Institute’s EP I and II programs and as Retreat Master for the I + You = We Program, one of a cycle of Love and Life Programs for married couples (which he co-developed in Poland) that fosters the development of marital relationships amongst couples.According to Father Jay, the program “is addressed to believers and non-believers, giving them six simple steps leading to a life in unity.”

In an age when marriage and sexuality are attacked on many fronts, Father Jay has dedicated his work to helping couples form marriages that meet God’s vision for the family and to enlighten couples regarding Catholic sexual ethics. Father Jay is a consecrated priest of the Secular Institute of Consecrated Life Holy Family in Poland. He holds a doctorate of theology in marriage and the family, is a lecturer at the Faculty for Studies on the Family at Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski University in Lomianki and is a chairman of the Family Support Foundation, which develops the Love and Life Programs and offers them worldwide.

While Omaha is a long distance from his native Poland, Father Jay has found a home at the Pope Paul VI Institute. The opportunity to work with the Pope Paul VI Institute is one that Father Jay cherishes. “I have fallen in love with Pope Paul VI and his landmark encyclical, Humanae Vitae,” says Father Jay. “The Pope Paul VI Institute is a direct result of the Blessed Pope Paul VI’s work and his call to medical professionals to seek solutions that promote life. I am so honored to have the opportunity to help the Institute answer this call.”
For more information about these programs, please visit www.love­andlifeprograms.org.

Profile of Paul Comeau, Long-time Board Member

Paul Comeau in front of the “Miracle on Mercy Road” in Omaha in 2014.

Paul Comeau in front of the “Miracle on Mercy Road” in Omaha in 2014.

From the Winter 2014 Culture of Life newsletter

Longtime Pope Paul VI Institute Board Member, Paul Comeau, is proud to recount the Institute’s many accomplishments since he joined the Board of Directors almost 30 years ago. A former attorney for Union Pacific, Comeau was contacted by Dr. Thomas Hilgers in the early 1980s for help in finding a location for what would become the Pope Paul VI Institute.

“We were looking all over for a suitable location, and one day I was driving down Mercy Road, which makes so much sense now, and saw a lot with an old car wash. It had some weeds and needed some work, but it seemed like a perfect spot,” he recalls. “So I looked up the owner through the County Assessor, an Iowa farmer, who had long been considering selling the lot. A year and a half later we broke ground and the rest is history.”

When Comeau joined the Board more than 30 years ago, the Institute consisted of the Hilgers, Dr. Hilgers’ research, and a vision for an Institute that would meet Pope Paul VI’s appeal to medical professionals (as stated in Humanae Vitae).

“Here was this young doctor who was doing really amazing work, and there was nothing else like it,” says Comeau. “He works so hard but he is also so talented. I can’t imagine there are many people who would have the talent and commitment to build what he has over the past 30 years. To do what he has with the help of a few faithful donors is remarkable.”

The car wash formerly at 6901 Mercy Rd. in Omaha.

The car wash formerly at 6901 Mercy Rd. in Omaha.

The accomplishments Comeau cites in speaking about the Institute are many. It includes educational programs that have trained physicians and other medical professionals from six continents, an advisory board with bishops from the throughout the United States and the Vatican, the support of former popes and a medical clinic that “creates life.”

While Comeau is extremely proud of the Institute’s many accomplishments, he understands that the Institute has a lot of work left to do. “We are building a culture of life and it’s been against great odds,” he says. “But looking back, there is no doubt the Holy Spirit has helped guide our work.”