Father Edward M. Jawidzik
Father Edward M. Jawidzik
" We get to present the Good News of God who loves us so much... "

Father Edward M. Jawidzik has often said that one of the “most wonderful gifts” he has received as a priest is sharing the Word of God with the people he’s served. 

“We get to present the Good News of a God who loves us so much, who came among us to atone for our sins. That is the source and summit of our lives,” he said. “What a powerful message, what a privilege and a joy to be able to share that message day by day, month by month, year by year.” 

Though Father Jawidzik retired earlier this year because of health-related matters and currently resides in St. Mary Assisted Living on the campus of St. Lawrence/Morris Hall, Lawrenceville, there are countless faithful from around the Diocese who joyfully and prayerfully celebrate with him the 40th anniversary of his ordination to the sacred priesthood and his devoted service to the people of God. 

Born in April 1954 in New Brunswick to Edward J. and Phyllis Jawidzik and raised in Jamesburg, Edward began his journey to priesthood as a 16-year-old high school junior. With his family’s blessing, he left public school and began studies in Divine Word Seminary High School, Bordentown, graduating in 1972. He continued his seminary formation in St. Mary Seminary College, Baltimore, and Immaculate Conception Seminary, Darlington, serving his transitional diaconate year in St. Joan of Arc Parish, Marlton. He was ordained May 21, 1981, in St. Mary of the Assumption Cathedral, Trenton, by Bishop John C. Reiss.

Father Jawidzik once described his ordination day as being the single most central event of his entire life. “Everything before led to it and everything afterward stems from it. All the parishioners and priests I worked with, the people I’ve ministered to, it all flows from that special moment.” 

The newly-ordained priest’s first assignment was as parochial vicar of St. Mary of the Lake Parish (now part of Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish), Lakewood, which was a very active parish with both a big school and religious education program. Along with ministering to the parish’s many young families and some seniors at the time, and having the parish Masses celebrated in two locations, he also was involved with the youth ministry and visits to the nearby hospital and nursing homes. Other parishes where Father Jawidzik served as parochial vicar were Our Lady Star of the Sea Parish (now
Part of Christ the King Parish), Long Branch; St. Ann Parish, Keansburg; St. Robert Bellarmine Co-Cathedral, Freehold, and St. Raphael-Holy Angels Parish, Hamilton. As administrator and pastor, he served in St. Mary Parish, Barnegat; St. Gregory the Great Parish, Hamilton Square, and Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish, Highlands. 

On the diocesan level, Father Jawidzik has served as a member of the Priest Senate and a pro-life chaplain. He was a consistent presence at the annual March for Life in Washington, the Pro-Life Rally at the New Jersey Statehouse and the diocesan Respect Life Mass and Witness in Red Bank on numerous occasions. He also enjoyed collaborating with diocesan staff on various respect life initiatives as well as overseeing various student-based respect life programs and projects in the parishes where he was assigned.

He served as diocesan director for Catholic Relief Services, and he represented the Diocese as a member of the New Jersey Catholic Historical Commission. He was also involved in several local organizations while serving in Freehold.

Of his priesthood, Father Jawidzik had said that even though he was very young when he decided to pursue a vocation, if he had to do it all over again, he would.

“I enjoyed it from the beginning. It was something from deep within,” he said. “It was a vocation that God was calling me to. I knew I was in a good place and I made the most of it.”