Father Fred Honored With ‘Fishers of Men’ Award
By LORETTA FULTON
Talk about a match made in heaven.
That certainly is an apt phrase for the Fishers of Men Award and Monsignor Fred Nawarskas, the 2022 honoree.
“Father Fred,” as he is called by all who know him, was honored Saturday, Oct. 1, at the ninth annual Fishers of Men dinner in Odessa. The award is given by the Guadalupe Radio Network, which started in 2000 with a station in the Midland/Odessa area. Today, the network consists of 39 stations with the potential to reach 24 million listeners.
Gracious as always, Nawarskas expressed gratitude for the award and for those who deemed him worthy of the honor. He has served in four locations in the Diocese of San Angelo since his ordination in 1967–Sacred Heart Cathedral in San Angelo, St. Joseph parish in Odessa, St. Ann’s parish in Midland, and Holy Family Catholic Church in Abilene, where he still serves in a reduced ministry role.
“I thank God for His many blessings and great experiences for so many years in happy ministry,” Nawarskas said.
Nawarskas, a native of Cleveland, Ohio, was ordained to the priesthood on May 2, 1967, at Pontifical College Josephinum in Columbus, Ohio. He reported to the Diocese of San Angelo three weeks later, where he has served since. His longest stint was as pastor of Holy Family, from 1996 until July 1, 2021.
Bishop Michael Sis noted that Father Fred’s entire life has been dedicated to bringing people to Jesus Christ through the ministry of the church.
“God has blessed him with both a keen intellect and a warm personality,” Sis said, “and he puts those gifts to good use for the benefit of others.”
Monsignor Larry Droll, vicar for priests in the diocese, has known Father Fred since his seminary days and throughout his 50-plus years as a priest.
“He has proclaimed the gospel of Jesus Christ and served the people of God as pastor in four parishes,” Droll said. “He is a devoted preacher and a sensitive pastor in his leadership, in both English and Spanish.”
Nawarskas is well respected among the priests in the diocese, Droll noted, and has served on various councils and committees.
“In my view,” Droll said, “he is most deserving of this distinguished award as a ‘Fisher of Men.’”
Bishop Sis noted Father Fred’s years of service to the diocese, which continues. And, he said he is hopeful that others will follow his example.
“I pray that many young people in West Texas will dedicate themselves to ministry after his example,” the bishop said, “so that his legacy may continue to bear fruit for future generations.”
Loretta Fulton is editor of Spirit of Abilene