"How Ya Com'ng"
Monsignor James Donald Gorski
Don Gorski was born on March 20,1933 to Joseph and Cecilia Gorski, a devout Catholic family. He was the youngest of five children. Don’s father served in the US Navy for over 30 years and credits his survival during the attack on Pearl Harbor because he was attending Mass that morning. Don’s mother was a homemaker. He grew up in Charleston, South Carolina where he and his siblings loved to pick up books from the library and spend time with his large, extended family.
His father was transferred to San Diego, California where sadly, his eldest sister, Helen, died due to complications from epilepsy. Both of his older brothers entered service in the military and his sister, Anne, would go on to become Sister Mary Caritas of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Orange.
In San Diego, Don graduated from St. Augustine’s High School and then went on to receive his B.A. from St. Bernard College and Seminary in Alabama and furthered his education at St Mary’s College in Baltimore, Maryland
Fr. Don was ordained to the priesthood on May 16,1959 at the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist in Charleston, South Carolina, the same church his parents were married in. His first assignment, as Associate Pastor, was to St. Peter’s Catholic Church in Columbia, South Carolina. He continued his service as an associate Pastor at Divine Redeemer and St. Ann’s for the Diocese of Charleston.
Fr. Don always wanted to be a missionary and in 1970 his dream came true when he learned Spanish and went to serve with the Society of St. James the Apostle in Peru where he labored for six years. His sister Anne, now Sister Caritas, also served with him in Peru during a difficult and dangerous time when the Shining Path was threatening the country to the point that they were dodging bullets during attacks on the church!
In 1976 he returned to the United States and was assigned as Pastor to St. Mary’s in Greenville, South Carolina where he instituted the first regularly scheduled Spanish speaking Mass for the Diocese of Charleston. He continued his service as pastor at St Mary’s, Yonges Island; St. Frederick and Stephen, Edisto Island; and St. Mary’s, Summerton.
In 1993, “at the young age of 60,” he returned, along with Sister Caritas, to the people in Peru and the Mission of the St. James Society in Zorritos where he continued his work spreading the Light and of love of Christ. He remained there until he “retired again” to Palm Desert in 2001 and served as a supply priest for Sacred Heart Catholic Church. In Palm Desert he lived next door to his two brothers and his sister, where he never complained about the heat and loved to pick the delicious grapefruit that grew in his brother’s yard. “It’s very dry here - I don’t notice the heat at all,” he would comment if anyone complained about the heat. Here, he and Str. Caritas were introduced to Ofelia Castaneda who assisted him in his continued work supporting the mission in Peru.
In the Fall of 2016, at the invitation of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Orange, he moved to the Motherhouse and eventually Regina Residence where he enjoyed his retirement in the same wing with his sister, Str. Caritas. He would often carefully choose her meals and they would eat together in her room. He continued to celebrate Mass and hear confessions as long as his health permitted.
Fr. Don loved the people he served. He was always smiling and would frequently greet people with, “How ya’ com’n?” If someone told him to, “Have a good day!” He would respond with, “No!! I refuse to have a good day….. I will have a tremendous, FANTASTIC day!!” He loved dogs and rescued a charming puppy from the dump whom he named, Basurita. He was very health conscience, no sugar(except an occasional ice cream), nothing processed and was very fond of an occasional large bowl of popcorn in place of supper. He was a strong advocate of nutrition and supplements to heal the body and firmly believed in the power of prayer.
His siblings, Joe Gorski, Helen Gorski, William Gorski, and Sister Caritas Gorski, his niece, Marlene Gorski and his great-nephew, Justin Gorski, preceded him in death. He is survived by his nieces, Laura (Gorski) Arkfeld, Carol Gorski; his nephew William Gorski, Jr; and many great nieces/nephews; great-great nieces/nephews and cousins, The Sisters of St. Joseph of Orange, Staff at Regina House and a large number of dear friends and supporters. He will long be remembered for his devotion to the people of God and his only request at the end of his life was for, “Lots of prayers.”
In lieu of flowers, anyone wishing to make donations in Fr. Gorski's memory, these are 2 organizations he was very fond of.
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