Updated: Jan 11
The next Covid-19 Vaccine interview is with 𝐅𝐚𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐫 𝐀𝐝𝐚𝐦 of the Sint Maarten Catholic Church!
𝐂𝐚𝐧 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐭𝐞𝐥𝐥 𝐮𝐬 𝐚 𝐛𝐢𝐭 𝐚𝐛𝐨𝐮𝐭 𝐲𝐨𝐮𝐫𝐬𝐞𝐥𝐟? My name is Adam Oleszczuk, but most people know me as Father Adam. I'm originally from Poland. I have been ordained as a priest in the Catholic church in 1998. Most of my ministry I spent in the Caribbean because soon after my ordination, I went to Jamaica and ministered there for about 16 years. In 2015, I moved to Sint Maarten and this is my sixth year here. I feel very much at home here, in St. Maarten.
I like to read and I’m also a bit of a handyman. There's always something to be done, in the house or in the church. I also like to spend time with people and help them wherever I can.
𝐇𝐨𝐰 𝐝𝐢𝐝 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐂𝐎𝐕𝐈𝐃-𝟏𝟗 𝐩𝐚𝐧𝐝𝐞𝐦𝐢𝐜 𝐚𝐟𝐟𝐞𝐜𝐭 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐛𝐨𝐭𝐡 𝐚𝐭 𝐰𝐨𝐫𝐤 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐢𝐧 𝐲𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐝𝐚𝐢𝐥𝐲 𝐥𝐢𝐟𝐞? I remember, early in March of 2020, walking on the boardwalk in the evenings, and observing passengers who would be waiting for their ferry to St. Bath, I was pondering, when and how the virus would come to us. And then one day suddenly we got the message that the first cases of the virus have been identified on the Dutch side of the island. Within a short time, the decision was made to close the churches. Fortunately, we have some young people at the church who are tech-savvy, so we went online almost right away. This way we were able to let the people know that we are there for them, to encourage and to support, and to pray for one another.
For me personally, I'm not a person who likes to stay in the office. Therefore, it was a little bit difficult for me not to be able to go outside. But I’m happy we were able to resume our activities right after the churches were open, following protocols to create a safe environment for everyone.
I must say that I'm really proud of how we have handled the reopening of our churches. Everyone has responded with such responsibility by following the protocols and creating a safe environment for others.
𝐖𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐢𝐬, 𝐢𝐧 𝐲𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐨𝐩𝐢𝐧𝐢𝐨𝐧, 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐰𝐚𝐲 𝐭𝐨 𝐠𝐞𝐭 𝐛𝐚𝐜𝐤 𝐭𝐨 𝐧𝐨𝐫𝐦𝐚𝐥 𝐚𝐠𝐚𝐢𝐧? I’m not sure if we’re ever going back to the way it was last year, because the world is rapidly changing all the time. Only 20 years ago we didn’t have cell phones, and now we almost can’t imagine living without them.
Personally, I would say yes, we can go back to the way it was before. When you look at the history of humanity, there have been many horrible things that happened to us. And yet, like a Phoenix rising from the ashes, we were back at life. I believe that we will overcome this one too and create an even better world. And I think that process has started already, with the introduction of the vaccine.
What bothers me, however, is the fact that vaccination on large scale is only happening in rich countries. I believe it should be happening at the same level around the world so that the whole world would be healed at the same time.
Yes, vaccination is a huge step forward, however, it is just the first step. For time being, we all need to keep wearing masks, especially in public places, or when we are together with others. I think the frequent washing of the hands has become our habit. I always remind myself, the first thing you do when you get home is to wash your hands.
𝐖𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐚𝐫𝐞 𝐲𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐫𝐞𝐚𝐬𝐨𝐧𝐬 𝐟𝐨𝐫 𝐭 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐯𝐚𝐜𝐜𝐢𝐧𝐞 𝐰𝐡𝐞𝐧 𝐢𝐭 𝐛𝐞𝐜𝐨𝐦𝐞𝐬 𝐚𝐯𝐚𝐢𝐥𝐚𝐛𝐥𝐞?
As a priest, so I’m constantly around people. Even though we follow all the protocols at the church, I want to make sure that I did everything I can to protect the people around me.
It's important for me to be vaccinated so that others who trust me, trust the church, and feel safe around me and in the church. For me, as I repeat all the time at the church, creating a safe environment is priority number one.
I'm not afraid to be vaccinated. When we get vaccinated, we are not only protecting ourselves, but we’re protecting the people around us. I want to encourage everyone who shares my beliefs, please play your part.
𝐖𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐰𝐨𝐮𝐥𝐝 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐬𝐚𝐲 𝐭𝐨 𝐭𝐡𝐨𝐬𝐞 𝐝𝐨𝐮𝐛𝐭𝐟𝐮𝐥 𝐨𝐟 𝐭𝐚𝐤𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐯𝐚𝐜𝐜𝐢𝐧𝐞? I would say, you have the right to doubt. We all ask questions such as: how come that the vaccine was developed so fast? How long will the vaccine last, will we have to take it again soon? And all these are valid questions.
However, we have many vaccines we use in the world today. And all of them save lives. They prevent diseases and save millions of lives. If all these vaccines work, why then shouldn’t this one work too? The entire world has been working on this vaccine, exchanging researches, sharing knowledge, making it the best it can be.
Since we put our interview in a church context, I would like you to know that the head of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis, is already vaccinated. He has also made many strong statements supporting the Covid-19 vaccination. We too, need to do it, to save lives.