By Dave Hrbacek, Originally Published in the Catholic Spirit
(Re-posted with permission)
Serving at a parish in a dangerous part of Miami that included being held up at gunpoint is among the memorable moments of Father Richard Sudlik’s 50 years of priesthood in the Oblates of Mary Immaculate.
Father Sudlik, 77, now serving as director of Christ the King Retreat Center in Buffalo, was taught by Oblates while at Bishop Fallon High School in Buffalo, New York. Those years helped draw him to the order, which he joined in 1963. He made final vows in 1969 and was ordained a priest in 1972.
After 21 years of ministry that included three parishes, he arrived at Holy Redeemer in Miami in 1993. It didn’t take long to realize this assignment would be vastly different from anything else on his resumé.
“It was in a section of the city called Liberty City, which started out as a segregated part of Miami,” he said. “I was the only white face in the church. To walk into a gathering and be the only white person is an interesting experience.”
“I really got to love the community,” he added. “I often tell people that everybody should be a minority once in their life.”
Among his vivid memories of Liberty City is the night he was robbed.