Paul Edwards

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Rev. Edwards-Komarc, founding pastor        St. Katharine leases space in warehouse

By Jean-Paul Renaud
South Florida Sun-Sentinel

April 23, 2006

The Rev. Paul Edwards-Komarc, whose creativity turned a warehouse in Weston's industrial park into an inviting parish for hundreds of worshipers, died early Saturday morning of a brain tumor. He was 52.

Rev. Edwards-Komarc was the founding pastor of St. Katharine Drexel Catholic Church, a young parish still leasing space in an industrial area.

"It's a unique task," said the Rev. Mark Heuberger, pastor of St. Andrew Church in Cape Coral. "Not every priest gets the opportunity to be a founding pastor."

In a final message, Rev. Edwards-Komarc told his congregation that he was proud of the progress his new church had made.

"During these past months I was concerned about the condition of the parish and how I was going to complete my mission of building a church," he wrote in a letter that was shared with his congregation over Easter weekend. "I can rest well knowing that the parish family of St. Katharine Drexel is the finest church I could have imagined."

Less than a year ago, a tumor was found in Rev. Edwards-Komarc's brain. Since January, he had been unable to return to his church.

"Be comforted in the fact that I am at peace with God's plan for me," he wrote to his church. "I know who I am, what I am about and where I am going."

Rev. Edwards-Komarc was born in Ohio but grew up in Hialeah, where he picked up Spanish quickly. He was ordained as a priest for the Archdiocese of Miami in 1983. His first Mass was celebrated at St. Coleman Catholic Church in Pompano Beach just one day later.

His longtime friends say that it was his ability to bridge cultural divides that made him so popular among worshipers.

"It was almost like having the capability of two priests," said Heuberger, who has known him for three decades. "People had said to him, `Do you ever ask, why me?' and he said, `why not me? Why should I be any different than anyone else to be spared such a serious illness.'"

Rev. Edwards-Komarc is survived by his parents, Geraldine and Jim Davis and Frank and Diane Edwards, and his sisters Audrey Kramer and Claudia Edwards.

Visitation is at St. Katharine Drexel Parish, 2700 Glades Circle, #200, Weston, on Tuesday, beginning at 2 p.m., with Vigil Service at 7 p.m. There will be a Morning Prayer on Wednesday at the Cathedral of St. Mary, 7525 NW Second Ave. in Miami, at 9:30 a.m., followed by a viewing until 11 a.m. Burial will follow at Our Lady of Mercy Cemetery, Miami.

In lieu of flowers, Rev. Edwards-Komarc requested donations be made to St. Katharine Drexel Parish Building Fund.

Jean-Paul Renaud can be reached at jprenaud@sun-sentinel.com or 954-356-4556.

Copyright 2006, South Florida Sun-Sentinel

April 22, 2006

Dear Ray:

You will probably read about it in the herald, but Fr. Paul Edwards (High School class of 1972/College 1974) died this morning from Brain Cancer. I believe the funeral will be at the Cathedral. Would you post on website?

DK

As was previously announced, Father Paul Edwards, Pastor of Saint Katharine Drexel Parish, died in the early hours of today, Easter Saturday.

The funeral rites are as follows.

Tuesday, April 25th at Saint Katharine Drexel Church:

Viewing, beginning at 2:00 p.m.
Vigil Service at 7:00 p.m.
Evening Prayer follows.

Wednesday, April 26th at the Cathedral of Saint Mary

Morning Prayer at 9:30 a.m. followed by viewing.
Funeral Mass at 11:00 a.m.
Burial follows at Our Lady of Mercy Cemetery

Requiescat in pacem.

(Msgr) Michael Souckar

From the Archdiocese web site. The Archdiocese of Miami

   
  FATHER PAUL EDWARDS
Pastor, St. Katharine
Drexel Parish, Weston


Born in Illinois in 1954, he grew up in Hialeah, entered the seminary at 15 and was ordained for the Archdiocese of Miami in 1983. He is founding pastor of two-year-old St.Katharine Drexel Parish in Weston, a growing community of more than 600 families, about 60 percent Hispanics from various countries in South America. Father Edwards learned to speak Spanish by "hanging out with the Cubans in Hialeah." He also taught himself Slavic during summer visits to his mother's family in Slovakia.
 
   
 

His description of the ideal priest:

Times he has failed as a priest:
"When I spoke too quickly, too harshly. Mostly cases of putting my foot in my mouth. Depending on the circumstances, you don't always get a second chance."

What the seminary did not prepare him for:
"The seminary gives you a foundation of theological knowledge. But the priesthood is mostly on-the-job training."

 

 "It's a repeat experience. When somebody comes and is able to express to me that my ministry has made a difference and enabled them to connect with God."

Person, other than Christ, that he most admires:
"The late Msgr. Dominic Barry, my pastor as a kid at Immaculate Conception Parish in Hialeah. He was the epitome of a good pastor an excellent image of what a good shepherd should be."

Thing he most fears:
"Nothing. We're in God's hands. God holds us and sustains us. There's no place we can go outside of God's providence. So I don't know that there's anything I fear."

What he does on his days off:
"I sleep late. I either go to the movies or watch videos. I catch my breath.

 

Hobbies:
Wrestling and rugby. He used to coach wrestling at Columbus High School and play rugby on the weekends but he cannot do that anymore. "It works on a teacher's schedule. It doesn't work on a parish priest's."

Most watched movie:
"A Few Good Men" - he used it in his religion classes at Columbus.


Father Paul Edwards puts his feelings on his bumpersticker.

When he knew he wanted to be a priest:
"I've never consistently wanted to be anything else. Ever since kindergarten, that's all I ever wanted to do and all I ever wanted to be."

Who was most suprised by his vocation:
"Nobody."

Favorite priestly assignment:
Teaching at Columbus High School in Miami, which he did for five years in the mid-1990's.

Greatest disappointment:
"When people get divorced. It's such an awful thing. It's so hurtful to them and to their families. It breaks the community of the church. It's almost never in their best interests. It's the single most painful thing that happens on a day to day basis."

Most difficult aspect of being a priest:
Finding time for a social life with lay people: "The time that most people are available is when I'm not. Even family celebrations such as Christmas or my mom's birthday inevitably have to be tailored around my schedule."

What lay people teach him:
"Not to take myself too seriously."

The Archdiocese of Miami