A few years later he was sent to Rome to study and obtain an advanced degree.
He came back in 2002 and was named the pastor at St. Patrick. About the same time, he also started forming a permanent deacon program in Lafayette.
It was like having two jobs, he said. It quickly became difficult to manage everything.
“When you have 1,000 families, it’s hard,” he said. “When you know people and love people, they come to you. They need you. I did not have time to meet everyone’s needs.”
So, in 2003, he worked with the parish council and came up with the idea to create a Perpetual Adoration Chapel on the church campus. Someone is in there every hour of every day and night now praying and adoring Jesus, he said. They pray for themselves, for their families, for their communities.
“They start out taking their needs to Jesus,” he said.
If they still felt they needed the help of a person, then they came to Dudzinski. The idea is parishioners will rely on Jesus more and develop a personal relationship with him, Dudzinski said.
For at least some people, it’s working. The church provides testimonies on its website.
One said, “The Adoration Chapel has been a spiritual life changer for me. I’ve had a specific hour since we were able to sign up, however, Jesus sees me more often than that in our beautiful Chapel! I’ve gone into the chapel distraught, prayed for an hour or whatever amount of time I need and have come out of there a different person with a different attitude. Nothing had changed, but my outlook was completely different. … I can’t imagine my life without our Adoration Chapel!”
That chapel would prove invaluable when Dudzinski added another 1,300 people to his flock.