Second by second, day by day, and year by year time goes by, sometimes slowly and sometimes too quickly.
Many seconds, days and years have passed since the Rev. Paul Cervinski and three other men were ordained priests on May 20, 1961, by Bishop Hilary B. Hacker in the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit in Bismarck.
Cervinski's first years as a priest were spent at St. Leo's Church in Minot. He then served as pastor of Immaculate Conception Church in Max and its mission church in Butte. He was assigned to the Church of the Little Flower in 1974 and then taught one more year at Bishop Ryan.
The Rev. Paul Cervinski served Minot’s Church of the Little Flower from 1974 until he retired in 2005.
While Cervinski was pastor of the churches in Max and Butte he drove to Minot to teach Scripture/religion at Bishop Ryan High School.
"Those were great years," Cervinksi said with a smile. "They really were."
Cervinski was ordained at the end of an era pre-Vatican II before all the changes came into the church. Mass was still being said in Latin, and the priest faced the wall during Mass. People didn't understand all the Latin, but followed along with their missals and rosaries.
The Rev. Paul Cervinski, New Town, formerly of Minot, will celebrate the 50th anniversary of his ordination June 19 in Little Flower Church, 801 W. University Ave., Minot. Cervinski served as pastor of Little Flower Church from 1974 to 2005, when he retired.
Mass will be followed by a ham dinner in the Little Flower School Gymnasium.
Reservations for the dinner, by calling 838-1520, are requested by Monday.
"Vatican II was an exciting time, not just for the priests but for the lay people, too," Cervinski said.
Vatican II allowed the church to acknowledge the priesthood of the people and the people were given the opportunity to do more than just say their prayers.
When liturgy is celebrated a priest can now look into people's faces and recognize the goodness in their eyes and their smiles.
The thought of becoming a priest entertained Cervinski when he was in about the fourth grade. The thought went in and out of his mind, "but it was always in the back of my head," he said.
"There were times when I said, 'No, I'm not going to do this,' but I always came back to do it anyway so I feel very strongly that it was God's call," Cervinski said.
Being a priest brings with it some difficulties, Cervinksi said. War and poverty were probably the top issues, even though they had nothing to really do with the priesthood, they had to do with being a human being trying to grow and mature.
"Being a human being is not an easy journey," he said.
There are also times of happiness and joy.
"The good part of being a priest is being able to see God's grace in people's faces and eyes. They are the window to the soul. There's so much good that's out there. Sometimes in our spiritual journey we are so worried about getting to heaven we get lost on the path, we get caught up in the system but eventually mercy and forgiveness are found," he added.
Cervinski retired in 2005 after 31 years of service to the parishioners of the Church of the Little Flower.
"Retirement has allowed me to sort out my life. I think our faith calls us to a new life. The new life isn't about going to heaven; it's about finding that new life here on earth, which we call God's kingdom," Cervinski said.
"Sometimes as a priest I believed God sent me to serve these people, but as I got older God revealed to me that he sent these grace-filled people to lead me."