Very Reverend Robert Webster
Father Robert Webster was ordained to the priesthood May 31, 1986, in St. James Cathedral, Orlando, by Bishop Thomas Grady.
His first assignment was as parochial vicar at Saint Paul Church in Daytona Beach. In 1989 he became the priest secretary and Master of Ceremonies to Bishop Grady, and also assisted at Saint Margaret Mary Church in Winter Park. Upon Bishop Norbert Dorsey’s appointment as Bishop of Orlando, Father Bob continued as priest secretary and Master of Ceremonies to the Bishop. He was also appointed as the Secretary for Worship and the Director of Liturgy for the Diocese of Orlando. In 1994, while continuing with his diocesan roles, he was appointed pastor of the Basilica of Saint Paul in Daytona Beach, one of the oldest parishes and churches in Florida. Remaining there until 2006, Fr. Bob oversaw significant restoration and renovation (1996) which culminated in the Dedication of the Church and Altar, and on its 125th Anniversary, its designation as a Minor Basilica, the first in the Diocese of Orlando, by Pope Benedict XVI, making it the 60th basilica in the United States and the first one of his pontificate.
After leaving Basilica of St. Paul in 2006, and following a sabbatical in Rome, he returned full time to the diocese as Director of Liturgy. He was appointed pastor of Blessed Sacrament Parish in Clermont in 2008 until 2020. While at Blessed Sacrament Parish, he assisted with the construction of the Santo Toribio Romo Mission and the community of faithful who worship there; worked to create a permanent Youth Center and Ministry Building on the Blessed Sacrament Parish grounds; developed our Catholic Neighborhood Associations, an effort to help network Catholics with each other by establishing smaller Catholic Communities within Blessed Sacrament Parish; and expanded the Ministry to the Sick and Homebound, which experienced a period of very rapid community growth. Under Father Bob’s leadership, the parish provided outreach ministry to nine healthcare facilities and a hospital.
He also established the parish’s Outward Sign Ministry, which assists families and individuals in catastrophic need. When asked why he chose the name of Outward Sign for this ministry, he simply said, “The very definition of a sacrament is ‘an outward sign instituted by Christ to give grace’”.
Father Barry Dowd
Father Barry Dowd was born in New York City and attended elementary and secondary schools in New Jersey. He completed undergraduate and theological studies at Holy Apostles College in Connecticut and at Mount St. Mary’s Seminary in Maryland. Heading to the Northeast, Father Dowd was Ordained for the Diocese of Burlington, VT on June 4, 1982. His first priestly assignment was at St. Anthony Parish in Bethel, VT. He also served at St. Monica in Barre, VT., St. Cecilia in Fairfield, VT and St. Patrick also in Fairfield.
In 1995, Father Dowd transferred to the Diocese of Orlando and assumed his current duties as an associate at the Basilica of the National Shrine of Mary, Queen of the Universe. Celebrating his 25th jubilee of priesthood in 2007 Father Dowd said, “It’s been an exhilarating quarter of a century!”
Father Julian Bednarz, SDS
Father Julian Bednarz, SDS, was born in Wieciorka, a small village in the southern part of Poland in 1951. Growing up he listened to stories of his parents and grandparents who experienced much hardship during both World Wars. He himself recalls witnessing the civil unrest and night curfews in Poland. Praying for peace and going on pilgrimage with his family became a frequent experience. Among the many places he visited were the Shrine of Our Lady of Czestochowa, and travels to visit a variety of Marian images: Our Lady of Kalwaria, Our Lady of Ludzmierz, Our Lady of Myslenice, Our Lady of Snow and a copy of the image of Our Lady of Dawn.
Father has said, “In each of these sanctuaries I prayed with the pilgrims for peace in my homeland and in the world. In addition, the grace of my priestly vocation was undoubtedly obtained for me by the prayers of my parents, grandmothers, and many kind-hearted people in from of the Marian images in Wieciorka and Tokarnia.”
He was called to become a Salvatorian of the Society of the Divine Saviour, to which he was ordained in 1977. The Salvatorians are an international missionary order bringing people a greater knowledge and love of Jesus Christ. He served parishes and conducted academic work at the Theological Academy in Warsaw, while serving part-time as a chaplain of the community of sisters in a little town nearby. During his vacation, he often substituted in parishes in Germany and France. He continued as a lecturer in the Salvatorian Institute of Philosophy and Theology in Morogoro, Tanzania, later serving as rector of his order’s seminary in Tanzania, Jordan University College, from 1999-2005.
Father Bednarz arrived in Orlando on September 17, 2015 and was appointed parochial vicar of the Basilica of the National Shrine of Mary, Queen of the Universe. His favorite biblical text is Luke 5:28: “And leaving everything behind, he got up and followed him.” In response to Jesus’ call “Follow me!”, Levi “left everything.” He feels it represents the nature and story of his life as a missionary. “To leave everything, get up and follow Him has happened not just once,” he notes, but every time he is sent on a new assignment. He said it inspires him “to a certain personal form of practice of the spirit of religious poverty.”