Deacon William Lenhart; served in Henrietta, Hilton parishes - Catholic Courier

Deacon William Lenhart; served in Henrietta, Hilton parishes

Deacon William C. Lenhart, who served parishes in Henrietta and Hilton as a permanent deacon in the Diocese of Rochester, died June 8, 2024, at the Hildebrandt Hospice Care Center in Greece following a long illness. He was 70 years old.

Deacon Lenhart was born in Virginia and was a graduate of SUNY Canton and Rochester Institute of Technology. He was ordained a deacon May 31, 2003, by Bishop Matthew H. Clark at Sacred Heart Cathedral. He was a longtime parishioner of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton in Hamlin, where he and his late wife, Kathie, were involved in several capacities. In his full-time work, Deacon Lenhart was a research scientist for Eastman Kodak Co.

Deacon Christopher Fisher, who also hails from St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, noted that Deacon Lenhart joined the parish shortly after it was founded in 1982. He recalled that in the late 1980s, Deacon Lenhart relieved him as usher coordinator and later became chair of the liturgy committee. In addition, Deacon Lenhart spent considerable time helping build the parish’s new church, on which construction began in 1987.

“During these early years, Bill would not only grow in the practice of his faith, he also became known as someone who could be confided in when dealing with any issues that came a person’s way. Bill and I would often share our faith experiences, and also share in our family life, since our children were growing up and going to school together,” noted Deacon Fisher, who was ordained a deacon in 1993 and currently serves at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton.

“This all would lead to another phase of living out his faith,” Deacon Fisher added, referring to Deacon Lenhart’s entry into the diocesan deacon-formation program.

In his diaconal ministry, Deacon Lenhart served from 2003-06 at Henrietta’s Church of the Good Shepherd, then from 2006-12 at St. Leo in Hilton. He was granted a leave of absence in 2012 and moved to senior status in 2016.

“Deacon Bill was a wonderful preacher. He really inspired us,” remarked Father Joseph Catanise, pastor of St. Leo, adding, “He did much in his ministry to help people see their unique gifts that could be given to the church and that they could be good stewards sharing their time, talent and treasure.” 

Father Catanise also noted that Deacon Lenhart and his wife both became involved in Cursillo during their time at St. Leo: “He said it was one of the high spiritual points of his life.” 

“He was one of the most gentle souls I ever met,” said Deacon Dan Pavlina, a 2003 classmate who serves at Parish of the Holy Family in Gates. “You could see it in his sense of service. He was the quiet, behind-the-scenes type where if he could stay out of the limelight, he would. Yet he was very effective in his ministry.”

Deacon Fisher added that Deacon Lenhart “was an example of one who grew in faith and did not shy away from sharing that faith with others. And that set the example for others to follow if they wanted an example today of what Jesus asked of all of us.”

Deacon Lenhart is survived by his daughter, Karen (James) Demchock; grandchildren, Kaylyn, Kyle, Marissa Elizabeth and Madeline Rose; brother, John (Lynne) Lenhart; sisters, Bonnie Hannon and Annette Lenhart; sister-in-law, Carol (Jim) Russell; and many nieces, nephews and friends. 

Calling hours for Deacon Lenhart will be June 11, 2024, from 4 to 8 p.m. at St. Leo Church, 110 Old Hojack Lane, Hilton. His funeral Mass will take place June 12, 2024, at 10 a.m., also at St. Leo Church, with Father Catanise serving as celebrant.

Mass cards and expressions of sympathy may be sent to Deacon Lenhart’s daughter Karen Demchock at 109 Little Tree Lane, Hilton, NY 14468.

Tags: Deacons
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