Decades of priestly ministry honored - Catholic Courier

Decades of priestly ministry honored

60 Years

Father Frederick Bush credits his teacher with pushing him onto the path to the priesthood.

One day after class he had returned to Blessed Sacrament School in Rochester to retrieve an item, and there he found the sister who taught his class trying to talk a classmate into entering St. Andrew’s Seminary. She turned to Father Bush and mustered a commitment out of him to attend.

He said he has never regretted his vocation, even if it did come about by chance.

"I have really enjoyed the priesthood a great deal," he said.

Father Bush grew up in Blessed Sacrament Parish. Along with the parish school and St. Andrew’s Seminary, he also attended public school and St. Bernard’s Seminary. He was ordained June 2, 1951, by Bishop James E. Kearney at Sacred Heart Cathedral.

He served as assistant pastor of St. Patrick’s Church, Elmira (1951-54); assistant pastor of St. John the Evangelist, Greece (1954-61); assistant pastor of Holy Cross, Charlotte (1961-65); spiritual director of St. Bernard’s Seminary (1965-67); assistant pastor of St. Mary, Rochester (1967-71); and pastor of Holy Spirit, Penfield (1971-2001). He retired in 2001, and he lives and assists at St. Mark in Greece.

Father Bush is a life member of Knights of Columbus and also is active with the Kiwanis Club. In addition to helping at St. Mark, he says Mass once a month at Archangel School and for several homeschooling associations.

St. Mark Parish celebrated Father Bush’s jubilee with a surprise party May 1.

Father Sebastian Falcone grew up in St. Anthony of Padua Parish in Rochester and entered the Capuchin seminary in Beacon, N.Y., at age 12.

"It was a pretty early sense of a vocational call, and I felt I needed to respond positively," he said.

Father Falcone went on to study at Immaculate Conception (Bronx, N.Y.) and Our Lady of the Angels (Staunton, Va.) seminaries. He

was ordained May 16, 1951, as a

Capuchin Franciscan priest in Richmond, Va. After many years as a seminary professor with the Capuchins, he joined the faculty of the former St. Bernard’s Seminary in Rochester in 1967. He served as academic dean there from 1972 until it closed in 1981. Subsequently, he was president of St. Bernard’s Institute from 1981-92. For many years he also was a professor of biblical studies at the school, now known as St. Bernard’s School of Theology and Ministry.

Father Falcone was incardinated as a priest of the Diocese of Rochester in 1974. He explained that he had been part of a group of Capuchins associated with the former Immaculate Heart of Mary Seminary in Geneva, but when that group relocated to New Jersey he sought to become a diocesan priest in order to retain his dean’s post at St. Bernard’s Seminary.

These days, Father Falcone’s intellectual leanings remain evident. "I’m constantly reading," he remarked, adding that he’s working on a book detailing women in the New Testament.

The priest, who has taught many of the Diocese of Rochester’s permanent deacons, was honored for his 60th priestly anniversary at the deacons’ convocation April 9.

Father Michael C. Hogan sometimes kidded his brother, the late Bishop Joseph L. Hogan, that he helped get him the job as seventh Bishop of Rochester, since Father Michael Hogan served from 1967-69 as secretary to his brother’s predecessor, Bishop Fulton J. Sheen.

The Hogan brothers grew up in St. Rose Parish in Lima, and Father Michael Hogan attended St. Rose School and Lima High School. He studied at St. Andrew’s and St. Bernard’s seminaries in Rochester and was ordained June 2, 1951, by Bishop James E. Kearney at Sacred Heart Cathedral.

He was assistant pastor at St. Francis deSales, Geneva (1951-53); Sacred Heart Cathedral (1953-60); St. Patrick, Elmira (1960-65); and again at St. Francis deSales (1965-67).

After serving as Bishop Sheen’s secretary, Father Hogan became administrator of St. Paul of the Cross, Honeoye Falls (1969-70), and pastor there from 1970-75. He also served as pastor at St. Mary, Corning (1975-82); St. Catherine of Siena, Ithaca (1982-87); and St. Mary, Honeoye (1987-94).

After retiring in 1994, he moved to St. John of Rochester Parish in Fairport, where he assists with parish visits and celebrates the 6:30 a.m. daily Mass. St. John of Rochester will celebrate Father Hogan’s jubilee after the noon Mass on June 5.

"It’s wonderful to be able to celebrate this number of years for priesthood and to be with such kind people of St. John of Rochester, who have been very supportive and such a nice family," the priest said.

Father Robert MacNamara, a native of Elmira, attended St. Bernard’s Seminary in Rochester and was ordained June 2, 1951, by Bishop James E. Kearney.

Father MacNamara served as an assistant priest at several parishes from 1951 to 1969 including St. Ann in Hornell — where he later served as pastor beginning in 1970 — St. Louis in Pittsford, St. Mary in Rochester, Immaculate Conception in Ithaca and St. Margaret Mary in Irondequoit.

He was diocesan consultor from 1972-77, and became pastor of St. Vincent de Paul in Corning in 1983 and St. John of Rochester in Fairport in 1990.

Father MacNamara served as parochial vicar at St. Mary Our Mother in Horseheads from 1992 until he retired in January 1993. He said he continues to help as needed at several Elmira churches including St. Mary, where he lives, Holy Redeemer, Blessed Sacrament and the Dominican Monastery as well as All Saints in Corning.

"Retirement is a refreshment," he said. "Being invited to share parish sacramental duties locally now reminds me that I am still doing the same things I did 60 years ago. No one plans on that."

Father Richard O’Connell, a native of Clifton Springs, attended St. Andrew’s and St. Bernard’s seminaries, both in Rochester.

He was ordained June 2, 1951, by Bishop James E. Kearney. Father O’Connell went on to serve as assistant priest at St. Francis of Assisi in Rochester from 1951-54, before becoming an assistant priest at St. Rita in Webster. He served for a short time as administrator of St. Dominic in Shortsville at the beginning of 1961 before being assigned for more than two years each as assistant priest at St. James in Irondequoit, Holy Rosary in Rochester and St. Agnes in Avon.

From the late 1960s to the early 1980s, he served as pastor of several churches throughout the diocese: St. Catherine in Addison, St. Mary in Dansville, and Ss. Peter and Paul, St. Cecilia and St. John the Baptist in Elmira. His last assignment as pastor was at St. Joseph in Rush beginning in 1983.

Father O’Connell, who now lives at the Sisters of Mercy Motherhouse in Brighton, retired from active priestly ministry in 1995.

55 Years

Father Walter Cushing grew up in St. Patrick Parish in Corning. He attended St. Patrick’s School and Corning Free Academy before moving on to seminary training at St. Andrew’s and St. Bernard’s seminaries in Rochester.

Father Cushing was ordained June 9, 1956, by Bishop James E. Kearney at Sacred Heart Cathedral in Rochester. His first appointment was as assistant pastor at Holy Cross Parish in Charlotte, where he served until becoming chaplain at the former St. Agnes High School in Rochester in 1962.

While at St. Agnes, Father Cushing also was chaplain at the Monroe County Jail and Penitentiary. He also served for 10 years as assistant director of the diocesan Family Life Bureau, which coordinated marriage-preparation courses and other diocesan events and programs.

In 1979 he became pastor at St. Cecilia Parish in Irondequoit and led the parish until his retirement in 2000. Although officially retired, Father Cushing is still very involved with St. Cecilia.

"I’m still living at St. Cecilia’s and helping out. I’m doing what I can at the parish," he said.

Father Robert Kanka grew up in St. Mary Parish in Geneseo. He studied at the University of Rochester before completing his seminary training at Rochester’s St. Andrew’s and St. Bernard’s seminaries. He was ordained June 9, 1956, by Bishop James E. Kearney at Sacred Heart Cathedral.

He was assistant pastor at St. Anne Parish, Rochester (1956-61), and Holy Family Parish, Rochester (1961-65). In 1965 he became associate editor of the Courier-Journal, one of the former names of the Catholic Courier.

He then served as assistant pastor at St. Michael, Rochester (1968-69); Ss. Peter and Paul, Elmira (1969-72); and St. Cecilia, Elmira (1972). He was pastor at St. Patrick, Mount Morris, from 1972-74; associate pastor at St. Patrick, Seneca Falls, from 1974-78; and associate pastor at St. Mary, Auburn, and St. Patrick, Elmira, for several months in 1978 and 1979.

In 1980 he became pastor of St. James in Trumansburg and remained there until retiring in 1994.

He then lived at St. Ann Parish in Hornell, ministering there, at a local nursing home and St. James Mercy Hospital. He now lives in Rochester and helps out at St. Anne and Our Lady of Lourdes, Brighton.

He has said he first felt called to the priesthood during his senior year at UR, when he began attending daily Mass during Lent.

"It struck me like a thunderbolt. I’ve been going to daily Mass ever since," he said.

50 Years

Father R. Richard Brickler has served the past 28 years as pastor of St. Boniface in Rochester and will retire this June (see story related story here).

Call St. Boniface Church at 585-473-4271 for details on his retirement party.

Father Edward Dillon said some of his most formative experiences took place working in prison ministry and peace activism in urban Philadelphia from 1969-82.

Father Dillon, who grew up in St. Patrick Parish in Macedon, studied at St. John Fisher College in Pittsford, St. Andrew’s and St. Bernard’s seminaries in Rochester, and the North American College in Rome. He was ordained Dec. 18, 1960, in Rome, where he then earned a master’s degree in sacred Scripture and a doctorate in sacred theology at Gregorian University and Pontifical Biblical Institute.

He was assistant pastor at Holy Ghost in Gates and a professor of biblical theology at the Sister of St. Joseph Motherhouse (1961-65); professor of sacred Scripture at St. Bernard’s Seminary (1966-68;) and a professor at John XXIII Seminary in Boston (1968-69).

After working in Philadelphia, he became associate pastor of Rochester’s Holy Family (1982-83) and Our Lady of Perpetual Help (1983-84). In 1984 he became a chaplain and has served Cornell Catholic Community, Strong Memorial Hospital, Monroe County Jail, the Sisters of Mercy Motherhouse and Ontario County Jail.

From 1987-92 he was pastor of Rochester’s Immaculate Conception and then assisted at Our Lady of Lourdes in Elmira. He was pastor of St. Felix in Clifton Springs and St. Francis in Phelps (1993-2003). After retiring, he served as a senior priest at St. Michael Church in Lyons then taught at Mary Mount College in California (2004-07).

In 2007 he became parochial vicar at St. Luke the Evangelist in Livingston County, where he is now an assisting priest.

Father Ron Gaesser, who currently serves in the Dominican Republic, said he knew he wanted to be a priest when as a first-grader he saw all the young priests on the altar during a children’s Mass at Rochester’s Our Lady of Good Counsel Parish.

He went on to study at St. Bernard’s Seminary in Rochester and was ordained June 3, 1961, by Bishop James E. Kearney. He was assistant priest at Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Rochester (1961-67); assistant priest at St. Mary, Auburn (1967-70); and also was chaplain at Auburn Community College (now Cayuga Community College). He then served as chaplain in campus ministry at Auburn Community and Eisenhower colleges (1970-73); administrator of St. Joseph, Cayuga (1973-81); pastor of St. Columba/St. Patrick parishes in Caledonia/Mumford (1981-87); and pastor at St. Catherine of Siena, Ithaca, and All Saints, Lansing, for 16 years beginning in 1987. He retired in 2003.

Father Gaesser added that he cherishes the memories of "the people whose lives I became part of and those who felt I had helped them in forming their relationship with God."

He first decided to pursue missionary work in Latin America when he visited a good friend who worked at the diocesan mission in Mexico in the 1980s, the priest explained.

Father Gaesser now works with El Portal de Belén Foundation in that same province. The not-for-profit organization provides child care and a school for children with learning disabilities.

A jubilee Mass will be held in his honor in the Dominican city of Don Juan May 21. Another Mass will be held June 12 at St. Catherine of Siena with a reception to follow at the Ithaca Country Club.

Father Edward Golden, an Elmira native, was ordained May 27, 1961, by Auxiliary Bishop Lawrence B. Casey. He then served as an assistant priest at St. Stephen, Geneva, and Blessed Sacrament, Rochester.

Following a retreat in Annapolis, Md., he served in La Paz, Bolivia (1968-74), where the diocese had a mission. He lived on the outskirts of the city among the very poorest of the people.

"It was an eye opener," he said. "It was different than anything I had seen before. It was interesting to see our country from all those miles away and what people from another country and culture thought about our capitalistic ways."

He returned to Rochester in 1974 and became director of the diocesan Spanish Apostolate. From 1976-82 he served as associate pastor and later pastor of Rochester’s St. Francis Xavier Church.

From 1982-91 Father Golden served as chaplain at Elmira Correctional Facility, then was pastor of Church of the Assumption in Fairport (1991-2001). He became parochial vicar of Rochester’s City West parishes in 2001, retiring in 2005. He is now chaplain at Cherry Ridge, which is part of the St. Ann’s Community.

"I am grateful to the people … for the privilege of sharing particular years and events of their lives," he remarked. "I am grateful to those with whom I ministered in all these assignments for their admirable example of service and support. I am grateful to Bishops Kearney, Sheen, Hogan and Clark and the Personnel Board that allowed me to serve in these assignments, most of which, beginning with the assignment to Latin America, I volunteered for."

Father George Wiant grew up in Chili and studied at St. Andrew’s and St. Bernard’s seminaries in Rochester. He was ordained June 3, 1961, by Bishop James E. Kearney at Sacred Heart Cathedral.

He was assistant pastor at Sacred Heart, Auburn (1961-63), and Good Shepherd, Henrietta, and St. Joseph, Rush (1963-65), before becoming chaplain at Bishop Kearney High School in Irondequoit in 1965. In 1971 he began working with what later became known as the Office of Human Development. With this agency, which he directed from 1978-79, he helped migrant workers and the rural poor.

Father Wiant was associate pastor of St. Mary, Dansville (1979-80), before becoming pastor of St. Joseph, Weedsport, in 1980, which later joined with St. Patrick, Cato; St. John the Evangelist, Port Byron; and the now-closed St. Michael, Montezuma, to form one of the first clusters in the diocese, the Northern Cayuga Cluster. In 1990 he become pastor at St. Patrick, Victor, where he stayed until his retirement in 2003.

"I had a real varied ministry, and I think that helped me immensely because each one of those (assignments) required specific skills that you had to learn," Father Wiant said. "I think I enjoy especially when people kind of see the truth or understand who the Lord is."

Father Wiant currently assists Our Lady of the Lakes Catholic Community in the Finger Lakes. He will celebrate his jubilee on June 5 at 10 a.m. with a Mass and reception at St. Januarius Church, Naples.

25 Years

Father Peter Anglaaere is a priest of the Archdiocese of Tamale, Ghana, where he was ordained July 25, 1986. He has been stationed in the Diocese of Rochester since 2005, serving as pastor at Our Lady of the Valley (St. Ann, Hornell/St. Mary, Rexville) since 2008. He also has been sacramental minister at a number of parishes in Tompkins County (2005-06) and central Steuben County (2006-08).

In Ghana he has filled a variety of roles including parish pastor/administrator and school principal. He also has served in such positions as secretary to the archbishop; archdiocesan director of justice and peace and religious education; director and coordinator of pastoral year seminarians; and director of the archdiocesan Center for Pastoral Formation.

Father Anglaaere said he has greatly enjoyed his six years in this diocese.

"I’ve been very much welcomed by the diocesan administration and parishes where I’ve worked," he said. "I have a good sense of the solidarity of the church, that I’m a part of one very global church. I’m really grateful to God."

He also commented positively on the people of Our Lady of the Valley, saying they respond strongly to poverty in Steuben County.

"I am amazed at the generosity as they contribute to these causes," he said. "The spirit of Catholicism is really very, very deep, especially with the older generation. It’s a privilege and great pleasure to be here."

Father John Gathenya studied at St. Augustine’s Major Seminary and St. Thomas Aquinas Seminary, both in Kenya, and was ordained Oct. 18, 1986, by Archbishop Rafael S. Ndingi Mwana’a Nzeki. He served at a number of parishes and seminaries in Kenya before coming to the United States in the late 1990s.

During many of his summer breaks from Catholic University in Belgium, where he was a student from 1994-2000, he served at St. Boniface Martyr Parish in Rockville Centre.

He arrived in the Rochester Diocese in 2000, when he became parochial vicar at Our Lady of the Lakes Catholic Community in the Finger Lakes, where he served until 2008. He was incardinated as a priest of the Diocese of Rochester in 2007, and in 2008 he became parochial administrator at Our Lady of the Snow Parish in Weedsport, Port Byron and Cato.

Father Gathenya said he’s passionate about priestly formation as well as parish work, and has a great love and admiration of Mass and the Eucharist.

"I allow the Eucharist to be a foundation or springboard through which we form all other ministries," he said.

He will celebrate his jubilee June 19 at Our Lady of the Snow, and also will celebrate a Mass of thanksgiving in his home parish in Kenya on Sept. 27.

Father James Jaeger is a native of Dubuque, Iowa, who moved at age 2 to the Finger Lakes area. He attended Community College of the Finger Lakes and St. John Fisher College, and went on to attend Immaculate Conception Seminary and Seton Hall University in New Jersey.

Bishop Matthew H. Clark ordained Father Jaeger on May 17, 1986, at Holy Name of Jesus Church in Greece. Father Jaeger served as assisting priest at Holy Name (1986-87), St. Ann, Hornell (1987-91), and St. Margaret Mary, Irondequoit (1991-95).

His first pastorate was at St. Ann, Hornell, from 1995-99. From 1999-2004 he was pastor of Roman Catholic Faith Community of the Canisteo Valley, a cluster comprising St. Ann and St. Ignatius of Loyola in Hornell, St. Mary in Rexville and St. Joachim in Canisteo. From 2004-08 he was pastor of St. Ann, Palmyra/St. Gregory, Marion. Since 2008 he has served as sacramental minister of St. Mary, Bath/St. Gabriel, Hammondsport.

Father Jaeger also has been a military chaplain since 1989, serving the National Guard in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Germany and France. He holds the rank of lieutenant colonel and reserve chaplain with the 107th Air Refueling Wing in Niagara Falls, and also serves as chaplain at the VA Hospital in Canandaigua.

He noted that his parents’ involvement at the Canandaigua hospital spurred him toward a life of priestly ministry.

"My father and mother … took great care and pride in caring for our veterans as part of their job," he remarked. "I naturally grew up with the desire to care for others in the priesthood."

Father Gary Tyman grew up in St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Phelps and later earned a bachelor’s degree from St. Bonaventure University. He attended Cornell University School of Law and practiced law in Phelps and Canandaigua until 1981.

After earning a master’s degree in religious studies from the American College at The Catholic University of Louvain in Belgium and serving as a deacon intern at Church of the Good Shepherd, he was ordained at the Henrietta church April 11, 1986, by Bishop Matthew H. Clark.

He served as priest intern and parochial vicar at St. Ambrose, Rochester (1986-90); Catholic campus minister at the University of Rochester (1990-99); parochial vicar at Church of the Assumption, Fairport (1999-2001); pastor of Holy Rosary and Most Precious Blood, Rochester (2001-05); and pastor of Our Lady of Mercy, Greece (2005-08).

Since 2008, he has been sacramental minister for the clustered parishes of Our Lady of Lourdes, Brighton and St. Anne, Rochester.

Father Tyman also is an active member of Lift Rochester, formerly known as Interfaith Action, and was a cofounding member of the Catholic Gay and Lesbian Family Ministry, a ministry within the Diocese of Rochester. For many years, he also has led a Bible study with the Rochester Chapter of Pax Christi.

He said he has been privileged as a priest to share with people intense and important moments in their lives — both joyful and difficult.

"People will let the priest in, and they will share what’s deep within their hearts," he said.

Father Tyman will celebrate his anniversary with receptions following the 5 p.m. May 14 Mass at Our Lady of Lourdes Church and the 11 a.m. Mass May 15 at St. Anne Church.

Tags: Holy Orders
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