A former Rochester-area man, Richard Cilano, was ordained a transitional deacon for the Diocese of Buffalo Feb. 4 by Bishop Edward U. Kmiec. He will be ordained a priest Nov. 19 at St. Joseph’s Cathedral in Buffalo.
Deacon Cilano’s path to priestly ordination has been long and winding. He said he had felt called to priesthood as a teenager and attended St. Andrew’s and St. Bernard’s seminaries in Rochester. But he left St. Bernard’s and his priestly studies after earning a bachelor’s degree in philosophy.
“At that time God was calling me in a different direction,” Deacon Cilano explained.
Instead of completing his seminary studies, he became a high-school English teacher, married and had four children. Several months after his wife, Mary Agnes, passed away in October 1999, Deacon Cilano once again felt called to the priesthood, began applying in several dioceses and eventually was accepted in the Buffalo program.
In the fall of 2001, Deacon Cilano entered Christ the King Seminary in preparation to become a priest in the Buffalo Diocese; he graduated on May 13, 2005. At the end of May, he became deacon at Prince of Peace Parish in Niagara Falls.
Deacon Cilano, whose home parish was St. Patrick’s, Victor, said his roles as a husband and father may make some people feel more comfortable coming to him for priestly advice.
“They may feel more prone to being understood by someone who has the experience,” he said.
Deacon Cilano said he feels blessed to have been given the opportunity to be a husband and father, “and now I’m doubly blessed with the call to priesthood and chance to serve the church in a new way.”