Father George Wiant, a parish priest for more than half a century, died June 28, 2015. He was 79 years old.
Father Wiant was born Oct. 11, 1935, in Rochester and grew up in St. Pius Tenth Parish in Chili. He studied at the former St. Andrew’s and St. Bernard’s seminaries in Rochester and was ordained by Bishop James E. Kearney on June 3, 1961, at Sacred Heart Cathedral.
Father R. Richard Brickler was a classmate of Father Wiant’s at St. Bernard’s. While their ministries took them in different directions, the two kept in touch and would see each other from time to time.
"He was always a pleasant man, " Father Brickler recalled. "He was very organized and very practical. He was a very good man."
During his many years of ministry, Father Wiant served as assistant pastor at Sacred Heart, Auburn, from 1961-63, and Good Shepherd, Henrietta, and St. Joseph, Rush, from 1963-65. He became 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 always interesting in serving the poor and was very generous, Father Brickler noted.
From 1979-80, Father Wiant was associate pastor of St. Mary, Dansville. He became 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, Father Wiant became pastor of St. Patrick in Victor, where he stayed until his retirement in 2003. After his retirement, he assisted at Our Lady of the Lakes Catholic Community in the Finger Lakes.
He is survived by his brother, Mark, as well as several nieces, nephews, grandnieces and grandnephews.
Bishop Emeritus Matthew H. Clark celebrated Father Wiant’s funeral Mass July 3, 2015, at St. Patrick Church, with burial in the parish cemetery.