When Father John J. Glogowski was director of pastoral-care services from 1979-92 at St. Ann’s Home in Rochester, he said he asked an elderly resident what she wanted for her birthday.
"She said, ‘I don’t want anything unless I can put it in my mouth or my bank account,’" he recalled with a chuckle.
The priest said he relished working with older people.
"It was like being in a place with 600 grandmas and grandpas," he said. "They were wonderful, wonderful people."
Father Glogowski, 70, will have many such fond memories when he retires June 28 from his pastorate at St. Leo’s Church in Hilton, which he has held since 1993. The parish plans to honor the priest at a dinner at 5 p.m. on Sunday, May 22, at the Italian American Community Center in Gates.
Following retirement, the priest plans to live in his private residence in Lyndonville, which is 40 miles west of Hilton. He added that he plans to spend at least a year on "sabbatical," reading and traveling, and that he hopes to visit his ancestral homeland of Eastern Europe, adding that his mother was from Germany and his father was from Poland.
Father Glogowski grew up attending St. Monica’s School in Rochester and St. Theodore’s in Gates. He went to St. Andrew’s and St. Bernard’s seminaries, and was ordained at Rochester’s Sacred Heart Cathedral on June 2, 1962, by Bishop James E. Kearney.
Following ordination, Father Glogowski served as assistant pastor at the following parishes: St. John the Evangelist, Rochester, from 1962-65; Holy Family, Auburn, 1965-73; and Immaculate Conception, Ithaca, 1973-79.
From 1992-93, he served for six months as assistant pastor at the Corning-Painted Post Roman Catholic Community, and also spent six months on sabbatical in Berkeley, Calif.
Serving as a priest to parish communities has been an enriching experience, Father Glogowski noted.
"There’s a deep enjoyment that comes even from being tired and exhausted," he said of his work. "At the end of the day, there’s a joy knowing that you’ve done important things … to see people responding to my efforts to get people to know who Christ is and who he wants them to be."
During his career as a priest, Father Glogowski has served as spiritual adviser/chaplain to Beginning Experience of Rochester, a program for widowed, divorced and separated persons. He’s also served as a fire-department chaplain in Auburn, Ithaca and Hilton and as a police-department chaplain in Auburn and Irondequoit. The priest has also served as an acting chaplain for the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary.
Chaplaincy work has seen Father Glogowski give spiritual aid and comfort to a grieving widow as well as others affected by the loss of those who work to protect their communities. The priest said it’s been important for him to help such people as firefighters who’d lost a comrade battling a fire.
"It was important work to be with the men, to answer questions," he said.