Father Edward Golden always knew he wanted to be a priest.
"I felt it was a noble vocation, and I was called to it," he said. He’d felt the call to the priesthood for as long as he could remember, although he didn’t make a conscious decision to become a priest until high school.
Father Golden, 70, will retire in June, but said he plans to stay active in the diocese.
He attended St. Mary’s parish and school in Elmira and St. Andrew’s and St. Bernard’s seminaries in Rochester. Along with a handful of his classmates who were also from the Southern Tier, he was ordained by Bishop Lawrence B. Casey on May 27, 1961, at St. Mary’s Parish in Corning.
Father Golden’s first assignment was at St. Stephen’s Parish in Geneva, where he served as assistant pastor until 1964, when he moved to the same position at Blessed Sacrament Parish in Rochester. He remained at Blessed Sacrament for the next four years — years he recalled as some of the most exciting and challenging of his priesthood.
His stint there took place during the last segment and immediate aftermath of the Second Vatican Council, which took place from 1962-65. This was an exciting time because "the church was just finishing the council and going into new things," he said.
After leaving Blessed Sacrament in 1968, Father Golden traveled to La Paz, Bolivia, where he and several other diocesan priests ran San Jose Obrero Parish. While in Bolivia, he was faced with the challenges of learning a new language and looking at the United States from a different point of view, he said.
After returning to the United States in 1974, Father Golden became codirector of the diocesan Spanish Apostolate. Working with the apostolate staff and a group of women religious from Mexico, he helped coordinate ministry to Hispanics in the City of Rochester, as well as the diocesan migrant-worker population.
In 1976 Father Golden was appointed to his first pastorate at Rochester’s St. Francis Xavier Parish, where he served until he became chaplain of Elmira Correctional Facility in 1983. In 1991 he became pastor of Church of the Assumption in Fairport, where he served for 10 years.
Father Golden left the Fairport parish in 2001, assuming his current position as parochial vicar for City West Parishes, a Rochester planning group that comprises Holy Apostles, Holy Family and St. Anthony of Padua parishes.
After retiring in June, Father Golden will continue to live at his Canandaigua residence and volunteer at area parishes.