Father Weis to stay busy - Catholic Courier

Father Weis to stay busy

If Roman collars were blue instead of white, they’d be a perfect fit on Father Eugene R. Weis.

The 68-year-old priest has always reveled in rolling up his sleeves and jumping into the action, whether it be priestly ministry, playing softball or fighting fires.

“My feeling is, priests shouldn’t be up on pedestals. They should be getting their hands dirty, just like the rest of the community,” explained Father Weis, who will retire June 29 from his six-year pastorate at St. Mary’s Parish in Waterloo.

Father Weis grew up in Rochester’s Blessed Sacrament Parish. He attended Blessed Sacrament School, St. Andrew’s Seminary and St. Bernard’s Seminary before being ordained June 2,1962, by Bishop James E. Kearney at Sacred Heart Cathedral. He then served as assistant at Our Mother of Sorrows, Greece (1962-68); Holy Apostles, Rochester (1968-72); St. Salome’s, Irondequoit (1972-74); and St. John the Evangelist, Greece (1974-77).

His first pastorate was at St. John the Evangelist, Newark Valley/St. Francis of Assisi, Catatonk (1977-82). He was then pastor at St. Anne’s, Palmyra (1982-86); St. Casimir’s, Elmira (1987-94); and St. Patrick’s, Owego (1994-97) before coming to Waterloo in 1998.

Hands-on ministry has been a huge priority for Father Weis. He has served as spiritual leader for more than 20 Cursillo weekends and nearly 100 Worldwide Marriage Encounter weekends.

“Whatever we can do to bolster and strengthen family life, that’s been a big motivator for me,” he said of his Marriage Encounter ministry.

Among his other activities, Father Weis played in adult softball leagues until he was 60 and even drove a large school bus while serving at Our Mother of Sorrows. “Excitement excites me,” he chuckled.

This is especially true with firefighting; Father Weis estimates that he has answered 1,000 calls. “It’s helped keep my sanity. The adrenaline goes off with the alarm, and you’ve come back helping the community,” said Father Weis, who still drives a truck for the Waterloo Fire Department.

A retirement dinner for the St. Mary’s pastor will take place Sunday afternoon, June 13, at the Waterloo Holiday Inn. Reservations can be made by calling St. Mary’s at 315/539-2944. There will also be a reception at the St. Mary’s School gymnasium Saturday, June 19, from 6 to 8 p.m. (no reservation or cost required).

“Waterloo has been good to me. Leaving here is not what I’m looking forward to, it’s being a priest without being an administrator,” Father Weis said.

Father Weis plans to spend his summers living at St. Casimir’s Church in Elmira, not far from Seneca Lake where he will spend time on his boat “The Otherweis.” The rest of the year he will reside at St. Timothy’s Parish in The Villages, a sprawling retirement community located between Orlando and Ocala, Fla.

Though Father Weis will retire from firefighting – “it’s getting harder and harder to jump into the trucks,” he remarked – he will provide sacramental assistance in the Southern Tier as well as in Florida while also staying involved in Marriage Encounter. These plans will allow him to continue what, thus far, has been a very satisfying vocation.

“There’s no other life I would have had. I never felt called to any other life,” Father Weis said. “I’ve never been a celebrity seeker or anything like that, just a humble parish priest.”

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