Father William Amann; founded Hamlin parish - Catholic Courier

Father William Amann; founded Hamlin parish

Father William Amann, a diocesan priest for 69 years and the founding pastor of Hamlin’s St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish, died Aug. 3, 2023, at Rochester General Hospital. He was 95 years old.

Father Amann was a native of Rochester’s St. Boniface Parish. He attended Stella Niagara Cadet School in Lewiston, near Niagara Falls; then Rochester’s Aquinas Institute and St. Andrew’s Seminary before earning a philosophy degree from Theological College at Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. After returning to Rochester, he studied at St. Bernard’s Seminary and was ordained by Bishop James E. Kearney on June 5, 1954, at Sacred Heart Cathedral.

He served as assistant pastor at St. Andrew, Rochester (1954-58), and Holy Trinity, Webster (1958-62), before becoming the first chaplain of Bishop Kearney High School (1962-65). He went on to serve as assistant pastor (1965-74), copastor (1974-78) and pastor (1978-81) of Our Lady of Mercy in Greece. He then was administrator at St. Cecilia in Elmira for several months before taking a sabbatical in Rome to study changes in the church after the Second Vatican Council.

In 1982, Father Amann became the inaugural pastor at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton a position in which he remained for 16 years.

“He was always so involved in the parish from the very beginning,” said Sharon Campbell, business manager at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, who had known Father Amann since 1985. She noted that the parish still has pictures of Father Amann when the church was being built “in cut-off shorts, installing stones and mortar in the walls.”

Campbell added that Father Amann was very welcoming to parish children, noting that they’d wait at the end of their pews as Mass ended so Father Amann could tap them on the head with a hymnal as he processed out.

“His commitment to serving people was inclusive, even to those of us who strayed from practicing our Christian faith. If you envision Jesus with open arms, you can envision Father Bill in the same manner. He was a people’s pastor and individual,” said Deacon Christopher Fisher, parish deacon at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton.

Deacon Fisher added that Father Amann inspired him and his wife, Lynn, to practice their Catholic faith “with an understanding and knowledge we were missing before he entered our life” and for him to pursue the permanent diaconate; he was ordained in 1993.

In 1990, Father Amann took another sabbatical, this time to Africa to study enculturation and liberation theology. After attaining senior-priest status in 1998, he lived and ministered at Our Lady of Lourdes, Brighton (1998-2001); St. Thomas More, Brighton (2001-09); and St. Joseph, Penfield (2009-18). Since 2018, he had resided at the Sisters of St. Joseph Motherhouse in Pittsford.

Father Amann’s niece, Teri Hauck, and nephew, Christopher Amann, noted that their uncle enjoyed a variety of outdoor activities, including skiing; bicycling; canoeing; backpacking around Europe, including Russia; parachuting; sailplaning; camping; and flying in World War II airplanes. He also was an avid traveler who visited all seven continents.

“Father Amann loved the world God created,” Hauck remarked. In addition, she noted, her uncle was an avid reader and also enjoyed attending the Stratford theater festival in Ontario, Canada.

Along with his nephew and niece, Father Amann is survived by many other family members and friends.

Father Amann will lie in state at St. Joseph Church, 43 Gebhardt Road, Penfield, on Thursday, Aug. 10, beginning at 5:30 p.m. followed by Vespers at 7 p.m. On Friday, Aug. 11, he will lie in state beginning at 10 a.m., with his funeral Mass to take place at 11 a.m. The Mass will be livestreamed at https://holyspirit-saintjoseph.org/online-ministries. Interment will be at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery.

Memorial donations may be made to the Office of Mission Advancement, c/o Dawn Gruba, Sisters of St. Joseph Motherhouse, 150 French Road, Rochester, NY 14618.

Tags: Monroe County West, Priests
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