Honoring notable ministers' service - Catholic Courier
Matthew H. Clark Matthew H. Clark

Honoring notable ministers’ service

On Sunday, I had the pleasure of traveling to Steuben County to
celebrate Eucharist with two of our lively parish communities.

The first stop was at St. Mary’s in Bath for the 9 a.m. Mass and the
formal installation of Deacon Ray Defendorf as pastoral administrator
of that parish community.

I have known Ray for some time and had the honor of ordaining him to
the diaconate. He is a generous, gifted and enthusiastic minister of
the Gospel. I am sure Ray has his down moments as we all do, but I
think of him as one of the most upbeat individuals I know. And, I want
to tell you that he seemed to overflow with happiness to be entrusted
with the daily pastoral care of the community.

Part of Ray’s happiness may be his recognition that St. Mary’s is a
well-organized parish whose members are gifted and very generous in
sharing their talents for the good of the community and the furtherance
of their mission.

And, I know that at the heart of Ray’s confidence and positive
spirit is his beloved spouse, Pat. I have known Pat for many years, and
remember with particular gratitude her service to our Diocesan Pastoral
Council and to our Synod process.

I am grateful to Ray, Pat and the people of St. Mary’s for a
wonderful celebration and wish them every blessing as they move forward
together.

From the 9 a.m. Mass at Bath and our newest pastoral administrator,
I went to the 11 a.m. Mass at St. Gabriel’s in Hammondsport and our
longest-tenured pastoral administrator.

I refer to Sister Ann Michelle McGill, SSJ, who took on her current
responsibilities in 1993, and has served with distinction ever since.
During a coffee hour after Mass, it brought me great joy to hear the
people share their memories of this past decade and to hear them speak
with genuine respect and affection for Sister McGill’s presence and
ministry among them.

One of the special moments of the morning was to be presented with
grapes from a vine the parishioners had planted on the parish grounds
on the occasion of her installation 10 years ago.

I can’t leave this subject without a word of thanks to Father Pius
Pathmarajah, who serves as sacramental minister to both St. Mary’s and
St. Gabriel’s, and who assists in the pastoral care at the Veterans
Administration Hospital in Bath. Pius came to us from Sri Lanka, and
recently has become a permanent member of our presbyterate.

Today, Monday, was one of those back-to-the-office days. I was
engaged in meetings for the whole workday except for the funeral
liturgy of Msgr. Richard M. Quinn, a beloved priest of our diocese.
When I came to the diocese, Monsignor Quinn was pastor of Our Lady of
Perpetual Help in Rochester. Earlier he spent many years teaching at
St. Andrew’s Seminary and was also the rector of the seminary. That
Dick Quinn earned the affection and respect of his students was evident
in the large number of our priests who attended today’s liturgy and the
prayer service on Sunday evening. Our departed friend would have been
90 on his next birthday.

The rest of the week will be busy enough. Some highlights: tomorrow
there will be a luncheon with leaders from parishes participating in
the third round of Partners in Faith. On Wednesday we will have
a meeting of the Campaign Cabinet for Partners in Faith at the
new St. Bernard’s School of Theology and Ministry. This session will be
followed by a press conference.

I’ll be spending Thursday and Friday in Douglaston, New York ‚Äì near
LaGuardia Airport – at a meeting with the bishops of the seven other
dioceses of New York state. We will spend part of that meeting in
conversation with representative priests from those same dioceses.

Peace to all.

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