Longtime Auburn pastor to retire - Catholic Courier
Father Lou Vasile, longtime pastor at Auburn's St. Alphonsus Church, will retire at the end of June. Father Lou Vasile, longtime pastor at Auburn's St. Alphonsus Church, will retire at the end of June.

Longtime Auburn pastor to retire

A seminarian’s path to ordination includes years of intensive study and formation, yet a priest ultimately learns more from his post-ordination interactions than he ever did from his seminary textbooks, according to Father Louis Vasile, pastor of St. Alphonsus Parish in Auburn.

"You think education prepares you, but it’s really the people you’re relating to who provide the example of what the Gospel is all about. Their faith has inspired me, as well as their hope," noted Father Vasile, who will retire from his pastorate June 30.

Even as a child, Father Vasile was influenced by faith-filled individuals in his life, especially his family members and the priests and women religious he met at his home parish of St. Francis of Assisi in Auburn. By the time he was 7 years old, Father Vasile knew he wanted to become a priest. After graduating from St. Francis of Assisi School and Mount Carmel High School, also in Auburn, he attended St. Andrew’s and St. Bernard’s seminaries in Rochester. Bishop Joseph L. Hogan ordained him on April 8, 1972, at St. Francis of Assisi Parish.

After ordination, Father Vasile served as assistant pastor at St. Philip Neri, Rochester (1972-74); St. Christopher, North Chili (1974-75); St. Patrick, Corning (1975-77); and St. Lawrence, Greece (1977-82). He then served for four years as priest secretary to Bishop Matthew H. Clark, spending those years coordinating the bishop’s schedule and traveling with him to various parishes throughout the Diocese of Rochester’s 12 counties for confirmations and other liturgical celebrations.

In 1986, Father Vasile was appointed pastor of the clustered parishes of St. Anne in Palmyra and St. Gregory in Marion, which were two of the first clustered parishes in the diocese. He left those parishes in 1992 and spent a year serving other parishes in need of temporary leadership before becoming pastor of Church of the Resurrection in Fairport in 1993. He remained there until 1998, when he became pastor at St. Alphonsus.

Father Vasile also has served as president of Auburn’s St. Joseph Cemetery Board of Directors since 2000, on the diocesan school board, and the boards off Catholic Charities of the Finger Lakes and Mercy Health and Rehabilitation Center in Auburn.

He will celebrate his retirement simply with a coffee hour after the noon Mass at St. Alphonsus on June 14. After retirement he plans to assist at parishes wherever and whenever he is needed.

He said he is grateful for the many rich experiences he’s had in the 43 years since his ordination.

"I think I’m the luckiest guy in the world, having been called by God to serve and having been given a lesson in life by the people I’ve served," Father Vasile said. "It’s been a great experience and a great ride; there’s no doubt about it."

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