The following diocesan priests are marking 25, 50 and 50-plus years in ministry in 2013.
Retiring in 1995 didn’t stop Father Dominic Mockevicius from continuing to assist for many years at his home parish of St. George Lithuanian in Rochester. He helped the parish celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2008, and in 2010 he helped the community transition from worshipping at St. George to Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Brighton.
Father Mockevicius attended the school of his home parish and Rochester’s St. Andrew’s and St. Bernard’s seminaries. He was ordained June 4, 1948, by Bishop James E. Kearney at Sacred Heart Cathedral.
He served as assistant pastor at the Rochester parishes of: St. Boniface (1948-50), St. George (1950-56), Our Lady of Mt. Carmel (1956-58) and Holy Family (1958-61). He was named administrator of St. Patrick in Cato and St. Thomas the Apostle in Red Creek in February 1961, and in June of that year he was appointed temporary assistant pastor at St. Alphonsus in Auburn.
Father Mockevicius was assistant pastor at St. Mary in Canandaigua (1961-62); chaplain at Craig State School in Sonyea and president of the state chaplain’s organization (1962-83); and pastor of St. Vincent de Paul in Churchville (1983-94), where he helped to plan an addition to the parish.
In 1994, he became coadministrator of St. George with his brother, Father Charles Mockevicius, who died in 2002.
Father Bernard Dollen has traveled to all seven of the world’s continents and visited most major Marian shrines. Surprisingly, however, all of his long-term priestly assignments have kept him in Monroe County. Now retired, he helps out wherever he is needed, mostly at parishes on Monroe County’s west side.
As a child he worshipped at Rochester’s Immaculate Conception Parish and attended Our Lady of Good Counsel and Immaculate Conception schools. He attended St. Andrew’s and St. Bernard’s seminaries in Rochester and was ordained by Bishop James E. Kearney at Sacred Heart Cathedral on June 6, 1953. He was assistant pastor at Holy Rosary, Rochester (1953-57); St. Francis Xavier, Rochester (1957-65); St. Salome, Irondequoit (1965-66); and Holy Ghost, Gates (1966-72).
Father Dollen later was pastor at St. Andrew, Rochester (1972-80); St. John of Rochester, Fairport (1980-90); and St. Christopher, North Chili (1990 until his retirement in 1998). His 10-year stint at St. John of Rochester in particular was a very exciting time, he noted.
“I was there when they built the church and the parish center, and that was a real fun experience,” he recalled.
Father Dollen plans to celebrate his jubilee with a Mass and picnic at St. Christopher in June.
Father Frederick Eisemann officially has been retired since 1990, but that doesn’t mean he’s not busy. He regularly assists at Holy Cross Parish in Charlotte and also is a familiar presence at Grande Ville Senior Living Community in Greece, where he celebrates Mass twice a month. At Grande Ville he also provides religious instruction, hears confessions and holds such special events as an annual St. Joseph’s Table.
Father Eisemann is not surprised that he’s remaining busy in retirement.
“Priests generally do,” he noted.
A Rochester native, Father Eisemann attended Ss. Peter and Paul Parish in Rochester as a child and was enrolled in the parish school. He later attended St. Andrew’s and St. Bernard’s seminaries, also in Rochester. He was ordained by Bishop James E. Kearney on June 6, 1953, at Sacred Heart Cathedral.
He later served as assistant pastor at the following parishes: Our Lady of Mt. Carmel in Rochester (1953-54); St. Alphonsus in Auburn (1954-58); St. Ann in Hornell (1961-65); Ss. Peter and Paul in Rochester (1965-67); and Our Mother of Sorrows in Greece (1967-74). He also served as procurator at St. Bernard’s Seminary (1958-61) and pastor at Holy Family Parish in Rochester (1974-90).
He’s been at Holy Cross since 1990, and the parish will celebrate his jubilee June 22 during the 10 a.m. Mass.
Msgr. Gerard C. Krieg has remained active with parish work at St. Louis Church in Pittsford since retiring from his pastorate at St. Stephen in Geneva in 1999.
He celebrates Mass, leads Scripture classes with parishioners and visits the sick of St. Louis.
He also continues his work in prison ministry — including at Attica Correctional Facility — that he began more than a decade ago. Msgr. Krieg also is spiritual director emeritus of the local Cursillo movement.
Msgr. Krieg grew up in Rochester and attended the school at his home parish of St. Michael. He completed studies at St. Andrew’s and St. Bernard’s seminaries in Rochester as well as the School of Canon Law at Catholic University in Washington, D.C. He was ordained on June 6, 1953, by Bishop James E. Kearney at Sacred Heart Cathedral, and was named a papal chamberlain in 1966.
He served as assistant pastor at St. Joseph in Wayland from 1953-57 and Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Rochester from 1957-58. He did graduate studies at Catholic University from 1958-60, and from 1960-61 served as associate pastor at St. Pius Tenth in Chili while also serving as defender of the bond with the diocesan tribunal. From 1961-66 he was secretary of the tribunal, and from 1966-73 he was its vicar judicial.
In 1973, he became pastor at St. Mary of the Assumption in Scottsville, where he served until 1983. From 1983-99, he was pastor at St. Stephen in Geneva.
While he has no plans to celebrate his jubilee, Msgr. Krieg said he would love to get together with the people from all the parishes he served.
“Every place I’ve been in has turned into Camelot for me,” he said. “One of the joys of 60 years (as a priest) is being able to watch the generations unfold.”
Father Leo J. Mans likewise does not have plans to celebrate his jubilee.
“I’m getting too old for that,” said Father Mans, 85. “I’m just lucky to be alive for it.”
Father Mans, who now lives at the Brethren Home Community near Gettysburg, Pa., retired from the pastorate at St. Ignatius Loyola in Hornell in 1983.
He attended Rochester’s St. Michael parish and school, as well as Aquinas Institute and St. Andrew’s and St. Bernard’s seminaries, all in Rochester. He was ordained by Bishop James E. Kearney on June 6, 1953, at Sacred Heart Cathedral.
He was assistant pastor at St. Ann in Hornell from 1953-57, then served as assistant pastor at several Rochester parishes: St. Ambrose (1957-58); Our Lady of Mt. Carmel (1958); Holy Rosary (1958-60); St. Philip Neri (1960-67); and Our Lady of Perpetual Help (1967-72). He also served as pastor of Good Shepherd in Henrietta (1972-73); St. Anthony of Padua in Rochester (1973); and St. Ignatius Loyola in Hornell (1973-83).
Father Mans was serving at St. Philip Neri during the 1967 fire that claimed the lives of Father George Weinmann, who was attempting to rescue the Blessed Sacrament, and School Sister of Notre Dame Lillian Marie McLaughlin, who followed Father Weinmann into the fire.
How the people came together after the fire still amazes him, he said. “The people were great.”
History is one of Father Robert Smith‘s passions, and he loves reading about historical events. Father Smith’s own rich history is peppered with stints in parish ministry, education, prison ministry and campus ministry.
Father Smith grew up in Rochester, where he first attended Immaculate Conception Parish and school and later joined St. Monica Parish. He attended St. Andrew’s and St. Bernard’s seminaries, also in Rochester, and was ordained by Bishop James E. Kearney on June 6, 1953, at Sacred Heart Cathedral.
He served as assistant pastor at the following parishes: St. Mary in Auburn (1953-56); St. Francis de Sales in Geneva (1956-60); St. John the Evangelist in Spencerport (1967-68); and St. Louis in Pittsford (1969-71). He also was professor of sacred music at St. Andrew’s and St. Bernard’s from 1960-67 and Catholic chaplain at Cornell University from 1968-69.
Father Smith was pastor of St. Januarius in Naples and its mission, St. Mathias in Atlanta (1971-78); St. Margaret Mary in Irondequoit (1978-84); and St. Mary Magdalene in Wolcott (1984-93). In 1985 he also took on the pastorate of St. Thomas the Apostle in Red Creek and St. Jude in Fair Haven.
While at those parishes he also served as senior chaplain at Butler Correctional Facility. He retired from that position in 1998.
Father Charles Curran, a well-known author, scholar and lecturer, is the Elizabeth Scurlock University Professor of Human Values at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas.
He was ordained July 13, 1958, by Bishop Luigi Traglia in the Church of St. Alexis, Rome. He taught moral theology at St. Bernard’s Seminary (1961-65), and served as assistant professor, associate professor and ordinary professor of moral theology at the Catholic University of America (1965-89).
Following many years of dialogue, the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith declared in 1986 that Father Curran was no longer suitable or eligible to teach Catholic theology because of his dissent from certain church teachings related to sexuality. After accepting a series of visiting professorships, Father Curran was appointed to the Scurlock Chair in 1990.
He has authored and edited more than 50 books and served as president of the Catholic Theological Society (1969-70), president of the Society of Christian Ethics (1971-72) and president of the American Theological Society (1989-90), among other offices. He was elected a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2010. In 2011, Georgetown University Press published his book, The Social Mission of the U.S. Catholic Church: A Theological Perspective, and in the fall it will publish The Development of Moral Theology: Five Strands.
Father Curran was raised in St. Ambrose Parish and attended Nazareth Hall and St. Andrew’s and St. Bernard’s seminaries, all in Rochester. He studied sacred theology at Pontifical Gregorian University and Academia Alfonsiana, both in Rome.
A Rochester native, Father William Gordinier grew up in Holy Rosary Parish, attending the parish school and later St. Andrew’s and St. Bernard’s seminaries, all in Rochester. He was ordained May 31, 1958, at Sacred Heart Cathedral by Bishop James E. Kearney.
He served as assisting priest at St. Margaret Mary Parish in Irondequoit (1958-65), Sacred Heart Cathedral (1965-68), St. Mary Parish in Waterloo (1968-70) and Guardian Angels in Henrietta (1970-72). He was appointed copastor of St. Joseph in Penfield (1972-76) and then served as pastor of St. Patrick, Cato; St. Thomas, Red Creek; and St. Jude, Fair Haven (1976-82). He was pastor of St. Mary Geneseo (1982-2001) and temporary parochial administrator at St. Agnes in Avon in 1990. After retiring in 2001, he began providing sacramental assistance at Church of the Assumption in Fairport. He now lives and assists at the Sisters of St. Joseph Motherhouse.
“I’m doing some assisting here and there,” he said.
Helping out where he is needed has been a constant for Father Gordinier, who also assisted with the diocesan tribunal, served as regional coordinator for Livingston County, as a member of the diocesan priests’ council, as former chaplain of the Rochester Fire Department and as former diocesan director of the Junior Legion of Mary.
Father Joseph Sasso has enjoyed the variety of parish communities he has worked with during his 55 years as a priest.
“I enjoyed always being in the parish,” said Father Sasso, who has yet to slow down at age 82 and continues to help with weekend and daily Masses at St. Peter Parish in Le Roy, where he moved in 1998. “You’re close to the people.”
Father Sasso’s education began in the public schools of Rochester, where his family attended St. Francis of Assisi Parish. He graduated from Aquinas High School in 1950 and then went on to St. Andrew’s and St. Bernard’s seminaries. Bishop James E. Kearney ordained him on May 31, 1958, at Sacred Heart Cathedral.
After ordination, he was assigned to St. Anthony Parish in Rochester, where he served as associate pastor from 1958-61. He left St. Anthony in 1961 and then served four years as associate pastor at St. Mary Parish in Canandaigua. In 1965, he began another four-year stint as an associate pastor at Good Shepherd Parish in Henrietta. He for a year served as associate pastor at St. Mary of the Lake Parish in Ontario.
He then took a sabbatical to study at the University of Rochester, earning a master’s degree in education in 1971. That same year, he also spent several months as chaplain at the Sisters of St. Joseph infirmary in Pittsford before taking on another associate pastor position at Rochester’s Holy Rosary Parish.
He said he also went on to receive a master’s degree in divinity from St. Bernard’s Seminary.
Father Sasso served as associate pastor at St. John the Evangelist Parish in Spencerport from 1973-76; administrator at St. Dominic Parish in Shortsville from 1976-77; and associate pastor at St. Patrick Parish in Corning from 1977-78 and at St. Boniface Parish in Rochester for several months in 1978. He went on to become pastor at Holy Angels in Nunda and a mission church, Holy Name Church in Groveland Station.
Father Sasso remained there for 16 years before retiring at the age of 62 in 1994 to care for his ill parents.
“But I never stopped working,” he said, and assisted at St. Anne Church in Rochester for three years.
Father Sasso will celebrate a Mass of Thanksgiving on May 31 in Le Roy and will have a dinner celebration with immediate family.
Born in Rochester, Father Thomas Statt grew up in St. Augustine Parish. He attended Nazareth Hall, Aquinas Institute, and St. Andrew’s and St. Bernard’s seminaries. He also earned a master’s degree in religious studies from Catholic University of America.
Father Statt was ordained May 31, 1958, by Bishop James E. Kearney at Sacred Heart Cathedral. He was associate pastor at St. Mary, Canandaigua (1958-61), and Corpus Christi, Rochester (1961-64). He also served as chaplain of the Newman Community at SUNY Geneseo (1964-76), and assisted at St. Mary Parish in Geneseo.
He served as rector of Becket Hall, the diocesan college preparatory seminary program (1976-81), then in 1981 became pastor of Our Mother of Sorrows Parish in Greece, where he remained until retiring in 2000. He has served as a trustee/board member for St. Bernard’s Institute, Camp Stella Maris, the Nazareth Schools and Monroe County Catholic Schools.
He lives on Honeoye Lake and spends winters in Florida. When he is in town, he assists at Greece’s St. Charles Borromeo Parish and at other locations as needed.
“I couldn’t be happier,” Father Statt said. “I enjoy helping out wherever I can help.”
Father Jim Lawlor said he remains active on the parish scene, serving the cluster of Our Lady of Lourdes/St. Anne in Brighton and Rochester — with one key difference from his days as a pastor.
“I just don’t have to worry about leaky roofs and paying RG&E (utility) bills and things like that,” he remarked.
Father Lawlor attended Catholic schools in Geneva as well as St. Andrew’s and St. Bernard’s seminaries before being ordained June 1, 1963, by Bishop James E. Kearney at Sacred Heart Cathedral. He was assistant pastor of St. Helen, Gates (1963-65); assistant diocesan chancellor (1965-66); a graduate student at Catholic University of America (1966-67); assistant pastor, Guardian Angels, Henrietta (1967-68); Catholic chaplain, University of Rochester (1968-74); and assistant pastor, St. Charles Borromeo, Greece (1974-80).
In 1980 Father Lawlor began a 17-year pastorate at St. Mary in downtown Rochester. In 1998 he became pastor at St. Catherine of Siena in Mendon, where he remained for nine years until his retirement. He then served for one year as parochial administrator at St. Charles in Greece. Currently he resides at Becket Hall, the diocesan pre-theology facility at Brighton’s St. Thomas More Church.
Father Lawlor’s 50th-anniversary reception is set for June 9 at Seton Catholic School following Our Lady of Lourdes’ 10:30 a.m. Mass.
Father Winfried Kellner stays busy celebrating many Masses at Greece’s Our Mother of Sorrows Church — where he lives in retirement — and ministering at Legacy and several other Greece-area health-care facilities, where he encounters many in need.
“I give encouragement to a lot of people who would be lost without that,” he said. “You know that they’re hurting and need somebody to listen to them.”
Father Kellner is a native of Germany and his home parish is St. Columba in Caledonia. He attended St. Andrew’s and St. Bernard’s seminaries and was ordained June 1, 1963, by Bishop James E. Kearney at Sacred Heart Cathedral.
He was assistant pastor at St. Alphonsus, Auburn (1963-68); St. Cecilia, Irondequoit (1968-70); Church of the Assumption, Fairport (1970-73); and St. Boniface, Rochester (1978). He became administrator at St. Boniface in 1978 and its pastor from 1979-83. He then was chaplain at Monroe Community Hospital (1983-96); administrator at Our Lady of Victory, Rochester (1996-2001); and part-time chaplain at Unity Health/sacramental minister at Our Mother of Sorrows (2001-07).
Father Kellner continues to celebrate special Masses in German and remains an avid skier. A 50th-anniversary reception for him will take place in Our Mother of Sorrows’ church hall June 2 after the 11 a.m. Mass.
Father John L. O’Connor grew up in Greece’s Our Mother of Sorrows Parish. He attended St. Andrew’s and St. Bernard’s seminaries in Rochester, and was ordained June 1, 1963, by Bishop James E. Kearney at Sacred Heart Cathedral. He served as assistant pastor at St. Charles Borromeo, Elmira Heights (1963-65); St. Michael, Newark (1965-70); St. Pius Tenth, Chili (1970-75); and Holy Trinity, Webster (1975-80). He then began a 26-year pastorate at Our Lady of Lourdes, Brighton, that ended with his 2006 retirement.
“It’s not only a question of longevity that made my heart expand, but the generosity of the people, their cooperation,” Father O’Connor said of his lengthy stay at Lourdes.
Father O’Connor also served as a U.S. Army Reserve chaplain from 1965-90, retiring as a lieutenant colonel; and organized many clergy conferences on behalf of the Rochester Diocese.
He spends three months annually in Florida, assisting in two parishes in the Diocese of Palm Beach. The rest of the year he resides at his home in Keuka Park and assists at Our Lady of the Lakes Catholic Community.
His 50th-anniversary celebration will take place June 2, with a Mass at 1 p.m. at St. Michael Church, Penn Yan, followed by a public reception in the church hall and a reception for relatives and friends at Belhurst Castle in Geneva.
Father Timothy Brown grew up in St. Pius Tenth Parish in Chili. He attended Monroe Community College and SUNY Brockport before moving on to Immaculate Conception Seminary in South Orange, N.J. He was ordained April 22, 1988, by Bishop Emeritus Matthew H. Clark at Henrietta’s Church of the Good Shepherd.
He served as priest intern at St. Margaret Mary, Irondequoit (1988-91), and parochial vicar at Holy Cross, Charlotte (1991-95), and St. Mary, Canandaigua (1995-96). He also was temporary administrator at Holy Cross (1992) and St. Gabriel, Hammondsport (1993).
Father Brown was secretary to Bishop Clark from 1996-2001, and then became pastor of St. Charles Borromeo, Greece, from 2001-07. Since then he served as parochial vicar at St. Mary, Canandaigua (2008-09), and sacramental minister at St. Pius Tenth, Chili (2009-11), before assuming his present assignment as parochial vicar at Rochester’s Peace of Christ Parish in 2011.
He is an avid pilot and the brother of Father Michael Brown, who serves as a sacramental minister and prison chaplain in Auburn.
“In 25 years of priesthood I’m more convinced than ever of the truth of God’s saving grace,” Father Brown said. “That, as a priest, I may share in the work of God’s grace present in people’s lives is a very humbling awareness.”
A celebration for Father Brown’s 25th jubilee took place April 21 at St. John the Evangelist Church (Humboldt Street) in Rochester.
More milestones noted
EDITOR’S NOTE: Space limitations allow us to highlight 25th, 50th and 50-plus anniversaries, but the following priests also are marking ordination jubilees this year:
Five years: Father Edison Tayag, parochial vicar, Church of the Assumption, Fairport.
Ten years: Father Peter Nkansah, parochial vicar, St. Benedict Parish, Canandaigua/East Bloomfield.
Fifteen years: Father Augustine Chumo, pastor, St. Joseph the Worker Parish, Clyde/Savannah/Lyons; Father Michael Mayer, assisting priest, St. Pius Tenth Parish, Chili; and Father Timothy Niven, pastor, St. Patrick Parish, Victor.
Twenty years: Father Lee Chase, parochial vicar, St. Lawrence Parish, Greece; Father Brian Cool, director, University of Rochester Newman Community; Father Felix Dalimpuo, pastor, St. Michael Parish, Newark; and Father Lance Gonyo, pastor, St. Rita Parish, Webster.
Thirty years: Father Robert Bourcy, pastor, St. Catherine of Siena, Mendon; and Father Patrick Connor, pastor, Ss. Isidore & Maria Torribia Parish, Addison/Bradford/Campbell.
Thirty-five years: Father John DeSocio, pastor, St. Mary Parish, Elmira; Father John Gagnier, pastor, Holy Name of Jesus Parish, Greece; Father Christopher Linsler, pastor, St. Mary Our Mother Parish, Horseheads; Father Leo Reinhardt, parochial vicar, Our Lady of the Lakes Catholic Community in the Finger Lakes; and Father Robert Schrader, pastor, Peace of Christ Parish, Rochester.
Forty years: Father William Darling, pastor, Our Lady of the Snow Parish, Weedsport/Cato/Port Byron; and Father Joseph A. Hart, assisting priest, Our Lady Queen of Peace Parish, Brighton. Father Hart also is marking his 15th year as moderator to the curia at the diocesan Pastoral Center, in Gates.
Forty-five years: Fathers Richard Beligotti, Robert Beligotti and Walter Plominski, who are retiring this year; Father James Schwartz, pastor, St. Joseph Parish, Penfield; and retired Fathers Charles Latus and Kevin Murphy.