Priests mark milestones in their ministries - Catholic Courier

Priests mark milestones in their ministries

65 Years
 
Father John Walsh enjoys the fact that his role as founding pastor of Webster’s St. Paul Parish coincided with Vatican II. “Many people were saying, ‘We’re used to doing it the old way’ — but we (at St. Paul) didn’t have an old way,” he pointed out. “So, it was a marvelous time to start.” He grew up in Geneva’s St. Stephen Parish, attending its school as well as and DeSales High School and St. Andrew’s and St. Bernard’s seminaries in Rochester. He was ordained June 3, 1944, by Bishop James E. Kearney at Sacred Heart Cathedral. He logged graduate studies at Catholic University of America and the universities of Ottawa, Villanova and Marquette; Boston College; the Pontifical Gregorian University; and the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas. He was assistant pastor at Immaculate Conception, Ithaca (1944-50); Holy Cross, Charlotte (1950-51); St. Margaret Mary, Irondequoit (1951-54); St. Mary, Elmira (1954-59); St. Joseph, Penfield (1959-60); and St. Mary, Auburn (1960-67). He founded campus-ministry programs and was chaplain at Ithaca College (1944-50) and Elmira College (1955-59), and was chaplain at Auburn Community College (1960-67). He was pastor of St. Paul from 1967 until his retirement in 1988. He resided at Irondequoit’s St. Margaret Mary until 1998, and now lives and assists at Brighton’s Our Lady Queen of Peace.
 
60 Years
 
Father James Doyle has spent exactly half of his 60-year vocation as pastor of St. Rose Parish in Lima. “I enjoyed every minute of it,” the priest remarked. He is a native of Rochester’s Ss. Peter and Paul Parish. He attended St. Andrew’s and St. Bernard’s seminaries in Rochester and was ordained June 11, 1949, by Bishop James E. Kearney at Sacred Heart Cathedral. He served as assistant pastor at St. Mary of the Lake, Watkins Glen (1949-51); Holy Trinity, Webster (1951); Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Brockport (1951-57); Holy Rosary, Rochester (1957-62); Holy Redeemer, Rochester (1962-65); and St. Ambrose, Rochester (1965-69). He was pastor of St. Rose from 1969 until his retirement in 1999. Father Doyle is well-known for his volunteerism, having served as fire chaplain in both Lima and Rochester. Since his retirement, Father Doyle has resided at Chapel Oaks, an independent-living facility on the St. Ann’s Community campus in Rochester. He celebrates Mass weekly there and also assists occasionally at St. Ann’s Home.
 
Father Elmer McDonald remains visible in retirement at St. John Parish in St. Pete Beach, Fla., where he ministers to many. He says he misses the intimate ministry he experienced as founding pastor of St. Christopher Parish in North Chili, where he served from 1968-75. Father McDonald was raised in St. Monica Parish and attended St. Andrew’s and St. Bernard’s seminaries, all in Rochester. He was ordained on June 11, 1949, by Bishop James E. Kearney at Sacred Heart Cathedral. He served as assistant pastor at Holy Rosary in Rochester until 1953, when he became a chaplain in the U.S. Navy. In 1955 he became assistant pastor at Sacred Heart Cathedral, and was again released for Navy chaplaincy in 1956. He later served as assistant pastor at St. Francis deSales, Geneva (1960-64); assistant pastor at St. Augustine, Rochester (1964-68); and the first pastor of St. Christopher. From 1975-77 he was pastor of St. John the Evangelist in Greece. In 1977 he was administrator of St. Mary in Dansville; then in 1978-79 he was pastor at St. Augustine. He served as chaplain for the Veterans Administration in Waco, Texas, from 1979-82. He moved to Bay Pines, Fla., to serve as chaplain at the VA Medical Center there. In 1989 he returned as pastor of St. Christopher for several months before going back to Florida to continue his VA chaplaincy. In 1991 he began assisting at St. John’s in St. Pete Beach. Retired in 1995, he now ministers at a Tampa Air Force base.
 
55 years
 
Father William J. Amann knew just the way to celebrate his 77th birthday in 2005: by trekking to Antarctica, the only continent he had yet to visit. But it was not the only exotic locale he has visited. In the 1960s, for instance, he traveled to Cold War-era Russia, and during a sabbatical he trekked across the globe to visit missionary groups as he studied liberation theology and enculturation. He grew up in St. Boniface Parish and attended St. Andrew’s and St. Bernard’s seminaries, all in Rochester, and Theological College at Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. He was ordained June 5, 1954, at Sacred Heart Cathedral by Bishop James E. Kearney. He was assistant pastor at St. Andrew, Rochester (1954-58), and Holy Trinity, Webster (1958-62); chaplain of Irondequoit’s Bishop Kearney High School (1962-65); and assistant pastor, copastor and pastor of Our Lady of Mercy, Greece (1965-81). He then became administrator at Elmira’s St. Cecilia for several months before taking a sabbatical to study in Rome. In 1982, he was pastor of Hamlin’s St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish until retiring in 1988. Father Amann then lived for three years at Our Lady of Lourdes in Brighton, and now lives at Brighton’s St. Thomas More. He assists at various parishes on weekends. During his retirement, he said he has been doing a lot of reading, including all of Charles Dickens’ work, and also makes sick calls.
 
Father Bruce Ammering knew from an early age that he would eventually become a priest. He first heard God’s call while he was a student at St. Monica School in Rochester. “As a youngster I felt I wanted to be a priest,” recalled Father Ammering, whose family belonged to St. Monica Parish. “There were quite a few of us from St. Monica’s that went into the seminary.” That group included his brother, Donald Ammering, who went on to become an Augustinian priest. Father Bruce Ammering, however, chose to become a priest for the Diocese of Rochester. After completing his studies at St. Andrew’s and St. Bernard’s seminaries in Rochester, Father Ammering was ordained by Bishop James E. Kearney on June 5, 1954, at Sacred Heart Cathedral. The next day his brother served as assistant priest during Father Ammering’s first solemn Mass at St. Monica. He served as assistant pastor at St. Patrick in Owego (1954-57), St. Aloysius in Auburn (1957) and St. Mary in Waterloo (1957-58). In 1958 Father Ammering became chaplain at Monroe Community Hospital. He remained there until 1983, when he became pastor at Rochester’s Blessed Sacrament. He served at Blessed Sacrament until his retirement in 2000. Father Ammering currently resides at the Sisters of St. Joseph Motherhouse in Pittsford, where he assists the chaplain in ministry.
 
Even as a young child, Father Gerald Connor was drawn to the priesthood, but he also can recall a time when he considered becoming a garbage man. Father Connor said he was always impressed by the priests who ministered at Sacred Heart Cathedral, where he attended Mass with his family and was enrolled in the parish school. In the second grade, however, he also was impressed by the “ash man,” who visited the school regularly to collect papers and refuse. “For a while I had a terrible crisis whether I should be a priest or an ash man,” he remarked. In the end, however, Father Connor’s calling toward the priesthood was stronger than his curiosity about the ash man. His parents supported his pursuit of this vocation, he said, and encouraged him as he completed his studies at St. Andrew’s and St. Bernard’s seminaries in Rochester. He was ordained June 5, 1954, at Sacred Heart Cathedral by Bishop James E. Kearney. He served as assistant pastor at St. Monica in Rochester (1954-58), St. Alphonsus in Auburn (1958-64), St. Ann in Hornell (1964-68) and St. Joseph in Penfield (1968-71); director of vocations for the diocese and spiritual director at Becket Hall (1971-77); and pastor of St. Pius Tenth in Chili (1977-98). After retiring in 1998 Father Connor ministered when needed at the cathedral and at St. Theodore in Gates. He currently resides at the Sisters of Mercy’s McAuley Residence.
 
Father Francis Erb’s long-standing ties to the Southern Tier certainly haven’t loosened in retirement. These days he serves as assisting priest in the Steuben County “A-B-C” parishes of St. Catherine of Siena, Addison; St. Stanislaus, Bradford; and St. Joseph, Campbell. In addition, he is a per-diem chaplain at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Elmira. Father Erb is a native of St. Ambrose Parish in Rochester. He attended Aquinas Institute and St. Andrew’s and St. Bernard’s seminaries, all in Rochester, and was ordained June 5, 1954, by Bishop James E. Kearney at Sacred Heart Cathedral. He was assistant pastor at St. Patrick, Elmira (1954-60); St. Michael, Rochester (1960-61); St. Rita, Webster (1961-68); Sacred Heart, Auburn (1968); St. Mary, Elmira (1968-72); and St. Anthony of Padua, Rochester (1972-73). In 1973 he was assigned to his first pastorate at St. Pius V in Cohocton. In 1975 he became pastor of St. Joachim in Canisteo and St. Mary in Rexville. In 1976 he settled in for a lengthy stay at St. Catherine of Siena in Addison, serving the parish for 17 years before retiring in 1993. Father Erb has been notably busy in retirement, often filling in at parishes that were temporarily without a priest. “I substituted around the whole diocese. I was at 85 different parishes, so a lot of people would remember me for that,” he said.
 
Serving a wide ethnic range has been a large part of Father Robert Kreckel’s ministry, including retirement. Father Kreckel celebrates Mass once a month at Church of the Epiphany in Sodus for the migrant farmworker community. He was also highly involved with that population while serving as pastor of St. Mary of the Lake in Ontario from 1985-2003, and was active in inner-city social issues while at Rochester’s Immaculate Conception Parish from 1960-73. Father Kreckel’s home parish is St. Boniface in Rochester. He attended St. Andrew’s and St. Bernard’s seminaries in Rochester and was ordained June 5, 1954, by Bishop James E. Kearney at Sacred Heart Cathedral. He was assistant pastor at St. Alphonsus, Auburn (1954-60); and assistant pastor of Immaculate Conception (1960-66) then pastor of that parish (1966-73). He noted that Immaculate Conception transformed into a mostly African-American parish during his tenure. “It was a very exciting 13 years — not just racial issues, but also Vatican II was just starting to take hold,” he said. Father Kreckel then became founding pastor of Fairport’s Church of the Resurrection in 1973. In 1985 Father Kreckel began his 18-year pastorate in Ontario. Since retiring from St. Mary of the Lake, he has been residing and assisting at St. Joseph Parish in Penfield. “I help out, but am not bound by any contract or anything,” he remarked.
 
Father David Murphy grew up in Auburn’s St. Mary parish, attending its school and Rochester’s St. Andrew’s Seminary. He belongs to the ordination class of 1954, but was ordained in Rome by Bishop Martin J. O’Connor on Dec. 19, 1953. He earned a licentiate in sacred theology in 1954 from Rome’s Pontifical Gregorian University, a master of arts degree from Cornell University in 1956, a philosophy doctorate from the University of Ottawa in 1971 and a doctorate of sacred theology from St. Paul University in 1973. He taught at St. Andrew’s Seminary (1956-65), becoming academic dean in 1964. During this time he also served as director of campus ministry at Rochester’s Eastman School of Music and Wells College in Aurora, and as administrator of St. Patrick in Aurora and St. Michael in Union Springs. He has taught at many universities around the country, and in 1966 was academic dean at Rochester’s St. Bernard’s Seminary and held several other positions there. He served as a consultant to the U.S. Bishops’ Committee on Priestly Formation from 1967-72, when he became executive director of the National Catholic Educational Association’s seminary department. In 1979 he was one of the founding members of the National Academy of Ecumenists. He also has an interest in media and communications and has produced more than 150 television programs and authored many published articles. Father Murphy currently resides in Massachusetts.
 
Father John Rosse has always enjoyed a wide array of friends, and that has not changed in the 11 years he has lived in retirement at Irondequoit’s St. Margaret Mary. The native of Irondequoit’s St. Thomas the Apostle Parish attended St. Andrew’s and St. Bernard’s seminaries in Rochester and was ordained June 5, 1954, by Bishop James E. Kearney at Sacred Heart Cathedral. He served as assistant pastor at St. Mary Parish in Canandaigua from 1954-58. He was assistant pastor at St. Joseph in Cayuga and its mission of St. Aloysius in Auburn for part of 1958, and additionally served as chaplain at Auburn Correctional Facility during that time. Later that year he was briefly assistant pastor at St. Andrew in Rochester. Father Rosse became chaplain at St. Mary’s Hospital in 1959 and served the hospital community for nearly 25 years. During that time he taught religion and medical ethics at the hospital’s school of nursing, and was chaplain at the Monroe County Jail as well. In 1983, Father Rosse became pastor at Holy Name of Jesus in Greece. He remained in that position until retiring in 1998. In addition to being active in St. Margaret Mary, Father Rosse helps out frequently at St. Ann’s Community. He also has accompanied Father Peter Bayer, chaplain of St. Ann’s, on a number of cruises all over the world — “We concelebrate Masses every day, but I kind of stay in the background,” he said.
 
50 Years
 
Although Father Gerald J. Appelby said it was a joy to work for many years in campus ministry and diocesan administration, he said it was truly a gift to found Pittsford’s Church of the Transfiguration in 1983. “It was good to come back and to see old friends there,” Father Appelby said of the parish’s 25th-anniversary celebration last year. He grew up in St. John the Evangelist Parish on Humboldt Street in Rochester and attended its school. He then attended St. Andrew’s and St. Bernard’s seminaries in Rochester and received a master’s degree in education from the University of Rochester. He was ordained June 5, 1959, by Bishop James E. Kearney at Sacred Heart Cathedral. He then became assistant pastor at the cathedral (1959-66); chaplain at Rochester Institute of Technology (1966-83); diocesan director of campus ministry (1968-77); and director of the special ministries division, which included liturgy, black ministries, the Spanish Apostolate, campus ministry and ecumenism (1977-83). He also served with the New York State Board of Diocesan Directors and the Catholic Campus Ministry Association. In 1983, he moved from his work with college students and administration to parish duties in Pittsford. Since retiring in 2002, he has served as sacramental minister at St. Agnes Parish in Avon.
 
Since retiring in 2002, Father William M. Barrett has had no problem keeping busy. Now a resident of Mayville in the Diocese of Buffalo, he assists at St. Mary of Lourdes, which comprises St. Mary in Mayville and Our Lady of Lourdes in Bemis Point, and since February has served as interim pastor. He grew up in Rochester’s Blessed Sacrament Parish and attended public schools, as well as St. John the Evangelist School on Humboldt Street and St. Andrew’s and St. Bernard’s seminaries, all in Rochester. He said his parents encouraged him to go to a Catholic high school, and he chose to attend St. Andrew’s, the minor seminary at the time. “I liked it each year better than the year before,” he said. “I sort of grew into it. It was a very subtle thing.” Ordained at Sacred Heart Cathedral June 5, 1959, by Bishop James E. Kearney, Father Barrett was assistant pastor of St. Mary, Elmira (1959-62); assistant pastor of St. Joseph in Wayland (1962-65), St. Monica in Rochester (1965-67) and St. Alphonsus in Auburn (1967-70); assistant chaplain, Newark State School (Developmental Center) (1970-71); and chaplain at the Newark school (1971-79). He then became pastor of St. Monica (1979-85), Holy Cross in Dryden/Freeville (1985-93) and St. Michael in Lyons (1993-02).
 
Father Paul Brennan grew up in Auburn’s Holy Family Parish and attended its school. He studied at St. Andrew’s and St. Bernard’s seminaries in Rochester and was ordained at his home parish June 6, 1959, by Bishop James E. Kearney. He was assistant pastor at St. Michael in Penn Yan and St. Andrew in Dundee (1959-65); St. John the Evangelist in Spencerport (1965-67) and Immaculate Conception in Rochester (1967-73), where he also was pastor (1973-87). In 1987 he became pastor at Sacred Heart in Auburn and St. Ann in Owasco and retired in 2000. He currently resides in Auburn and ministers at Willard Drug Treatment Center there.
 
Holy Family Parish in Auburn will always hold a special place in Father John Dillon’s heart. Not only did he grow up in the parish and attend its grammar and high schools, but he also was ordained there June 6, 1959, by Bishop James E. Kearney. His ordination marked the culmination of several years of study at St. Andrew’s and St. Bernard’s seminaries in Rochester. His was assistant pastor at St. Thomas More in Brighton (1959-64), St. Boniface in Rochester (1964-69) and St. Mary of the Lake in Watkins Glen (1969-71). He was director of the diocesan Spanish Apostolate (1971-76), and during that time also served as priest in charge of a pastoral ministry in Rochester known as the Brown Square Spanish Speaking Community. He served in the Diocese of Syracuse from 1976-79, then for several months in 1979 associate pastor at St. Michael in Rochester and Elmira’s St. Mary Southside. He was pastor at St. Michael (1980-82); associate pastor at St. Mary, Waterloo (1982-84); and administrator and later pastor of Church of the Epiphany, Sodus, and St. Rose of Lima in Sodus Point; He took a sabbatical to McGill University in Montreal in 1991 and upon his return served at Holy Cross in Charlotte while that parish’s pastor took his own sabbatical. In 1993 he returned to the Auburn area and became chaplain at Auburn Correctional Facility. In 2000 he became chaplain at Cayuga Correctional Facility in Moravia, and he retired in 2002. He currently resides in Auburn Nursing Home.
 
During his time as a priest, Father Paul Freemesser has rarely stayed in one place for long. He grew up in Rochester’s Bles-sed Sacrament Parish and attended its school as well as Aquinas Institute and St. Andrew’s and St. Bernard’s seminaries, all in Rochester. Bishop James E. Kearney ordained him June 5, 1959, at Sacred Heart Cathedral. He was assistant pastor at St. Alphonsus in Auburn (1959-63), St. Anthony of Padua in Rochester (1963-66) and St. John the Evangelist in Rochester (1966-68); a missionary in Bolivia (1968-69); assistant pastor at Immaculate Conception, Ithaca (1969-71); again a missionary in Bolivia (1971-72); chaplain at Rochester General Hospital (1973); assistant pastor at St. Francis Xavier, Rochester (1973-74); copastor at St. Michael, Rochester (1974-80); administrator at St. Aloysius, Auburn (1980-82); assistant pastor at Holy Family, Rochester (1982); pastor of St. Patrick in Cato, St. Thomas, Red Creek, and St. Jude, Fairhaven (1982-84); and a missionary in Mexico (1984-85). He provided coverage for other diocesan priests on sabbaticals or military assignments (1985-95); was a chaplain at Auburn’s Mercy Health and Rehabilitation Center (1995-2000); and was an Army chaplain (1963-93). He retired in 2000 and lived at St. Alphonsus, then moved to St. Theodore in Gates in 2007 and assists in ministry where needed.
 
Father Gerard McMahon grew up attending St. Monica and St. John the Evangelist in Rochester. He attended both parishes’ schools as well as Aquinas Institute before completing his seminary studies at St. Andrew’s and St. Bernard’s in Rochester. He was ordained by Bishop James E. Kearney June 5, 1959, at Sacred Heart Cathedral. He served as assistant pastor at St. Anthony of Padua in Rochester (1959), Our Lady of Mercy in Greece (1959-60), St. Mary of the Lake in Ontario (1960-69) and St. Mary in Corning (1969-75); associate pastor at Corpus Christi in Rochester (1975-76); and pastor at St. Patrick in Moravia (1976-85), and St. Gabriel in Hammondsport and St. Patrick in Prattsburgh (1985-93). In 1993 he relocated to Scranton, Pa., and served as administrator for several parishes in the Diocese of Scranton. He returned to Rochester and retired in 1998. He resides and assists at Holy Spirit in Penfield. He said he has found his vocation and parish ministry very fulfilling. “I was very happy and satisfied with it,” he said.
 
25 Years
 
Daily Mass was an important part of Father Peter Enyan-Boadu’s upbringing in his native Ghana in Africa. He said the parish priest invited him to be an altar server because he attended Mass daily, and a lifetime vocation began. He attended St. Victor’s Major Seminary in Tamale, Ghana, and received a licentiate of theology in 1982 from the Catholic Institute of Theology in Toulouse, France. He was ordained July 15, 1984, at the Cathedral of St. Peter the Apostle in Kumasi, Ghana, by Bishop Peter Sarpong. In Kumasi, he was parochial vicar at St. Peter’s Cathedral and chaplain for diocesan public schools. He then attended Fordham University in the Bronx and received a master’s in religion in 1992. He said a professor at Fordham suggested that he consider ministering in the Rochester Diocese. He did, and he served as parochial vicar for Rochester’s 19th Ward Catholic Community (1992-96) and Holy Cross in Charlotte (1996-99). He was incardinated into the diocese on Aug. 14, 1998, and became pastor of Brockport’s Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary in 1999. Father Enyan-Boadu said he is proud of a recent Nativity program called Journey to the Heart, in which parishioners detailed their faith journeys. He said his own ministry also has been a voyage. “It has been a journey of faith that has enriched me even in challenging times,” he said. “Would I do it all over again? Certainly.”
 
Father Richard T. Farrell traces his vocation to his faith-filled Irish Catholic family and his experience attending Rochester’s St. Augustine school. “I was very impressed by the priests and many sisters who taught in those days,” he said. He said he applied to attend St. Andrew’s Seminary, but failed the test, so he instead went to Edison Technical High School. He worked in printing before entering college. He was encouraged to reconsider the priesthood by St. Augustine’s pastoral associate, so he applied to St. John Fisher College and Becket Hall, which at the time was affiliated with the college. He graduated from St. John Fisher in 1979 and went to St. Bernard’s Seminary and Theological College at Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. He was ordained by Bishop Matthew H. Clark on May 18, 1984, at St. Pius Tenth in Chili, where he served as deacon intern. He was priest intern at St. Charles Borromeo in Greece (1984-87) then director of pastoral care at Elmira’s St. Joseph Hospital (1987-97). He became pastor of Elmira’s St. Mary Southside in 1997, and has served as sacramental minister of Elmira’s Southport Correctional Facility. He said a highlight of his time at St. Mary was the generous response of parishioners, who raised $1.2 million for a church renovation that was completed four years ago.
 
Father Scott M. Kubinski says he’s lucky to be a priest and that “it has been 25 years of privilege to be able to serve people of God.” He grew up in Elmira’s St. Casimir Parish and attended its school. He also attended Elmira Notre Dame High School, Pittsford’s St. John Fisher College, Rochester’s St. Bernard’s Seminary and Immaculate Conception Seminary in Darlington, N.J. “Those were great years,” he said of his college days. “I learned a great deal, and it really deepened my faith.” He took several years off to explore his faith, working in a convenience store and in a factory stockroom. The director of St. Bernard’s helped nudge him back toward the priesthood, he said. Bishop Matthew H. Clark ordained him June 1, 1984, at St. Charles Borromeo Church in Greece, where the priest had served a year as a transitional deacon. He was appointed a priest intern at St. Boniface, Rochester (1984-87); and parochial vicar at St. Patrick in Owego (1987-90), St. Ambrose in Rochester (1990-93) and St. Mary Our Mother in Horseheads (1993-2000). While in Horseheads he also was chaplain at Ithaca College. In 2000, he became the college’s full-time chaplain and also provided sacramental coverage at All Saints Parish in Lansing. In 2002, he was named temporary priest administrator at All Saints, and in 2004 he also was named temporary priest administrator at Holy Cross, Dryden/Freeville, and St. Anthony, Groton, in addition to his Lansing and Ithaca College duties. He became pastor of the Groton, Dryden and Lansing parishes in 2005.

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