Priests mark ordination anniversaries - Catholic Courier

Priests mark ordination anniversaries

Fifteen priests serving in the Rochester Diocese are celebrating 70th, 65th, 60th, 55th, 50th and 25th jubilees in 2010.

70 Years

Father John A. Morgan, 94, attended St. Alphonsus School in Auburn, and St. Ambrose School, St. Andrew’s Seminary and St. Bernard’s Seminary in Rochester. He was ordained May 18, 1940, by Bishop James E. Kearney at Sacred Heart Cathedral.

He was assistant pastor of Blessed Sacrament Parish, Rochester (1940-51); St. Thomas the Apostle Parish, Irondequoit (1951-57); Church of the Assumption, Fairport, (1958-59); and Our Lady of Lourdes Parish, Elmira, (1959-64). He also served as principal of DeSales High School, Geneva, from 1957-58.

His first pastorate was at St. Bernard, Scipio Center/St. Hilary, Genoa/St. Isaac Jogue Chapel, Fleming (1964-67). He was pastor of St. James Parish, Waverly (1967-78), and administrator of St. Pius X, Van Etten (1971-72); St. Columba, Caledonia, (1978-81); and St. Gregory, Marion (1981-86).

After retiring in 1986, he assisted at diocesan parishes. During winters he spent his time assisting at Sacred Heart Parish in Pinehurst, N.C. He was an avid golfer — until his age started to exceed the length of his drive, he quipped.

In 1995 he moved to St. Mary Magdalene Parish in Camarillo, Calif., where he continues to assist the parish.

He said there have been many highlights to being a priest: “To be able to say Mass and hear confessions and help people in any way they needed spiritually.”

65 Years

Father Robert A. Meng, 91, grew up in Rochester’s St. Augustine Parish and attended its school as well as St. Andrew’s and St. Bernard’s seminaries in Rochester.

He was ordained March 17, 1945, by Bishop James E. Kearney at Sacred Heart Cathedral.

He was assistant pastor of St. Jerome, East Rochester (1945-49); St. Alphonsus, Auburn (1949-53); St. Patrick, Rochester (1953-56); St. Aloysius, Auburn (1956); St. Felix, Clifton Springs (1956-57); St. Anne, Rochester, (1957-58); St. Ann, Hornell (1958-61); and Corpus Christi, Rochester (1961-66).

From 1966-68 he served as a program director with Catholic Relief Services in central Africa, Congo and Benin, then known as Dahomey.

He then was pastor of Holy Rosary Church, Rochester, from 1968 until his retirement in 1993. After retiring, he assisted at St. Thomas the Apostle Parish in Irondequoit and at St. Stanislaus Kostka Parish in Rochester.

Father Meng said he celebrated his jubilee in March with a party at the Sisters of St. Joseph Motherhouse, where he lives.

Father Jerome Schifferli, 90, attended St. Andrew School and St. Andrew’s and St. Bernard’s seminaries, all in Rochester. He was ordained March 17, 1945, by Bishop James E. Kearney at Sacred Heart Cathedral.

He was assistant pastor of St. Michael Parish, Rochester (1945-53), and of St. Mary Parish, Rochester (1953-61). He then became chaplain of Elmira Correctional Facility and Reception Center (1961-72).

In 1972 he was appointed pastor of St. Joseph Parish, Livonia, St. Margaret on the Lake Parish on Conesus Lake, which has since closed, and St. William Parish in Conesus, which was a mission of St. Joseph.

Although he retired in 1989, he still assists in the area. He is pastor emeritus at St. Matthew Parish in Livonia — formed by the 2004 merger of St. Joseph and St. William — and at St. Mary in Honeoye, which is clustered with St. Matthew. He is active in several parish groups, assists with confessions and celebrates Mass on Thursdays.

“Steady as she goes,” Father Schifferli remarked.

Though he has lost his eyesight, Father Schifferli still is able to chop wood as a hobby, enjoys reciting poetry and listens to books read by volunteers.

60 Years

Father Otto Vogt grew up in St. Joseph Parish in Wayland, where he attended the parish school before completing his seminary training at Rochester’s St. Andrew’s and St. Bernard’s seminaries. He was ordained June 3, 1950, by Bishop James E. Kearney at Rochester’s Sacred Heart Cathedral.

Father Vogt served as assistant pastor at St. Boniface, Rochester (1950-54); Immaculate Conception, Ithaca (1954-60); St. Patrick, Elmira (1960-67); and St. Mary, Dansville (1967-68). He also was assistant pastor at Holy Cross, Ovid, and Sacred Heart, Romulus, for several months in 1960.

Father Vogt became pastor of St. Joachim, Canisteo, and St. Mary, Rexville, in 1968. In 1975 he become pastor of St. Paul of the Cross in Honeoye Falls, where he remained until his retirement in 1995. He served as temporary administrator of St. Catherine of Siena Parish, Mendon, for several months in 1986.

He was chaplain at Elmira College and taught sacramental theology and medical ethics at Elmira’s St. Joseph School of Nursing and Hornell’s St. James Mercy Hospital, respectively. He directed a weekly radio broadcast, was involved in prison ministry, and served as chaplain of the Honeoye Falls fire and ambulance departments.

He currently is a judge of the interdiocesan tribunal of the Province of New York and occasionally celebrates Mass at Rochester Psychiatric Center. He resides at the Sisters of St. Joseph Motherhouse in Pittsford.

Father Vogt said he’s grateful his vocation has allowed him to help so many people in all walks of life.

55 Years

Father Thomas M. Erdle, 80, attended St. Boniface School, Aquinas Institute, and St. Andrew’s and St. Bernard’s seminaries, all in Rochester.

He was ordained June 4, 1955, by Bishop James E. Kearney at Sacred Heart Cathedral.

He was assistant pastor at Holy Redeemer Parish, Rochester (1955-59); Holy Ghost Parish, Gates (1959-66); and St. James Parish, Irondequoit (1966-67). After that, he earned a master’s degree in psychology of education from New York University.

Father Erdle was chaplain at Rochester School for the Deaf (1960-85) and Rochester Institute of Technology’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf (1968-85). In the 1970s he helped found the National Catholic Office for the Deaf in Washington, D.C., and served as a chaplain for the International Deaf Catholic Association.

In 1981, he was founding pastor of St. Mary’s Church of the Deaf, which became Emmanuel Church of the Deaf and is located at St. Monica Church in Rochester. He became pastor of St. Mark Parish in Greece in 1985 and retired in 2005.

“I’ve been very happy in my priesthood and would do it all over again,” Father Erdle said.

He assists at St. Margaret Mary Parish in Irondequoit and at other diocesan parishes and serves on the board of the Rochester School of the Deaf.

Father Edwin “Ted” Metzger grew up in St. Michael Parish in Rochester. He attended the parish school and Aquinas Institute, then St. Andrew’s and St. Bernard’s seminaries, Rochester. He also has a master’s degree in sacred theology from Union Theological Seminary in New York City.

Father Metzger was ordained June 4, 1955, by Bishop James E. Kearney at Sacred Heart Cathedral. He was an assistant pastor at St. Mary Parish in Auburn (1955-57), Christ the King in Irondequoit (1957-63) and St. Anne in Rochester (1963-68.)

In 1968 he began a seven-year stint as field-education director at St. Bernard’s Seminary. His first pastorate began in 1975 at Rochester’s Holy Redeemer Parish. After five years there, Father Metzger moved to the pastorate of Geneva’s St. Francis de Sales Parish, where he stayed for eight years.

In 1988 he traveled to Kenya to begin missionary duty as a Maryknoll Associate priest. He returned stateside in 1998 to serve as assisting priest in six Cayuga County churches. He officially retired in 1999, yet continued with his duties in Cayuga and also assisted in the Archdiocese of San Antonio, Texas. In 2002 he began a one-year assignment as sacramental minister for Rochester Institute of Technology’s Newman Community.

In 2003 he became sacramental minister at Greece’s Holy Name of Jesus Parish while residing at Our Mother of Sorrows Church. He continues to provide sacramental assistance at both Greece parishes.

Father Metzger, 80, said he appreciates the daily opportunity for ministry as he begins his ninth decade, quipping that he wouldn’t know how else to spend the time.

“I would have very little to do. My only hobby is the opera; I’m wild about the opera,” he remarked. “But I don’t play golf, I don’t play cards. Monday to Friday, I would be lost if I didn’t have my religious duties. And I enjoy it.”

Father John Philipps attended Rochester’s Immaculate Conception Parish and attended the parish school for eight years. He then completed his seminary training at St. Andrew’s and St. Bernard’s seminaries, also in Rochester, before Bishop James E. Kearney ordained him June 4, 1955, at Rochester’s Sacred Heart Cathedral.

After ordination Father Philipps served as assistant pastor of St. Michael, Rochester (1955-58); Blessed Sacrament, Rochester (1958-66); and St. Louis, Pittsford (1966-73). In 1973, he became pastor of Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Brockport, where he served for nearly 14 years. In 1987 he left Brockport to become pastor of St. Bridget, East Bloomfield, and St. Joseph, West Bloomfield.

Father Philipps retired in 1999 and spent the next 10 years residing at St. John of Rochester, Fairport, where he helped out as often as he could. He currently lives at the Sisters of St. Joseph Motherhouse in Pittsford.

Father Philipps said he’s enjoyed all the experiences his vocation has brought him, especially preaching and children’s liturgies. One part of his priesthood, however, clearly stands out as his favorite.

“Offering Mass, of course,” he said. “That’s the center of it all.”

Father Daniel Tormey grew up in Rochester’s Holy Rosary Parish, where he attended the parish school. He later attended Cathedral College in New York City and completed his seminary training at St. Andrew’s and St. Bernard’s seminaries, also in Rochester. He was ordained June 4, 1955, by Bishop James E. Kearney at Sacred Heart Cathedral.

Father Tormey served as assistant pastor at St. Francis de Sales, Geneva (1955-61); St. Francis of Assisi, Auburn (1961-62); and St. John the Evangelist, Greece (1962-67). He then served as chaplain at Rochester General Hospital from 1967-72, but spent the summer of 1971 as chaplain aboard the floating hospital ship HOPE in Jamaica.

After leaving Rochester General, Father Tormey spent two years at San Jose Obrero Parish in La Paz, Bolivia. In 1974 he came home to Rochester and served in the diocesan Office of Human Development. In 1976 he became chaplain at Elmira Correctional Facility and Reception Center, and served as director of the pastoral-care department at Rochester’s Strong Memorial Hospital from 1980-87.

Father Tormey served as director of Becket Hall from 1987-89 and director of the diocesan Office of Ministry to Priests from 1987 until the mid-1990s. In 1989 he became pastor of St. Mary of the Assumption, Scottsville, and remained there until his retirement in 1996.

He then spent two years as director of spiritual formation at the American College at the Catholic University of Louvain, Belgium, and since his 1998 return has been living in Canandaigua and helping out at St. Mary, Canandaigua; St. Felix, Clifton Springs; and St. Francis, Phelps.

“It was a great gift to belong to the Diocese of Rochester that enabled me to do all those exciting things,” Father Tormey said.

50 Years

Father Ralph Fraats grew up in Utica, where he attended Church of the Sacred Heart. He studied at Niagara University and at St. Vincent Major Seminary in Latrobe, Pa., and was ordained May 28, 1960, at St. Matthew’s Cathedral in Washington, D.C., by Cardinal Patrick O’Boyle.

Father Fraats served in the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C., until 1971, when he became assistant pastor at St. Anne in Rochester. He was incardinated into the Rochester Diocese on April 9, 1973.

He served at St. Anne until 1973, then he spent a year as assistant pastor at St. Patrick in Seneca Falls. He served as associate pastor of St. Lawrence, Greece (1974-76); St. John the Evangelist, Clyde, and St. Patrick, Savannah (1976-79); Rochester’s St. Philip Neri (1979-80); and Auburn’s Holy Family (1980-82).

In 1982 he became pastor of St. John the Evangelist, Newark Valley, and St. Francis, Catatonk. In 1986 he became chaplain at Mercy Health and Rehabilitation Center in Auburn and at Auburn Hospital Ministries/Cayuga Nursing Home. In 1989 he became parochial vicar at St. Thomas the Apostle in Irondequoit, where he remained until his retirement in 2001.

After his retirement, Father Fraats briefly served as sacramental minister at St. Michael in Lyons and later resided at St. Francis of Assisi in Auburn. He currently resides in New Hartford, N.Y., where he helps out at St. John the Evangelist Parish.

“God has been very generous,” Father Fraats said.

He’s been retired from active priestly duty for five years, yet Father William Graf’s lifestyle is anything but that of a retiree.

Father Graf, 75, works full time as professor and chair of the religious-studies department at St. John Fisher College. In the fall of 2008 he became the inaugural recipient of the William and Helen Cavanaugh Chair of Catholic Studies, an endowed chair.

“It’s a retirement that’s made in heaven,” he said.

Father Graf grew up in Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Parish in Brockport. He attended St. Andrew’s and St. Bernard’s seminaries in Rochester and was ordained June 4, 1960.

He served as assistant pastor at Holy Family Parish, Rochester (1960-65); assistant pastor at Ithaca’s Immaculate Conception Parish and chaplain at Ithaca College (1965-66); full-time chaplain at Ithaca College (1966-70); and director of counseling and residential services at Ithaca College (1970-71).

Father Graf then served as assistant pastor at St. Thomas More Parish in Brighton (1971-72), professor at St. Bernard’s Seminary (1972-77) and chaplain at Nazareth College (1977-78).

In 1978 he became associate pastor, then pastor, at Rochester’s Church of the Annunciation. He served at Annunciation until 1987 and then logged an 11-year pastorate at Rochester’s Most Precious Blood Parish.

In 1998 Father Graf became priest administrator of Perinton’s Church of the Resurrection. One year later he was named pastor of Resurrection and remained in that capacity until his 2005 retirement.

Along with his collegiate duties, Father Graf provides sacramental assistance at area churches and faith communities. He also has served since 2001 as coordinator of a diocesan ministry to priests. He was the diocesan archivist from 1988-2000, and has earned several graduate and doctorate degrees over the years.

Father John Lynch grew up in Rochester, where he attended St. Monica and St. Augustine parishes. He attended St. Monica School and Aquinas Institute, both in Rochester, and completed his seminary training at St. Andrew’s and St. Bernard’s seminaries, also in Rochester.

Father Lynch was ordained June 4, 1960, by Bishop James E. Kearney at Rochester’s Sacred Heart Cathedral. After ordination he served as assistant pastor at St. Mary, Corning (1960-62); Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, Rochester (1962-66); and St. James, Irondequoit (1966-67). He then served as secretary to the diocesan tribunal from 1967-73 and then as part-time associate pastor at Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Brockport, from 1973-74.

He then served as associate pastor of St. Jerome, East Rochester (1974-77), and St. Charles Borromeo, Elmira Heights (1977-79). Father Lynch was pastor of St. Stanislaus, Bradford, and St. Joseph, Campbell, from 1979-82, when he became pastor of St. Theresa, Stanley, and St. Mary, Rushville.

Father Lynch became pastor of St. James in Irondequoit in 1995 and served there until his retirement in 2004. He has resided at St. Anne Church in Rochester since 2004.

“I’ve just felt happy and fulfilled at the opportunity to serve at all those different assignments,” he said.

25 Years

Born in Egypt, Father Alexander H. Bradshaw — the son of a British diplomat — grew up in Great Britain and later became a U.S. citizen. He attended Oriel College, a constituent college of the University of Oxford, before entering the English Bar in 1965 as a barrister, or attorney. He came to Rochester in 1975 to join the law firm Nixon, Hargrave, Devans & Doyle.

“I was drawn to the priesthood from an early age, probably around 11 or 12,” said Father Bradshaw, adding that he considered applying to seminary in his 20s. “However, I fell in love and got married. I never regretted marriage at all, and was very happily married, until the last year.”

He said that he sensed God was guiding him back toward the priesthood in the years after his divorce and annulment. He attended St. Bernard’s Seminary from 1980-81 and received his bachelor of sacred theology degree in 1983 from Gregorian University in Rome.

He was ordained June 22, 1985, by Bishop Matthew H. Clark at Brockport’s Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. He then returned to North American College and earned his licentiate of sacred theology in 1986.

In 1989 Father Bradshaw, 69, became pastor of Holy Ghost Parish, Gates, and in 2000 became pastor of Our Mother of Sorrows Parish, Greece.

“The priesthood is my greatest joy,” he stated.

A native of Nogales, Mexico, Father Jesús Flores, 56, was ordained in the Diocese of Hermosillo in Sonora in 1985 following five years as a philosophy teacher at the Seminary of Hermosillo.

During his studies in Rome following ordination, he spent a summer working at an automotive factory in Germany and met workers from Turkey. Combined with his experiences seeing immigrants travel through his border town as they fled civil war in Central America, Father Flores found his life’s work of helping immigrants. He worked for 10 years as a pastor in his diocese before an opportunity arose to travel to Rochester with Sister Luci Romero to help the migrant workers in the Sodus area. He is currently diocesan director of migrant ministry.

Before the increased law-enforcement presence in recent years, migrant workers were able to live their lives without constant fear of possible detention. Now, even workers who are legal residents or have work documents live in fear of harassment, he said.

“However, I still see a maturity (among the migrant community),” he said. “They have grown in their sense as an ecclesiastic community.”

Father Stanley G. Kacprzak, 57, attended St. Cecilia Parish and school, King’s Preparatory High School and Bishop Kearney High School, all in Irondequoit. He worked in a local printing company for four years and then attended St. John Fisher College, graduating in 1980.

He studied at St. Bernard’s Seminary (1980-81) and then earned a bachelor’s degree in sacred theology from Gregorian University in Rome and a master’s degree in theology from the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas in Rome.

Father Kacprzak was ordained at St. Margaret Mary Parish May 31, 1985, by Bishop Matthew H. Clark.

After ordination, he became a parochial vicar in internship at Our Mother of Sorrows, Greece. He also served as parochial vicar at Sacred Heart Cathedral, Rochester (1988-93); Good Shepherd, Henrietta (1993-96); and St. John the Evangelist, Greece (1996). He was pastor of Our Lady of Mercy in Greece (1996-2002) and has been pastor of St. Paul in Webster since 2002. He also served as chaplain at Nazareth Academy from 1988-95.

He said there have been too many highlights during his years as a priest to begin listing them.

“I just feel blessed to have been able to serve as a priest for the last 25 years with the outstanding leadership of Bishop Clark,” Father Kacprzak said.

Father Adam Ogorzaly, pastor of Rochester’s St. Stanislaus Kostka Parish, grew up in Stary Sacz in the southern part of Poland. He attended St. Elizabeth Parish and received his seminary training in Poznan in western Poland. He was ordained there May 21, 1985.

Father Ogorzaly then served at two parishes in northern Poland. In 1987 he was sent to England, where he served the Polish Catholic community until 1996.

He arrived in the United States on Jan. 25, 1996, and served at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Tyler, Texas, for nearly two years.

In November 1997 he came to St. Stanislaus at the request of the parish’s outgoing administrator, Father Mitchell Zygadlo. After receiving Bishop Matthew H. Clark’s blessing, Father Ogorzaly began serving at the parish. He became its pastor in 2000, when he was incardinated into the Diocese of Rochester.

“I’m really blessed to serve in the Diocese of Rochester, especially at St. Stanislaus Church. The parishioners are really wonderful. They love the church and I love them,” Father Ogorzaly said.

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