Priests, religious mark anniversaries

Catholic Courier    |    08.31.2004
Category: Local News


After publication of its annual milestones and vocations issue in May, the Catholic Courier learned about several other priests and religious with ties to the Diocese of Rochester who are also celebrating jubilees this year.

50-year Jubilee
 
Msgr. Edward S. Wright recently celebrated the 50th anniversary of his ordination. A Rochester native, he attended St. Boniface School, Aquinas Institute, and St. Andrew’s and St. Bernard’s seminaries, all in Rochester. He was ordained in 1954 and has since served as assistant pastor and pastor at several churches in Illinois. In 1970 he was founding pastor of Blessed Sacrament Parish in North Aurora, Ill., where he served until his retirement in June 2004. He has also served as vicar forane of the Aurora Deanery and chaplain of the School Sisters of St. Francis in Rockford, Ill.

Father William G. Geiger, C.SS.R., will soon celebrate the 50th anniversary of his ordination as a Redemptorist priest. The son of the late George and Gertrude Geiger of Rochester, Father Geiger attended high school and college at St. Mary Seminary in North East, Pa. He has served for many years as a pastor and has also been involved in prison ministry and preaching parish missions. Father Geiger will celebrate his jubilee on Sept. 12 at Notre Dame Retreat House in Canandaigua.

Father Francis J. McNamara, SJ, entered the Jesuit novitiate in 1941 and was ordained at Fordham University in June 1954 by Cardinal Francis J. Spellman. Father McNamara has dedicated most of his vocation to education as teacher, school counselor, and alumni director.

Father McNamara taught at McQuaid Jesuit High School in Rochester from 1956-59, then moved to Brooklyn Preparatory School, where he stayed until 1967. That year, he moved to St. Peter’s Preparatory School in Jersey City, N.J., where he remained until 1977, when he joined the staff of Regis High School in Manhattan. In 1981, he returned to St. Peter’s Preparatory School until 1985, when, as he puts it, he returned to McQuaid and “God’s country.” He was a school counselor at McQuaid until 1995, when he took up his current role as the school’s alumni director. Over the years, Father McNamara has ministered through Marriage Encounter and Engaged Encounter. He also helps out almost every weekend at Holy Ghost Parish in Gates and occasionally at Our Mother of Sorrows Parish in Greece. Throughout his vocation, he has especially enjoyed dealing with young people, as “they’re the hope of the future.”

Father Gilbert John De Ritis, M.M., recently celebrated the 50th anniversary of his ordination as a Maryknoll priest. A native of Rochester, Father De Ritis attended St. Augustine’s School, graduated from Aquinas Institute in 1945 and attended St. Andrew’s Seminary in his home city before entering the Maryknoll order in 1949. After his ordination in 1954, Father De Ritis served in South America for 23 years before returning to the United States to do mission education and promotion work in Houston, Texas, and Buffalo, N.Y. Between 1981 and his retirement in 1994, Father De Ritis served in Chile and Hawaii, and is currently living in California.
 
25-year Jubilees
 
Brother James P. Hamilton, CFC, recently celebrated the 25th anniversary of his profession of vows. Brother Hamilton grew up in St. Thomas the Apostle Parish in Irondequoit and graduated from St. Thomas the Apostle Grammar School and Bishop Kearney High School in Irondequoit. He joined the Congregation of Christian Brothers on Sept. 8, 1978, and professed his vows the following year. He earned a master's degree in theological studies from St. Michael's College in Winooski, Vt., and has taught at high schools in New York City, Florida and New Jersey. Brother Hamilton is the son of Elizabeth and Kenneth Hamilton, who belong to St. Thomas the Apostle Parish.

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