Several leadership changes are imminent at Southern Tier parishes, as appointments recently announced by Bishop Matthew H. Clark are due to take effect June 30.
At St. Mary Parish in Bath, Deacon David LaFortune will assume the role of pastoral administrator. Deacon LaFortune was ordained to the permanent diaconate in 2005 and currently serves as pastoral associate in the Schuyler Catholic Community cluster of St. Mary of the Lake, Watkins Glen, and St. Benedict, Odessa. His wife, Trish, is pastoral associate at All Saints Parish in Corning/Painted Post.
He will succeed Deacon Raymond Defendorf, who is retiring from parish ministry after leading St. Mary in Bath for the past six years. Deacon Defendorf also was a pastoral associate at All Saints (1996-2001) as well as pastoral administrator of St. James in Waverly and St. Pius X in Van Etten (2001-03.) He belongs to the original class of permanent deacons in the Rochester Diocese ordained in 1982.
In Elmira, Father Rick Farrell will become the new pastor at Blessed Sacrament Parish after having logged 12 years in the pastorate of St. Mary Southside Parish. This will mark his third consecutive assignment in Elmira; he also spent 1987-97 as chaplain at St. Joseph Hospital. Father Farrell is celebrating his 25th jubilee in the priesthood this year.
Father Farrell will replace Father Walter Wainwright, who first came to Blessed Sacrament Parish in 2000 when it was known as the St. Anthony/St. Patrick cluster (since then, Ss. Peter and Paul was added in 2006 and St. Anthony closed in 2008.) Father Wainwright, an Elmira native from St. Mary Southside Parish, is retiring but plans to continue living and assisting in the Chemung County area.
Father John DeSocio, an Elmira native out of St.Patrick Parish, will be Father Farrell’s replacement as pastor at St. Mary Southside. Father DeSocio has served since 2007 as parochial vicar at Blessed Trinity/St. Patrick parishes in Tioga County, and prior to that was vice rector at North American College at Louvain, Belgium.
An additional ministerial change involving Blessed Trinity/St. Patrick will be that of Deacon Gary DiLallo, who has served since 2005 as the parishes’ faith-formation coordinator. He is moving to Auburn as pastoral administrator at St. Hyacinth and St. Francis of Assisi. He formerly ministered in the Archdiocese of New York.
Deacon DiLallo will replace Father Eugene Dobosz, who is returning to his native Poland after serving at St. Hyacinth/St. Francis as pastor since 2006. Father Dobosz also was administrator of St. Casimir/St.Charles Borromeo in Elmira from 2002-06.