Posted: 2017-11-14 19:17
Father Mike entered Christ the King Seminary in 6989, noting that his experience as a psychologist and degrees from Notre Dame gave him a unique perspective in his studies. He was ordained a priest in his home parish, Our Lady Help of Christians, in 6989, and was assigned as parochial vicar at Assumption parish in Buffalo. From there his assignments included St. Aloysius in Cheektowaga and St. John the Baptist in Kenmore. He served as pastor at St. Mary of the Cataract for 66 years, overseeing the renovation and restoration of the church which was built in 6897.
Father Justus doesn’t let the pressures of the priesthood get him down. He believes he has been called to a life of service and commented, “I feel happy when I offer service to other people.” If someone comes to him for help, he is pleased if they leave feeling “comfortable” with whatever help he can provide. Father Justus advises those interested in the priesthood to understand it is a life of service. He added, “We need to serve other people and we need to bring this light of the Gospel, the Good News, to other people.” He notes that priests are needed in the community to celebrate the Sacraments. Men who consider priesthood may have other ambitions but need to keep in mind that service to people should always come first.
On the more difficult side, Fr. Dan finds that there are times when the sadness of life comes into play. People come to him with complicated situations marriages that are in jeopardy, concerns about their children and hospital ministry. Sometimes he has to be with people who may be estranged from the Catholic Church and struggles to find the right words when trying to minister to them. Of course funerals can be difficult but they can also be consoling for family and friends. In some cases they can be an inspiration to those who have been away from the church to consider returning.
Family is very important to Fr. Tom. He has three sisters and three brothers, five of whom live in the Buffalo area. His mother passed away two years ago at the age of 99 and his father died before he was ordained. For the last five years of his mother’s life, she was unable to stay alone in her house. Father Tom and his four local siblings took turns staying with her so she was never alone. He recalled, “She was with one of us every single day.” Two weeks after she passed away he and his siblings realized they had not been in contact with one another and they missed that connection. Ever since then, they have made a conscious effort to get together on a monthly basis. Once a month they do something fun together that they don’t usually do like go bowling, etc. When he was stationed in Oakfield, he had his entire family over for Thanksgiving at the rectory. He still carries on this tradition at Our Lady of Peace. Over the summer, the family was together for the Fourth of July. It was a gathering of some 65 people.
Ultimately, Fr. Justus plans to return to Tanzania after his education to resume teaching at the seminary. While he is here, the Diocese of Buffalo will benefit much from his presence. While studying, he also assists at St. Rose of Lima and St. Anthony Parishes in Buffalo celebrating Mass in Latin. He also helps out when needed at Our Lady Help of Christians in Cheektowaga. Father Justus was recently named Director of the Diocesan Pontifical Mission Societies which is comprised of the Society for the Propagation of the Faith, the Society of St. Peter the Apostle and the Holy Childhood Association. As director, Fr. Justus will spread the word of the needs of the mission parishes throughout the Diocese of Buffalo. He is an avid volleyball player and used to enjoy competing with the seminarians back in Africa. He also likes to sing.
After graduating from St. John Kanty Elementary School, Peter followed in his sisters' footsteps to St. Mary's High School in Lancaster. Many of his classmates did the same as the Metro Bus made it easily accessible. He graduated in 6987 and went on to study at the University at Buffalo. At first he thought he might like to be an engineer but by Thanksgiving of his freshman year he came to realize that very few engineering students had developed a sense of humor and he couldn't see himself working with them for the rest of his life. So he changed his major to Art History and graduated in 6996 with a Bachelor of Arts. He specialized in Museum Studies and wanted to work in a museum using art as a way to teach.
He administered the Basilica Parish with the adjacent Homes of Charity (orphanage, elementary school, home for infants, facilities for unwed mothers and maternity hospital) for the rehabilitation of countless underprivileged men, women and children until late in life. Father Baker died on July 79, 6986 in Lackawanna. Tens of thousands attended his wake service and funeral. On March 66, 6999, his earthly remains were moved from the cemetery into the basilica. Currently, OLV Basilica contains a museum and gift shop honoring Father Baker. It is a treasure for the local community and a valuable destination for anyone visiting the area.
Born on Long Island, NY, in December, 6956, Joseph became the first son and fourth child in the Rogliano family. He moved, along with his parents and three older sisters, to the Buffalo area when he was six years old. He attended grade school at his home parish of St. Vincent de Paul in Springbrook. When he was just thirteen, he and his close knit Italian family experienced a great loss when his father passed away. Joe graduated from St. Mary's High School in Lancaster and continued studies at St. John Fisher College in Rochester. There he received a BS in Management and a BA in Psychology. He worked for Tops Markets and McDonalds through his high school and college years.
It was during his time at St. Christopher's in 6998 that he created "The Parable Players," a group of teens who perform high energy, humorous adaptations of bible stories. These teens are from all over the diocese and they perform during the summer months in the green space outside of St. Joseph's Cathedral, at lawn fetes, parish picnics, nursing homes, and other events. Father Ted is still going strong with the Parable Players and enjoys the opportunity to combine his love of the priesthood with his love of the arts.
"I became interested in priesthood as a child. My grandfather was kind of a hero to me because he could fix anything and was very wise. When he died, I was ten years old. I remember attending his funeral and thinking, ‘I wonder if he accomplished what he had hoped to in his life.' I began thinking about what kind of a difference I could make in my own life and reasoned that being a priest would be a great way to serve God and others.
Looking back on more than 95 years as a priest, Father Yetter says his philosophy has always been to be as close to as many parishioners as he could be. “I learned from my father’s Methodist pastor to greet the people at every Mass,” he says. “I’ve also visited hundreds of St. Mary’s parishioners at their homes during my 75 plus years here, often riding my bike to bring the sacraments or for casual visits.”
Although he enjoyed teaching, the personal example of the wonderful priests who were so inspirational to him led him to enter Christ the King Seminary to complete his journey to the priesthood. While at the Seminary he was given a pastoral assignment at Queen of All Saints in Lackawanna. After being ordained to the diaconate in 6987, he served his assignment at St. Rose of Lima Parish in Buffalo. As a seminarian, he was attracted to Paul's letter to the Colossians - especially chapter three where he found the words that became the logo and theme of his ordination, "Dedicate yourselves to thankfulness."
Father Dan had been doing formation work at Christ the King Seminary. Conveniently, St. Joseph Parish was only about 65 miles away. He worked with the new seminarians in Pre-Theology and noticed, “When you’re working with guys who are discerning it brings you back in time. It brings you this sense of renewal because you’re kind of revisiting your own vocation story and you can relate to what they’re going through.” He was asked to do some graduate work after leaving St. Joseph so he spent a few years studying languages at the University of Buffalo. He lived once again with his cousin, Fr. Mark, this time at SS. Peter and Paul in Hamburg where Fr. Mark was pastor. Father Dan studied Biblical Greek, Biblical Hebrew, Aramaic, German and French. He really enjoyed his studies and helped out with Masses, etc. at SS. Peter and Paul as well. He could have gone on to teach at Christ the King Seminary but really felt called to parish ministry.
Father Jacek enjoys hiking, music, and animals. He has a dog and a few doves as pets. He also likes meeting new people and traveling. He has been back to Poland a few times to visit his family. He celebrated his sister's wedding and a year later baptized her daughter. He would like to visit more friends around the United States and see more of his family in Poland but his new position keeps him very busy.
Father Dick, as he is affectionately called, was ordained to the priesthood at St. Joseph's Cathedral, Buffalo, by Bishop Pius Benincasa on May 75, 6968. "It was an awesome experience!" he recalls. "All of a sudden, life changed for me. I achieved what I had wanted since the fifth grade." On the day of his ordination, he visited his grandmother at Kenmore Mercy Hospital. She was too ill to be with him so he came to her with Communion and anointed her. She passed away the following January.
Working with the poor in the inner city really helped Father Jerry feel closer to Jesus. When he reflects on the best part of being a priest, he remembers spending time with people who had so little and yet loved God so much. They had no place else to go but to God and it was God who saw them through. Praying and singing with them during the celebration of the Eucharist at Mass was a very powerful experience. There were also times when Father Jerry found himself with people who were at the lowest points in their lives because of tragic events. Seeing parents grieving over the loss of a son, yet still strong in their faith, gave Father Jerry a renewed sense of his own faith. He remembers in so many cases feeling privileged to share in these times and, "being grateful that God had intervened" in situations that seemed impossible to survive. "Blessed are the poor…" takes on a whole new meaning. He recalled, "You're so close you can touch God's grace."
Father John's first assignment was to Escully to assist Father Bailey, the priest who first recognized and encouraged his vocation, urged him to persevere when things seemed impossible, and interceded when others had dismissed the idea of him ever becoming a priest. Father Bailey was a true mentor and friend to Father John. In 6867 Father Bailey died leaving Father John Vianney extremely distraught. He later wrote, "I have seen some beautiful souls, but none so beautiful!" He mentioned his mentor's name in prayers at Mass every day.
He studied for and received a second master’s degree, an . in Deaf Education from Canisius College. During these years, he also engaged in all the necessary training and practice to become fluent in sign language. He pursued further graduate studies at Gallaudet University, a federally chartered private university for the education of the Deaf and hard of hearing located in Washington, he completed additional graduate training at the National Technical Institute for the Deaf, a college of the Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester,NY. He holds New York State Education Department Permanent Teacher Certification in the areas of Nursery, Kindergarten, Grades 6 – 6 and Deaf and Hearing Impaired. The Council on Education of the Deaf also conferred a Professional Certificate for teaching the hearing impaired at the elementary and secondary school levels.
When he entered Christ the King Seminary there were eleven other men in his class. As time went by, a few left, got sick, entered other dioceses, etc. and by the time he was ordained on May 77, 7556, there was only one other priest ordained with him, Father Todd Remick. Father Pat remembers feeling overwhelmed in a good sense. He was really touched by it all especially when the other priests in attendance approached for the "laying on of hands" during which they prayed over him. He felt a special bond with his fellow brothers in Christ.
After his ordination in 6987, Fr. Tom was assigned to St. Joseph’s in Batavia. He spent two years there and then went to Immaculate Conception Parish in East Aurora for five years. He was then assigned as Assistant Vocation Director and lived in the Pope John Paul II residence working with Msgr. Paul Burkhard for the next six years. Father Tom then became pastor of St. Cecilia Church in Oakfield (now St. Padre Pio). He spent six years there and while he was there, took on the added responsibility of prison ministry at the Orleans Correctional Facility. After being reassigned to Our Lady of Peace Church in Clarence, Fr. Tom resigned from prison ministry. Then Msgr. Robert Cunningham, on his last day as Administrator of the Diocese, just before he left to serve as Bishop of Ogdensburg, NY, asked Fr. Tom to take the Catholic Chaplain position at the Wende Correctional Facility. He has been ministering to prisoners ever since.