Faith-Filled Farewell

Sept. 2-8, 2004
Faith-Filled Farewell
By Kristen Fox / SUN  Staff Writer
Family and Friends Pay Last Respects to Father Hyacinth Seremet

UTICA –– On Wednesday, Aug. 18, family and friends gathered at Sacred Heart Church to pay their final respects to Father Hyacinth Seremet. In the midst of their sorrow, approximately 200 mourners praised a beloved priest, remembered for his astounding faith, optimism and love for his family and parish communities. “We are here to mourn the passing of a beloved priest,” said Bishop James Moynihan, who celebrated the Mass of Christian burial. “We are also grateful to God for the gift of 80 years of his life.”

Father Seremet died on Saturday, Aug. 14. He was a retired priest of the Diocese of Syracuse in residence at Sacred Heart Church. Father Seremet was born on Nov. 25, 1923 in Buffalo, the son of Stanley and Katherine (Runo) Seremet. He earned his bachleor’s degree in philosophy at St. Hyacinth College and Seminary, Granby, Mass., where he completed his studies for the priesthood. Prior to this, he began his training at St. Francis Minor Seminary at Athol Springs and his novitiate at Mt. St. Lawrence Novitiate in the Berkshires at Becket, Mass. He later attended St. Joseph Cupertino House of Philosophy in Ellicott City, Md. After completing his college and theological studies at St. Hyacinth Major Seminary, Father Seremet was ordained to the priesthood on June 16, 1951 in the Cathedral Church of St. Michael in Springfield, Mass.

Following ordination, Father Seremet served as a Franciscan in parish work in domestic missions (four years in Bessemer, Ala.) and foreign missions (six years in Montreal, Canada). In 1980, he was accepted by Bishop Frank Harrison to minister in the Diocese of Syracuse. He was assigned to St. Mary’s Church in Skaneateles and then went to St. Margaret’s Church in Mattydale as associate pastor. In July 1981, Father Seremet was appointed associate pastor of St. Francis de Sales Church in Utica.

Father Seremet was incardinated in the Diocese of Syracuse on Sept. 3, 1983. In 1986 he was assigned as administrator at St. Frances Cabrini Church in Lacona and St. Mary’s Church in Altmar. Afterwards, Father Seremet was appointed administrator of Corpus Christi Church in Nedrow and St. Patrick’s Church in Otisco. He also served at St. John the Baptist Church in Rome. As his last assignment Father Seremet served as chaplain of St. Joseph Nursing Home in Utica. He retired on Nov. 25, 1998. During the homily, Deacon John Lee of Sacred Heart Church remembered many things about Father Seremet, one of which was his positive attitude. “In this world, where there are so many reasons for being down, he was always up,” said Deacon Lee. “He was never depressed. He was one who was very optimistic about life itself and the opportunities that God gives.”

He commented on Father Seremet’s great devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary and the rosary. “He got a tape of the Holy Father praying the rosary,” Deacon Lee said. “Every morning I heard him reciting it. It was very inspirational.” On the day before Father Seremet died, he celebrated Mass for the last time, recalled Deacon Lee. “You could tell he wasn’t feeling all that well, but he still had a wonderful energy,” Deacon Lee said. “The way he would celebrate Mass was with great reverence.” Deacon Lee added that after Mass, Father Seremet stopped and greeted parishioners –– just like he always would. “He would connect with people in all different ways,” Deacon Lee said. “Whether it was a youngster that he was blessing during Mass or an older couple, he took time for everyone.” Robert Dassel, Father Seremet’s nephew, shared fond memories of his uncle. When he was five years old, Dassel attended Father Seremet’s ordination to the priesthood. The two developed a close relationship over the years and Dassel was in the pews when Father Seremet celebrated his first Mass at Corpus Christi Church in Buffalo. “My uncle and his relationship to me is very special and dear,” Dassel said. “I have thought of him a lot over my life because he was always there for me.”

Being a priest and serving God’s people made Father Seremet most happy, said Dassel. “He was doing exactly what he was meant to do and he was doing it so well,” he said. Father Seremet is survived by one sister, Anna Dassel of Pittsburgh, Pa.; two brothers, John Seremet of Buffalo and Edward Seremet of Lockport and several nieces, nephews, grandnieces and grandnephews. He was predeceased by a brother, Joseph Seremet. The Rite of Committal and Final Commendation took place at the Marian Mausoleum, St. Stanislaus Cemetery in Buffalo.

Contributions in Father Seremet’s memory may be made to Sacred Heart Church in Utica, the Franciscan Missions of St. Anthony Province, Baltimore, Md., the Vincentian Fathers Missions c/o Minister Provincial, Manchester, Conn., or the Western Pennsylvania School for the Blind Children, c/o Kathy Robinson-Dassel of Pittsburgh, Pa.

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