Diocesan priests celebrate anniversaries
by Claudia Mathis & LUKE EGGLESTON / sun staff writers
Father John Booth, Jr., pastor at St. Joseph in Deposit since 1995, is celebrating 25 years of priesthood. His home parish is St. Andrew in Binghamton. After graduating from North High School in 1965, Father Booth earned a bachelor’s degree at SUNY Albany. He completed his seminary work at St. Mary’s Seminary in Baltimore, Md.
Father Booth was ordained May 15, 1982. He began his ministry as an associate pastor at Holy Family in Syracuse in 1982. Father Booth also served as associate pastor at Our Lady of Angels in Endwell and at St. Rose of Lima in North Syracuse. In 1991, Father Booth took over as chaplain at Wilson Memorial Hospital in Johnson City.
Today, in addition to serving as pastor at St. Joseph’s, Father Booth is chaplain at Greater Binghamton Health Center and serves as administrator at Our Lady of Lourdes in Windsor.
Reflecting on his priesthood, Father Booth said the last 25 years have been good for him. “They’ve been challenging and demanding,” said Father Booth, “But I’ve grown — I’ve developed my listening skills and I’ve learned how to accept, depend on and appreciate the support of my parishioners.”
Father Thomas Catucci, pastor at St. Mary in Kirkwood, is celebrating 25 years of priesthood. Looking back, Father Catucci said, “It’s been a wonderful privilege to be able to serve God and to serve his people.”
Father Catucci’s home parish is St. Patrick in Binghamton. After graduating from Maine-Endwell Senior High School in 1964, Father Catucci attended St. John Fisher College in Rochester. He completed his seminary work at Christ the King Seminary in East Aurora, N.Y. Father Catucci was ordained May 15, 1982. His first assignment was as associate pastor at St. Charles Borromeo in Syracuse in June 1982. He was then assigned in 1983 to Our Lady of Good Counsel in Endicott. In 1987, Father Catucci began a nine-year term serving as director of the Teen Seminar in Binghamton before beginning in his current position at St. Mary.
Father Gregory Le Strange, pastor at St. Joseph in Camillus since 2006, is also celebrating 25 years of priesthood. His home parish is St. Thomas Aquinas in Binghamton. After graduating from Catholic Central High School in Binghamton in 1974, Father Le Strange attended Le Moyne College, graduating in 1978. He completed his seminary work at Toronto School of Theology and was ordained at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception May 15, 1982.
After his ordination, Father Le Strange’s first assignment was to serve as parochial vicar at St. John the Baptist in Syracuse. Father Le Strange also served as parochial vicar at Sacred Heart in Cicero and St. Mary in Baldwinsville. In 1994, Father Le Strange was assigned as pastor at Immaculate Conception Church in Fayetteville, where he served until assuming his current position as pastor at St. Joseph.
Father Darr Schoenhofen, pastor at St. Stephen in Phoenix since 2002, is celebrating 25 years in the priesthood. A native of Elmira and a graduate of Horseheads High School, the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Syracuse became Father Schoenhofen’s home parish when he attended Syracuse University after graduating from high school in 1968. After completing one year of seminary work at St. Bernard’s, Father Schoenhofen continued his studies at North American College in Rome, Italy where he earned an advanced degree in dogmatic theology. After his ordination in Rome, Italy May 20, 1982, Father Schoenhofen served as parochial vicar at St. James in Cazenovia from 1983 to 1987. Following a sabbatical, he held the position of academic dean at North American College in Rome from 1992 to 1997. In 1997, Father Schoenhofen was assigned to Our Lady of Good Counsel in Endicott as both parochial vicar and administrator. From 1998 to 2000, he served as administrator at St. Joan of Arc in Morrisville and St. Theresa of the Infant Jesus in Munnsville. From 2000 to 2002, Father Schoenhofen served as pastor at St. John the Evangelist in New Hartford. He has served on the diocesan priests’ personnel committee since 2005. Looking back on his years of ministry, Father Schoenhofen said, “I’m grateful for the blessings from the Lord and for the gift of priesthood.”
Father Jon Werner, pastor at St. John the Baptist and Holy Trinity in Syracuse since 2004, is also celebrating 25 years of priesthood. Reflecting on the last 25 years, Father Werner said the experience has been enjoyable. “I’m impressed with the good faith and good works of the people I’ve come in contact with,” said Father Werner.
Father Werner’s home parish is St. John in Utica. After graduating from Utica Free Academy in 1971, Father Werner earned degrees from Mohawk Community College and SUC at Utica/Rome. He completed his seminary work at Christ the King Seminary in East Aurora. After Father Werner’s ordination on May 15, 1982 at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, he was assigned to St. Anthony of Padua in Endicott as associate pastor. He continued in the same capacity at St. John in Utica and the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. In 1997, Father Werner began serving as pastor at Christ the King in Liverpool until his present assignment.
Father William Jones, pastor at St. Therese the Little Flower and Our Lady of Solace in Syracuse, is celebrating 40 years of priesthood. His home parish is St. Brigid and St. Joseph in Syracuse. After graduating from St. John the Evangelist School in 1959, Father Jones attended St. Jerome’s College in Ontario, Canada and graduated with a bachelor’s degree from St. Bonaventure University. He completed his seminary work at Christ the King Seminary at St. Bonaventure University, earning a master of divinity degree. Father Jones also studied on the graduate level at various universities.
Father Jones was ordained May 20, 1967 at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. He began his ministry as pastoral associate in 1967 at St. John the Baptist in Syracuse and then went on to serve in the same capacity at St. Anthony of Padua in Endicott. In 1978, Father Jones was appointed Catholic chaplain at Broome Community College in Binghamton. During the time he was in Binghamton, Father Jones also served as chaplain at Broome County Jails and the director of the Southern Tier Marriage Encounter Program. Beginning in 1983, Father Jones served as pastor at Most Holy Rosary in Maine. He has also served as pastor at Our Lady of Solace in Syracuse since 1994 and at St. Therese the Little Flower since 2002. Over the years, Father Jones has served on the diocesan Continuing Education for Clergy and Priest Personnel committees.
Father James Quinn, celebrating 40 years of priesthood, has served in many capacities throughout the diocese. His home parish is St. James in Binghamton. His post secondary education includes studies at SUNY Binghamton and seminary work at St. Andrew and St. Bernard in Rochester. Father Quinn also received training in sign language.
After his ordination at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Syracuse May 20, 1967, Father Quinn served as the summer associate pastor at St. Vincent de Paul in Binghamton in 1967. Following that, he served on the faculty of Catholic Central High School in Binghamton. In 1969, he was a member of the faculty at Seton High School. He then served as associate pastor at St. John the Baptist in Rome and Our Lady of Lourdes in Syracuse. Father Quinn also served as administrator at Christ the King in Endwell before serving as pastor at St. Patrick in Binghamton. In 1994, Father Quinn served as temporary associate pastor at St. Paul in Binghamton. Father Quinn’s special assignments include serving as diocesan chaplain for the deaf and chaplain for the Apostolate of the Deaf at Catholic Central High School.
Msgr. J. Robert Yeazel, pastor at Holy Cross in Dewitt since 2000, is celebrating 40 years in the priesthood. His home parish is St. Daniel in Syracuse. After graduating from Christian Brothers Academy in 1959, Msgr. Yeazel earned his bachelor’s degree from St. Bernard’s Seminary in
Rochester in 1963. He completed his priesthood studies at St. Andrew and St. Bernard Seminaries in 1967. In 1972, Msgr. Yeazel earned a master’s degree in child and family studies at Syracuse University and a master of divinity at St. Bernard’s in 1976.
After his ordination May 20, 1967 at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Syracuse, Msgr. Yeazel served as associate pastor at St. Patrick in Binghamton from 1967 to 1970. He then served as associate pastor at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Syracuse. Msgr. Yeazel’s subsequent assignments include secretary to Auxiliary Bishop Harrison and Bishop Cunningham; vice chancellor, priest personnel director, secretary to Bishop Harrison as Ordinary; chancellor; vicar for administration; CFO of the Diocese of Syracuse; pastor at Immaculate Conception in Fayetteville; Regional Episcopal Vicar for Onondaga and Cortland Counties; Vicar for Priests; co-chaplain at St. Anthony’s Motherhouse in Syracuse; Vicar Forane of the Western Region; Knight of the Holy Sepulchre and Chaplain to Benedict XVI.
Msgr. Yeazel is presently serving on the diocesan finance committee, clerical fund board, board of directors at Le Moyne College, chaplain at New York State Troopers’ Foundation, Presbyterial Council and the board of diocesan consultors. Msgr. Yeazel has formerly served on many other committees and boards, including the Syracuse Interreligious Council and Francis House.
Father Edward Reimer, pastor at St. Patrick in Chittenango since 2002, is celebrating 40 years of priesthood. His home parish is Blessed Sacrament in Syracuse. After graduating from St. John’s Catholic Academy in Syracuse in 1958, Father Reimer attended St. Andrew and St. Bernard, completing his seminary work at St. Bernard.
Father Reimer’s first assignment after being ordained May 20, 1967 at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception was as assistant pastor at St. Mark in Utica. From 1969 through 1971, Father Reimer served in the same capacity at St. Cecilia in Solvay. In 1971, as a member of the St. James Society, he was sent to Guayaquil, Ecuador, to serve as pastor at St. Helena Church. In 1975, Father Reimer returned to the U.S. to serve at St. Ann in Manlius as assistant pastor. He then served as pastor at St. Margaret in Mattydale. From 1989 to 2003, Father Reimer served St. Therese in Syracuse as pastor, while at the same time, from 1998 through 2003, he served as pastor at St. Andrew in Syracuse.
Father Reimer served as chaplain at the Onondaga County Department of Correction facility in Jamesville from 1988 through 1991 and periodically from 1993 up until the present.
Father John Ahern, pastor at Immaculate Heart of Mary since 1995, is also celebrating 40 years of priesthood.
Father Ahern’s home parish is St. Lucy in Syracuse. After graduating from St. Lucy’s School in 1953, Father Ahern attended Syracuse University. Then he served in the U.S. Army for two years. Father Ahern also attended Dehon Seminary of the Sacred Heart in Massachusetts and St. Bernard, where he completed his seminary work. Father Ahern was ordained at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception May 20, 1967.
Father Ahern began his ministerial career as an associate pastor at St. John in Pulaski. Following that, he served as assistant pastor at St. Margaret in Mattydale and St. James in Syracuse. In 1979, Father Ahern served as associate pastor at Holy Cross in Dewitt. In 1986 he became pastor of Most Holy Rosary in Syracuse, where he served until 1995.
Special assignments Father Ahern has held include serving as chaplain at the Nedrow, Liverpool, Dewitt and Hinsdale Fire Departments. Father Ahern has also served as the New York State Prior of Youth and in the Knights of Columbus. In addition, Father Ahern has served as the national chaplain of the Ancient Order of Hibernians. He has also served the Hibernians on the local level.
Father Ahern said his years as a priest have been joyful. “I’m still overwhelmed by the fact that God called me to serve,” said Father Ahern.
Msgr. Ronald Bill is celebrating his 50th year in the priesthood. During his five decades, Msgr. Bill has held a variety of positions and experiences in the diocese.
“It’s been 50 wonderful years,” he said. “I’ve done every possible type of job. It’s been like going to college every day.”
He was born in Liverpool and attended Our Lady of Pompei School in Syracuse. He obtained his high school diploma from Christian Brothers Academy.
Msgr. Bill was ordained Feb. 2, 1957 after concluding his seminary work at St. Andrew’s and St. Bernard’s in Rochester. Msgr. Bill’s career began as an associate at St. Joseph’s in Oswego in 1957. In 1958, he took over as the director of Oswego County Catholic Charities while serving on the staff at Oswego Catholic High School.
In1963 he was assigned to an associate pastorate at St. Mary of the Assumption in Binghamton. While in the Southern Tier, Msgr. Bill took over as the assistant director of Broome County Catholic Charities. In 1968 he moved into residence at St. Thomas Aquinas Parish and, in 1970, he became the director of Broome County Catholic Charities.
He was designated monsignor in 1973.
Msgr. Bill assumed his first pastorate in 1978 at St. Mary of the Assumption Church in Binghamton, while retaining his position with Catholic Charities. One year later, he returned to Syracuse to take over as the Diocesan Vicar for Community Services, heading up the diocesan-wide mission of Catholic Charities.
Msgr. Bill became the pastor at Sacred Heart Parish in Cicero before retiring in 2001. He was assigned as administrator at St. Mary of Mt. Carmel in Utica in 2002. He is currently in residence at Immaculate Conception Church in Fayetteville.
Msgr. Bill has been very active in the InterReligious Council (now called Interfaith Works), including a stint as president. He is still on the organization’s board of directors as well as the boards at St. Joseph’s Hospital and his alma mater, CBA.
Father Gerald Buckley’s career took him to all corners of the diocese before his retirement in 2004.
Father Buckley, who was ordained May 18, 1957, celebrates his 50th jubilee this year.
After graduating from St. Paul’s School in Binghamton, he attended St. Bonaventure University before leaving for Christ the King Seminary in East Aurora, N.Y.
Father Buckley initially served as an assistant pastor at St. Paul’s in Binghamton, St. Joseph’s in Oneida and St. Rose of Lima in North Syracuse. Father Buckley’s final assistant position was at St. John’s in Binghamton.
His first pastorate was at Corpus Christi Parish in South Onondaga. During the same time, he served at St. Patrick’s Mission Church in Otisco. In 1977, Father Buckley took over at St. Joseph’s Church in Deposit. Ten years later, he was assigned to the same position at St. Andrew’s in Binghamton.
In retirement, Father Buckley remains very busy. He is still active as the New York State Professional Firefighters Association chaplain. Father Buckley also holds a seat on the board of visitors at the Binghamton Health Center as well as the board of directors at the Broome County Catholic Charities.
Father Buckley’s special assignments included serving as the chaplain for the Binghamton Fire Department and as the part-time chaplain at the Binghamton Psychiatric Center.
“The priesthood is a ministry where you’re serving all people at all levels,” Father Buckley said. “I had an opportunity to serve people in a variety of environments.”
Father Daniel DeLorme had an unusual career in the priesthood, spending the last 30 years at one parish, St. Margaret’s in Homer.
“I have been very happy and particularly enjoyed working with the lay people at St. Margaret’s in Homer,” Father DeLorme said.
He attended Cazenovia Central School before going through his seminary work at St. Andrew’s and St. Bernard’s in Rochester. Father DeLorme was ordained Feb. 2, 1957 and two weeks later was assigned as an assistant at St. Margaret’s in Homer. Within one year he became the assistant at St. Cecilia’s in Solvay. In 1966 he was assigned assistant pastor at St. Anthony of Padua in Syracuse and then took on the same role at St. Rose of Lima in North Syracuse in 1970.
Father DeLorme was assigned his first pastorate, taking over at St. Frances X. Cabrini in Lacona in 1972.
In 1976, Father DeLorme finally returned to the church he would call home for three decades, St. Margaret’s.
Father Edward Hayes is celebrating his 50th jubilee this year. Ordained May 18, 1957, Father Hayes attended St. Andrew’s and St. Bernard’s Seminaries and the Theological College in Washington, D.C.
A native of Syracuse who attended St. Patrick’s School, Father Hayes’ first assignment was as associate pastor at St. Mary’s in Clinton and then St. Rose of Lima in North Syracuse.
Father Hayes served as assistant chancellor before going to Catholic University in Washington, D.C., to study canon law. In 1970, Father Hayes served on the marriage tribunal before being assigned his first pastorate at Our Lady of Solace in Syracuse. Father Hayes moved to Chadwicks in 1994 where he became the pastor at St. Anthony of Padua.
A native of Utica, Father Vincent Kelly has been the pastor at St. Joseph’s in Oriskany Falls since 1992.
He was ordained Feb. 2, 1957 after attending St. Andrew’s and St. Bernard’s Seminaries. He attended St. Francis de Sales for both his primary and secondary education.
Father Kelly’s first assignment was at St. Patrick’s in Clayville where he served for one year as parochial vicar. From 1958 through 1973, Father Kelly served as parochial vicar at St. Paul’s in Oswego, St. Mary’s in Baldwinsville, St. Peter’s in Rome and, finally, at St. Ann’s in Manlius.
From 1973 to 1975, Father Kelly served at St. Theresa in New Berlin and then St. Mary in Clinton before finally taking over at St. Joseph. Father Kelly’s served on the priest personnel committee and as chaplain for the Rome Fire Department.
Father Kelly said that the most memorable aspect of his service to the church has been the dramatic changes brought on in the wake of the Second Vatican Council.
“It’s been exciting if nothing else, with all the changes in the church,” Father Kelly said. “It’s been an exciting 50 years.”
Father Laurence Kennedy has served at parishes throughout the Syracuse Diocese. He is celebrating his 50th year as a priest since his ordination Feb. 2, 1957.
Growing up in Syracuse, his home parish was St. Patrick’s and he attended the attached schools before moving on to St. Andrew’s and St. Bernard’s Seminaries.
After his ordination, Father Kennedy’s first assignment was as associate pastor at Our Lady of the Rosary in New Hartford. Just a few months later, however, he took a position as associate pastor at Our Lady of Lourdes in Utica.
In 1967, Father Kennedy began serving as the part-time chaplain at Mohawk Valley Community College and that same year he moved to St. Vincent de Paul in Syracuse, where he served as associate pastor. Later in 1967, Father Kennedy became the associate pastor at Holy Family in Fulton. In 1968, he took over as associate at St. Paul’s in Rome.
In 1970, Father Kennedy assumed a position on the faculty at Bishop Ludden High School. He was heavily involved in the marriage tribunal as defender of the bond, judge and officialis before becoming the pastor at St. Brigid/St. Joseph in Syracuse.
Like many priests of the Syracuse Diocese, Father Joseph Larkin studied for the seminary at St. Andrew’s and St. Bernard’s. He graduated from St. Anthony’s School in Syracuse.
Father Larkin was an assistant pastor at St. Ann’s in Syracuse and at St. Patrick’s in Oneida and then at St. Brigid’s and St. Anthony of Padua, both in Syracuse. His final assistant position was at St. Mark’s in Utica.
Father Larkin’s first pastorate was at Our Lady of the Rosary in Hannibal in 1972. In 1975 he took over as the pastor at Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Minetto and he has served there ever since.
The 1960s featured extensive changes in the church as the spirit of Vatican II took hold. Father James Lauducci, who was ordained May 18, 1957, said that the church community helped him adapt to the new times.
“The church has experienced much change and growth in the past 50 years, and the ministerial priesthood helped me to change and grow with it,” Father Lauducci said, reflecting on his 50 years in the priesthood.
Born in Syracuse, Father Lauducci’s home parish is Our Lady of Pompei and he attended North High School before going to Le Moyne College. Father Lauducci completed his seminary work at Christ the King in East Aurora, N.Y., and also at St. Jerome’s in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada.
Father Lauducci’s first assignment was as the assistant pastor at St. Mary of the Assumption Parish in Binghamton. Three years later, he was assigned as assistant pastor at St. Cecilia’s in Solvay.
In 1963 he took up residence at St. John’s Parish in Rome while teaching at Rome Catholic High School. For four years he was assigned the chaplaincy at the Newman Center at Utica College. From 1971 to 1978, Father Lauducci served as the executive director of Marriage Encounter in Utica. While retaining his position at Utica College, Father Lauducci became the chaplain at SUNYIT College in 1989 until his retirement in 1999.
Father Angelo Libera has served throughout the Syracuse Diocese during the past 50 years since his ordination Feb. 2, 1957.
After graduating from Solvay High School, he attended seminary at St. Andrew’s and St. Bernard’s.
Father Libera served as assistant at both St. John the Baptist in Rome and then St. Francis de Sales in Utica in 1962 before entering the armed forces as a chaplain in 1963.
Father Libera was released from his responsibilities as a chaplain in the U.S. Navy in 1989 and has been on call ever since, serving in a number of parishes in a variety of capacities, while residing at St. Anthony of Padua.
“It’s [the priesthood is] the best thing that ever happened to me,” Father Libera said. “God doesn’t owe me a nickel.”
Father John Quinn is celebrating his 50th jubilee since his ordination Feb. 2, 1957.
A native of New Hartford, Father Quinn’s career was linked to education throughout the early years of his priesthood.
A graduate of St. Anthony of Padua School in Syracuse, Father Quinn attended seminary at St. Andrew’s and St. Bernard’s.
From 1957 to 1965 he served as associate pastor at St. Paul’s in Whitesboro and in 1965 he took up residence at St. Peter’s in Utica while he was on the faculty at Utica Catholic Academy, which would soon merge with Notre Dame.
Although he said he “enjoyed teaching very, very much,” Father Quinn asked if he could make a career shift after spending over two decades in the classroom. Since 1986, Father Quinn has been in residence at St. Thomas in New Hartford, working throughout the diocese wherever he is needed. Father Quinn said he has celebrated Mass in some 64 parishes in all four regions, many of them more than once.
“I love this work and I’m going to continue as long as the Lord let’s me do it and my health holds out,” Father Quinn said.
In addition to teaching and his pastoral duties, Father Quinn has a unique claim as the only priest in the Syracuse Diocese who is a member of the Discalced Carmelite Secular Order. He took his vows for that order in May 1993.
A native of Poland, Father Tadeuz Rudnik studied at the University of Lubin before his ordination April 6, 1957.
Father Rudnik’s first assignment in the Syracuse Diocese was as parochial vicar at Sacred Heart and St. Stephen’s, both in Syracuse, in 1993.
Father Rudnik, who is celebrating his 50th jubilee year, then served at St. Michael’s Church in Fulton for two years. In 2002, he took over as administrator at St. Patrick’s and St. Mary’s in Forestport and Otter Lake respectively. In 2003, he became the administrator at St. Stephen’s in Marathon and Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Cincinnatus.
He still serves as the chaplain at Pharsalia and Georgetown Prisons.
“I am glad I went to the seminary and served God and the people — absolutely,” Father Rudnik said. “I am sure that I served in the best possible way.”
A native of Solvay, Father Matthew Wieczorek is celebrating his 50th year in the priesthood.
His home parish is Sacred Heart in Syracuse and he attended the Cathedral Academy before moving on to the seminary at St. Mary’s and Ss. Cyril and Methodius, both in Orchard Lake.
Father Wieczorek’s first assignment was as associate at St. Casimir in Endicott in 1957. He also served as an associate pastor at St. Margaret’s in Mattydale from 1965 to 1968 and then Holy Trinity in Utica from 1968 to 1973. He also taught at Seton Catholic High School in Endicott from 1957 to 1965. In addition, Father Wieczorek served as the chaplain for the Catholic Daughters of America in Rome, N.Y.
Father Wieczorek’s first pastorate was spent at St. Casimir in Endicott from 1973 to 1987. He then took over as pastor at St. Stanislaus in Binghamton until he was assigned to Transfiguration Church in Rome from 1997 to 1999. He returned to St. Casimir in Endicott in 1999.
“I’ve been preaching how to become a saint — to do the right thing at the right time,” Father Wieczorek said. “I’m grateful to God for the priesthood and the people and their prayers over the last 50 years.”
Msgr. William Kelly, now retired, is being recognized for 60 years of priesthood. His home parish is St. Francis de Sales in Utica. After graduating from St. Francis de Sales High School in 1940, Msgr. Kelly attended St. Bonaventure. He completed his seminary work at St. BernardSeminary. Msgr. Kelly was ordained May 15, 1947 at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. He began ministering as an associate pastor to the parishioners of St. Catherine in Binghamton. Two years later, Msgr. Kelly began to serve as associate pastor at St. Joseph in Oswego and then at Most Holy Rosary in Syracuse. From 1964 to 1968, Msgr. Kelly served as pastor at Immaculate Conception in Greene. He also served as pastor at Our Lady of Sorrows in Vestal and St. Paul in Rome.
Msgr. Kelly was named Honorary Prelate to Pope Paul His Holiness on Dec. 23, 1974. “It was a great honor,” said Msgr. Kelly.
Msgr. Kelly’s special assignments include serving as Regional Episcopal Vicar in Rome, N.Y., on the diocesan board of consultors and on the executive committee of the Priest CCD. He also served as chaplain at the Legion of Mary in Rome and at the Knights of Columbus in Vestal.
Reflecting on his years as a priest, Msgr. Kelly said the period was a time of change. “I welcomed it,” he said, “especially when the Mass was changed over to the English vernacular and there was a decentralization of power.”
The celebration of Msgr. Kelly’s anniversary will coincide with the 50th anniversary of St. Paul’s Parish.
Msgr. Frank Sammons, now retired, is celebrating 60 years in the priesthood. He was named Honorary Prelate to Pope Paul VI on Dec. 21, 1971.
Msgr. Sammons home parish is St. Vincent de Paul in Syracuse. He graduated from St. Vincent de Paul School in 1938. His post secondary education included studies at Niagara University and St. Bernard Seminary. Msgr. Sammons completed his seminary work at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. He continued with graduate work at Catholic University and eventually earned certification as a social worker.
After his ordination May 15, 1947, Msgr. Sammons served as parochial vicar at St. John the Baptist in Syracuse from 1947 to 1953. He then became the assistant director of the CYO in Syracuse and eventually became the diocesan director of the organization. Msgr. Sammons served as pastor at St. Patrick in Syracuse from 1968 until he retired in 1995.
Msgr. Sammons’ special assignments include serving as president of the National Conference of Catholic Youth Service Agencies and as director of Lourdes Camp and CYO. Msgr. Sammons also served as chaplain to the Onondaga County Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and Camp Fire Girls. In addition, Msgr. Sammons served as minister to retired priests, the diocesan youth director and as a member of the Metropolitan Church Board.
Looking back on his years in the priesthood, Msgr. Sammons fondly recalled the years 1953 to 1971, when he served as director of the Syracuse Parochial League, a sports league comprised of 10 parochial schools. “I enjoyed it because I was an athlete myself,” said Msgr. Sammons. He was elected to the Greater Syracuse Sports Hall of Fame in 1993.