Still Saying “Yes”

Father Robert Ours of Seton Catholic
Central High School celebrates 30 years in the priesthood

By Katie Truillo
SCCHS Class of 2012

BINGHAMTON — At a time when the Catholic Church is experiencing a crisis of vocations, Father Robert Ours is celebrating a momentous occasion in his ministry. On October 25th, 2010, Father Ours, of St. Joseph Church in Endicott and teacher at Seton Catholic Central High School, marked his 30th anniversary to the priesthood with a beautiful Mass held at SCCHS. Seton faculty, staff and students joined in the celebration along with several area Catholic school principals and distinguished guests, including Ms. Angela Tierno, principal of All Saints Seton in Endicott, Mrs. Mary Ellen Kelley, principal of St. John the Evangelist School in Binghamton, and the Assistant Superintendent of Catholic schools, Mrs. Joann Rowan. Also taking part in the anniversary Mass were Father Charles Opondo-Owora, pastor of St. Joseph Church in Endicott, Father John Donovan and Father Christopher Ballard from St. James Church in Johnson City, Father  Thomas Hobbes, and Father Joseph O’Connor from the Diocese Vocations Office in Syracuse.

While delivering the homily, Father Ours touched on his inspiration for joining the priesthood. Father Ours said that he was first called to the priesthood in the fifth grade. As a child, he felt like he was surrounded by the finest priests and sisters of the diocese. He was attracted to them because they seemed so fulfilled in their lifestyle and they encouraged him to pursue a vocation which turned into a 30-year commitment to serving and ministering at parishes in the capacity of parish priest and at Seton as a teacher of theology. The SCCHS community has been blessed to have Father Ours on the faculty for 22 years. He has been a teacher to whom all of the students could look up to; he offers a daily Mass at 7:30 a.m. for not only students and faculty, but also the people in the surrounding community. Father Ours served at many parishes over the course of his priesthood and is currently in-residence at St. Joseph’s Parish.

Several members of Seton’s present faculty were once students of Father Ours. Mr. Thomas McDonough, Mr. Patrick Monachino, Ms. Colleen Curtin, Mrs. Sophia Rittenhouse, Mr. Michael Manni and Mrs. Kristen Kinner all made touching speeches to Father Ours about how he has touched all of their lives and the deep respect they have for him. Mr. Richard Paden, a retired Seton teacher, also commented on Father Ours’ dedication to teaching. Father Ours is undoubtedly someone everyone in the SCCHS community looks up to and this was the predominant theme among the speakers. He inspires students, faculty and staff alike to be the best they can be and Seton is very blessed to have him. As a token of appreciation during the Mass, SCCHS Student Council and the Class Officers presented Father Ours with a Saints sweatshirt and a check to be donated to a scholarship fund in Father Ours’ name.

Miss Kathleen Dwyer, principal of SCCHS, remarked how fortunate Seton is to have Father Ours. “He is one of the pillars of the Seton Catholic Central School Community. He offers a strong spiritual direction to our students, faculty and staff,” she said, pointing out that Father Ours chose the song “I Say Yes, My Lord,” as the responsorial psalm for his anniversary Mass. As the words of the song say, Father Ours has said yes to the Lord for 30 years and all who have met him are grateful for his many years of ministry.

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