Msgr. Ronald Bill, having served in a variety of ministries, says he has never been bored in his 60 years of priesthood.
A native of Our Lady of Pompei Parish in Syracuse and a graduate of Christian Brothers Academy, Msgr. Bill was ordained Feb. 2, 1957, following studies at St. Andrew’s and St. Bernard’s in Rochester.
His ministry has included service at Oswego Catholic High School, St. Joseph’s in Oswego, St. Mary of the Assumption in Binghamton, St. Thomas Aquinas in Binghamton, Sacred Heart Church in Cicero, St. Mary of Mt. Carmel in Utica, St. Anthony’s and St. Mary’s in Cortland, and St. Joseph’s in Lee Center, WHAT in Baldwinsville, St. Joseph’s in Camillus, Corpus Christi in South Onondaga, and St. Patrick’s in Otisco. He is currently in residence at Immaculate Conception in Fayetteville and though he is retired, he continues to serve at various parishes on weekends.
Msgr. Bill served as a chaplain in the Army National Guard, retiring as a brigadier general.
Msgr. Bill spent many years with Catholic Charities, serving as director of Oswego County Catholic Charities, assistant director and director of Broome County Catholic Charities, and diocesan Vicar for Community Services, leading the diocesan-wide mission of Catholic Charities.
He has also served as a member of the New York State Human Rights Commission, the Broome County Youth Bureau, the Broome County Urban League, and InterFaith Works.
Msgr. Bill began discerning his vocation while in high school, and he said it “feels like yesterday that I was ordained.” He called his time with Catholic Charities “the greatest experience of my life,” and said he’s enjoyed assisting and filling in at parishes over the last few years, as “it gives you a different perspective of the Church, the universality of it, because there are such wonderful people at every place I’ve gone.”
To a young person discerning a vocation, his advice is simple: “Pray about it. Think about it. And go for it.”
Father Vincent Kelly, marking 60 years of priesthood this year, says he’s always gotten a lot of joy out of his vocation.
A son of St. Francis de Sales Parish and Schools in Utica, Father Kelly went on to study at St. Andrew’s and St. Bernard’s in Rochester and was ordained for the diocese Feb. 2, 1957.
His service includes ministry at St. Patrick’s in Clayville, St. Paul’s in Oswego, St. Mary’s in Baldwinsville, St. Peter’s in Rome, St. Ann’s in Manlius, St. Theresa in New Berlin, St. Mary’s in Clinton, and St. Joseph’s in Oriskany Falls. He retired in 2011 and continues to assist on weekends.
Father Kelly also served on the diocese’s Priests’ Personnel Committee and as chaplain to the Rome Fire Department.
When he was in fifth or sixth grade, young Father Kelly would set up an altar at home and “play priest,” making his sisters come in for “Mass” (complete with homemade envelopes!), he recalled. He also enjoyed the privilege of serving as an altar server, something that helped his vocation, he noted. The example of his older brother, who was also ordained a priest, was an inspiration as well.
To a young person discerning a call to the religious life, Father Kelly advises, “Pray and keep it in mind. … To me it was a special vocation and an enjoyable vocation.”
Father John Quinn, celebrating 60 years since his ordination Feb. 2, 1957, says the priesthood is a wonderful life.
Father Quinn is a graduate of St. Anthony of Padua School in Syracuse. He completed seminary studies at St. Andrew’s and St. Bernard’s in Rochester.
Father Quinn served at St. Paul’s in Whitesboro for eight years before joining the faculty at Utica Catholic Academy, later Notre Dame. He taught for more than 20 years, mostly the Old Testament, he said.
After his time in the classroom, Father Quinn began ministering in parishes throughout the diocese. He served wherever needed — in total, some 74 different parishes, he said. “I was able to visit lots of places. … I loved it,” Father Quinn said, also noting that his travels allowed him to see some of the schools his father, an architect, built in the ’30s and ’40s.
Father Quinn is the only diocesan priest in the Diocese of Syracuse who is a member of the Discalced Carmelites, he said. Bishop Thomas J. Costello accepted his simple vows into the order in May 1993.
To a young man discerning the priesthood, Father Quinn advises not to be afraid, to pray, and to stay close to God. “The happiest day of your life is ordination day,” he said.