Compiled by Tom Maguire
Associate editor

PHOTO CREDITS: Photos used were taken by Catholic Sun staff and associates – special thanks go to Chuck Wainwright of Wainwright Photography for his many contributions to our efforts. Thank you, Chuck!

They spoke up and the report went out. The Diocese of Syracuse summarized the comments from 42 listening sessions at which people aired their hopes, dreams and concerns. The report was prepared for the 2023 World Synod of Bishops. Other key events last year included the reshaping of diocesan regions; the launching of the National Eucharistic Revival; the display of panels depicting Eucharistic miracles; ordinations; ambitious plans by Catholic Charities of Onondaga County to address homelessness and the opioid crisis; and expressions of charity, such as the donation of $50,000 for repairs to a late priest’s home so that a refugee family can live there. Here is the Sun’s review of 2022:


* Bishop Douglas J. Lucia reshaped diocesan regions and appointed Vicars Forane: Fathers Richard Prior, Andrew Baranski, John Kurgan, Sean O’Brien, Thomas Servatius, Joseph Zareski and James Serowik.

* Gregory Vaga is named as the new director of Lourdes Camp, following the retirement of Michael Preston, who served for 41 years.

* Hundreds gather in downtown Syracuse to peacefully March for Life in the annual event sponsored by the Syracuse Right to Life Association.

* Danielle House in Binghamton observes 20 years of helping patients’ families.

* The diocesan listening sessions in anticipation of the 2023 World Synod of Bishops are back in full swing. Twenty-five speakers share their hopes, dreams and concerns with Bishop Lucia at St. John the Baptist Church in Syracuse. “This is such a joyous evening,” one of the speakers, Le Moyne College President Dr. Linda M. LeMura, tells the Bishop.


February 17: Bishop Lucia blesses those gathered for a World Marriage Day celebration at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception.

* Long-married couples share tips on their successful relationships on World Marriage Day at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Syracuse. “A component of a good marriage is complete faith in one another and helping each other in whatever comes your way,” one of the attendees says.

* The Sun starts publishing the “Divine Comedy” cartoons of Deacon Dan Reynolds. His cartoon work is distributed nationally via greeting-card companies. “The cartoon ideas come from the Holy Spirit, so I kind of think of it as my having a ghost writer, the Holy Ghost writer,” he says.


* Close to 200 people gather at the Cathedral for a holy hour for peace. “Today, more than any nuclear threat that might be out there, I’m more concerned that we open ourselves to God,” Bishop Lucia says.

* Deacon Dan Stevens directs Syracuse Shakespeare-in-the-Park’s “A Man for All Seasons.” The show is based upon events leading up to the execution of St. Thomas More. “Deacons are called to have one foot in both the secular world and in the clerical world, so we’re expected to be out among the people,” Deacon Stevens says.

* Jim Ryan, recently named the head football coach for Bishop Ludden, talks about his love of the game. “We’re going to teach the game, we’re going to do it the right way, we’re going to create a family atmosphere,” he says. He replaces Mike Rogers, who for 36 years coached various sports at Ludden.

* Forty-two people take an important step toward initiation into Christ and his Church during the Rite of Election at the Cathedral.

* A Lenten Day of Renewal at Christ the King Retreat House and Conference Center is a “time to rest in God’s spirit.”

* The spring series of Theology on Tap kicks off with the theme of “The Great Resignation: Finding Stability in Christ and the Church.” Theology on Tap is for young adults in their 20s and 30s.

* The Seton Catholic Central Select Choir performs at several locations in Italy, including at the Holy Father’s Wednesday audience.

* Bishop Lucia presents a Lenten retreat. In the Eucharist, he says, we find “our food for the journey, … our nourishment which helps us to be transformed in Christ more and more.”

* Father Stanley M. Gerlock dies. He had told the Sun in 2020 that Bishop Walter A. Foery had “asked if I’d be obedient to the Lord and to him and to everybody around. And I said, ‘Joyfully!’”

* In Utica, the “Adorers” celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Eastern Region Perpetual Adoration Chapel.

* The underlying message of the IGNITE Catholic Men’s Conference is that faith is the cure for isolation.

* Father James A. Schultz prays in front of Planned Parenthood as the 40 Days for Life Syracuse Campaign reaches the midway point.

* Utica-born Maryknoll Father Edward F. Moore dies at age 90.

* Father Jason C. Hage’s new book, “The Cyrenian Way: Spiritual Poverty & The Art of Accompaniment,” is released.

April 14: Msgr. Eugene Yennock speaks to a Palm Sunday gathering of respect life volunteers outside Planned Parenthood.


* Catholic Charities of Onondaga County announces plans to use a three-acre parcel for a $12.85M project to help the homeless.

* Msgr. Eugene M. Yennock says a prayer, gives a blessing and sings a song at a 40 Days for Life Syracuse Campaign gathering in front of Planned Parenthood.

* The house that was owned by the late Father Anthony Keeffe is being fixed up so that a refugee family can move in; a couple donates $50,000 for the repairs.

* More than 150 women from across the diocese participate in two retreats in Syracuse and Johnson City.

* Sister Mary Celestine (Isabell) McCann, OSF, dies at 94 and is remembered for her strength, love and kindness.

* Bishop Lucia presides at Divine Mercy Parish on Divine Mercy Sunday. “The turnout was phenomenal,” Deacon Mark J. Berube says.

* Brian DuSell returns home to assume the Cathedral music reins.


* For Mother’s Day, Bishop Lucia writes that mothers remind us to be a light in the world.

* Christian Brothers Academy holds an outdoors ceremony to celebrate its state championships. Bowler Eliana Occhino had the highest average on the Section III all-star bowling team that won the state title. And the Brothers’ football team won the state Class A championship.

* Deputy Prime Minister of Poland Piotr Glinski visits the Cathedral. “The war in Ukraine is a very serious challenge for everybody in the world. … We have to support all efforts to stop the war,” he says.

* Sister Kathleen Osbelt, OSF, who founded Francis House, the home for the terminally ill, dies at the age of 71.

* “We ask you to strengthen us … as followers of the way,” Bishop Lucia says at the National Day of Prayer Program at the Onondaga County Courthouse.

* Seminarian James Buttner is ordained as a traditional deacon at Holy Family Church in Fairmount. He says, “There is a real wisdom in the Church, that the diaconate is always the foundational part of the sacrament of Holy Orders.”

* Ten men are ordained to the permanent diaconate at the Cathedral: Deacons Adeolu Ademoyo, Michael Carroll, Michael Casey, Louis Delsole, Dale Grey, Paul Heiland, Gregory Hrostowski, Stanley Olkowski, Robert Stanhope and Timothy Stedman.


* Bishop Lucia blesses the new Nancy J. Toscano Learning Center at Bishop Grimes Jr./Sr. High School.

* Bishop Lucia joins in the launching of the National Eucharistic Revival with a Mass at the Cathedral to coincide with Corpus Christi Sunday.


* The Diocese of Syracuse releases the summary report from 42 listening sessions conducted locally in preparation for the World Synod of Bishops in 2023. “People were so happy to be invited to share their hopes and dreams and concerns,” says Sister Katie Eiffe, the Diocesan Director of Synodal Planning.

* St. Patrick’s Church in Jordan celebrates its 125th anniversary. Bishop Lucia concelebrates the Mass with the pastor, Father John R. DeLorenzo. “This parish has been a blessing in every way,” Father DeLorenzo says.

* Lourdes North American Volunteers celebrates 20 years of service.

* Peter William Daino Jr., 69, who was an administrator for several years at All Saints Church in Syracuse, dies at the age of 69. “His whole life was making bridges between the Church in Africa and the Church in the United States, and very important that he was a Marianist brother,” says Father Frederick D. Daley, pastor of All Saints.

* Father Mark Kaminski is named the director of the Office of Permanent Deacon Formation for the diocese. The new associate director is Deacon Jeff Dean.


* Bishop Lucia observes his third anniversary leading the Diocese of Syracuse. “I am really blessed with wonderful collaborators in ministry,” he says.

* The Men in Black softball game in North Syracuse “highlights the human side of the Call and that the fruit of responding to God’s will in one’s life is joy and laughter,” says participant Father Jason Hage, the director of the Office of Vocation Promotion.

August 4 Fr. Jason Hage, director of the Office of Vocation Promotion, likes the “get your hands dirty” approach transitional Deacon James Buttner brings to ministry and the annual Men in Black softball game.

* Bishop Lucia hosts the annual vocations picnic at Christ the King Retreat House. “We like to think we are in control of our life and vocation, but God is driving the bus,” says Deacon Stanley Olkowski.

* Two seminarians receive the Rite of Candidacy at St. Mary–St. Peter Church in Rome: Benjamin Schrantz and Pawel Zmija. “They are a blessing,” Bishop Lucia says.

* Catechetical leaders learn more about their ministry at a workshop on the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults at Immaculate Conception Church in Fayetteville. Workshop leader Diana Macalintal tells the more than 100 attendees: “The principles that we’re talking about apply to any kind of seeker, anyone who is seeking anything from the Catholic Church.”


* St. Rose of Lima Church in North Syracuse dedicates a new entryway, the Father Kennedy Room, in memory of Father James Kennedy, whose military-chaplaincy service included two tours in Vietnam and the completion of more than 100 jumps with airborne units. He “was the people’s priest. Like players’ coach,” says the pastor, Father Christopher Celentano. Hundreds attend the dedication Mass, with Bishop Lucia leading the liturgy.

* Catholic Charities of Onondaga County announces the honorees for the 37th House of Providence Awards: Msgr. Charles J. Fahey, Jaime Alicea and Ann Rooney.

* Panels from the International Exhibition of the Eucharistic Miracles of the World, created by Blessed Carlo Acutis, amaze visitors at Holy Cross Church in DeWitt. “I think this is another means of increasing devotion to the Eucharist,” says one of the viewers of the exhibit, Bishop-emeritus Robert J. Cunningham.

* Eighteen Lay Ecclesial Ministers are commissioned to “play an increasing role” in the diocesan Church. “They are all open to what God calls them to and where their pastor might need them,” says Eileen Ziobrowski, director of the Office of Adult and Ministerial Formation.


* The diocese marks the 10th anniversaries of the canonizations of St. Marianne Cope and St. Kateri Tekakwitha.

* Father James E. Gehl dies at the age of 79. He was described as a very hard worker who was always very humble, soft-spoken and kind. Also a highly talented and self-taught painter, he ministered at several parishes and taught at Bishop Grimes High School.

October 13: Bishop Lucia greets a young girl at the diocesan altar server celebration.

* Father John P. Donovan, JCL, is elected president of the Board of Governors of the Canon Law Society of America. He is the pastor of Sacred Heart Church in Cicero and also the diocesan Vicar for Canonical Services and the Adjutant Judicial Vicar.

* Over 450 women from across the diocese and beyond travel to the Oncenter for the Syracuse Catholic Women’s Conference. Bishop Terry R. LaValley of the Ogdensburg Diocese speaks about the need to take time and pay attention to the poor, the hurting and the unnoticed, as well as to the promptings of the Holy Spirit in daily routines.

* Father Gerald J. Buckley, who had served since 1970 as a chaplain to the Binghamton Fire Department, dies at age 93. He was known as “FD No. 1.” He had also ministered in various parishes in the diocese. “He was very reverent and his personality was Christlike and sincere,” Deacon Gregory Hrostowski says.

* Father John F. Rose discusses the Spirituality of Aging at the Spiritual Renewal Center in Syracuse. He tells the gathering, “What’s the legacy we’re called to leave: compassion, forgiveness, gratitude.”

* Catholic Charities of Onondaga County announces that it has obtained a $750,000 grant to help the agency fight the local opioid crisis.

* Father Richard J. Kapral dies at the age of 78 and is remembered as “very fulfilled in his priesthood.” He had ministered in Syracuse, Utica, Waterville, Vernon, Oneida, Durhamville and Munnsville.


* “God is on our side,” sidewalk advocates for life hear at the closing ceremony for the 40 Days for Life Syracuse Campaign in front of Planned Parenthood. The motto for 40 Days is “The beginning of the end of abortion.”

* Three-hundred fifteen youths gather for the Diocesan Catholic Youth Conference at Sacred Heart Church in Cicero. Following what became known as the Synod on Young People in 2018, the Vatican requested that every diocese host an annual event on the Feast of Christ the King to allow youth to come together with the purpose of encountering Christ.

* Bishop Lucia blesses the Homeless Jesus sculpture near the front entrance of the Cathedral. The bronze sculpture depicts a life-size Homeless Jesus huddled under a blanket on a bench. Only his feet, showing wounds from the crucifixion, reveal his identity.

* Justine Testa, a fourth grade teacher at Notre Dame Elementary School, is one of the honorees at the Genesis Group Annual Celebration of Education in Whitesboro.

* More than 200 volunteers from all over the area package more than 20,000 meals for Rise Against Hunger at Church of the Holy Family in Endwell. Volunteers include youth from area churches and Seton Catholic Central High School as well as adults from local Catholic and non-Catholic churches.


* Bishop Lucia celebrates the White Mass for healthcare workers. Attending are members of the local St. Marian Cope Guild of the Catholic Medical Association and the Central New York/Syracuse Nurses Honor Guard.

* Bishop Lucia bestows the Rite of Candidacy on eight men aspiring to the permanent diaconate: Joseph Assaf, Jeffrey Dixe, Bernard Feldman, John MacGaffick, John Mihalko, Craig Rheaume, William Smith Jr. and William Sweeney.

December 8: Bishop Lucia blesses the Homeless Jesus statue in the garden area of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception.

* Close to 600 people shop for their children and family members at the annual Gift Giving event at St. Lucy Church in Syracuse. “It takes a large number of volunteers to ensure the event is successful,” says Marie Rothbaler.

* The Immaculata Awards at the Cathedral honor 115 volunteers representing 88 parishes across the diocese. “It’s very rewarding being a volunteer,” says recipient Cherie Edwards from St. Stephen Church in Phoenix, and her advice to all is to “go for it. You’ll get a lot out of it.”


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