Celebrating 65 years
Monsignor Ronald Bill
A priest, a general, a chaplain, a charity director and more; Liverpool native Monsignor Ronald Bill has a long and distinguished record of service to the people of God in the Diocese of Syracuse.
Msgr. Bill’s family worshiped at Our Lady of Pompei Church on Syracuse’s North Side. He attended Christian Brothers Academy, St. Andrew’s and St. Bernard’s seminaries in Rochester and was ordained in February 1957.
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 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. Now retired, he is in residence at Immaculate Conception Church in Fayetteville.
Msgr. Bill served as a chaplain in the Army National Guard, retiring as a brigadier general. He also 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 diocesanwide 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.
Father R. Daniel DeLorme
Father Delorme’s family lived in Cazenovia when he was born, parishioners of St. James Church. Ordained in February 1957, Father DeLorme attended St. Andrew’s and St. Bernard’s seminaries in Rochester.
His service to the diocese began and ended in the same parish, St. Margaret’s Church in Homer. He was assigned there temporarily for several months as an assistant after ordination and returned there as pastor in 1976, serving then for 35 years until his retirement in 2011. At his 60th jubilee, Fr. DeLorme said that he “loved it there.”
In between his service at St. Margaret’s, Father also served as an assistant at St. Cecilia’s in Solvay, St Anthony of Padua in Syracuse and St. Rose of Lima in North Syracuse. He was pastor of St. Francis Xavier Cabrini Church in Lacona before being named to the same position at St. Margaret’s.
Father Gerald Buckley
Father Buckley is a Southern Tier native whose family were parishioners of St. Paul’s Church in Binghamton. His seminary years began with his study of philosophy at St. Bonaventure University before attending Christ the King Seminary in East Aurora, culminating in ordination in May 1957.
Father Buckley has served all around the diocese. He was an assistant at his home parish of St. Paul’s before serving in the same position at St. Joseph’s in Oneida and St. Rose of Lima in North Syracuse. He was named pastor of Corpus Christi Parish in South Onondaga and their mission church, St. Patrick’s in Otisco, in 1973. He returned home to Binghamton when he was named pastor of St. Andrew’s Parish in 1987. He served there until his retirement in 1999.
Father Buckley also served as chaplain to the Binghamton Fire Department and was state chaplain to NY Firefighters in 1999.
Celebrating 60 years
Father James Mathews
His parishioners at St. Lucy’s and Near Westside community members know him best as Father Jim. Father Mathews was born in Solvay and his journey to priesthood started at Christian Brothers Academy followed by philosophy studies at Holy Cross College and seminary studies at St. Bernard’s in Rochester. He was ordained in February 1962.
Father Mathews’ assignments kept him relatively close to home. He served as an assistant at Immaculate Heart of Mary in Liverpool, St. Patrick in Syracuse and St. Ann in Manlius before taking on associate pastor duties at St. Daniel in Lyncourt and St. Rose of Lima in North Syracuse. His first pastoral assignment was at St. Charles of Borromeo in Westvale before being named pastor of St. Lucy’s in 1991. He has served there since and took on the additional role of pastor of St. Andrew’s in Syracuse in 2002.
Father Mathews’ work in the parish neighborhoods is well known in the community as St. Lucy’s is known for its welcoming posture. Father has also been instrumental in the Near Westside Initiative, an effort on the part of a number of organizations and government agencies to breathe new life into the area.
Father Walter Florczyk
Father Florczyk was born on the east side of Syracuse and his family worshiped at Transfiguration Church, known in the area for its Eastern European heritage. Father’s preparatory and seminary studies were completed in Orchard Lake, Mich., at Saints Cyril & Methodius Seminary, known for its history of preparing seminarians of Eastern European, mainly Polish, descent for the priesthood. He was ordained in May 1962.
His priestly service began as a temporary assistant pastor at St. Mary’s Church in Cleveland on the north shore of Oneida Lake before being named assistant at Holy Trinity parish in Utica. He served in the same position at Transfiguration Church in Rome, the Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in Syracuse and as an associate pastor, returning to Utica’s Holy Trinity parish. He was named pastor of St. Francis Church in Lacona and as administrator of St. Joseph’s in Oriskany Falls. Father Florczyk has been on leave for health reasons in recent years.
Celebrating 50 years
Father John Rose
Father Rose has contributed much to the Diocese of Syracuse and beyond in his 50 years of ordained service. Father is a native of New Hartford and did his pre-seminary philosophy studies at St. Andrew Minor Seminary in Rochester and Wadhams Hall in Ogdensburg before attending Christ the King Seminary in East Aurora. He was ordained in May 1972.
Father Rose’s first assignments were as an associate pastor at St. Charles in Westvale, Most Holy Rosary in Syracuse and St. Margaret’s in Mattydale before serving as director of Aquinas House, a residence for Le Moyne College students studying philosophy in preparation for the priesthood. He next returned to parish life as pastor of St. Augustine’s in Baldwinsville where he served for 12 years, followed by a move to Utica as pastor of St. Mary of Mount Carmel and Blessed Sacrament parishes.
In 2009 Father Rose began a three-year assignment on staff at St. Luke’s Institute in Maryland, a healing ministry devoted to the psychological and spiritual needs of clergy. Father returned to Syracuse as temporary administrator of St. Vincent DePaul parish and as director of Christ the King Retreat House.
Father Rose retired in 2019 but remains very active locally as a spiritual director as well as presenting various programs to groups and parishes. As he told The Catholic Sun when he retired, he was looking forward to time “just to reflect, and to be, and to enjoy.”
Father E. Peter Reddick
Father Reddick’s first thoughts of a vocation were about the possibility of teaching as a religious brother. “After two years in college, I realized that it was a calling to the priesthood,” he adds.
Father’s college studies in philosophy started at Utica College in the city where he grew up. He moved on to Wadhams Hall in Ogdensburg to complete his initial studies before attending Christ the King Seminary in East Aurora. He was ordained in May 1972. His memories of that day include “imposing my first priestly blessings on family and others after Mass in the Cathedral courtyard.”
His service has taken him to all ends of the diocese. He served as parochial vicar at St. Paul in Whitesboro, St. Rose of Lima in N. Syracuse, Immaculate Conception in Fayetteville, St. John the Evangelist in Binghamton and St. Joseph the Worker in Liverpool. His next move took him to Mexico where he served as pastor of St. Mary of the Lake, then to St. Patrick in Syracuse and finally as pastor of Blessed Sacrament Church in Eastwood.
Father adds that he has “gratitude for the parishioners and other faithful I have met through the years whose faith was an inspiration for me. The people of God are a real treasure.”
Father Henry Pedzich
Father Pedzich was born and raised on Syracuse’s East Side and his family worshiped at Blessed Sacrament in Eastwood. His journey to the priesthood followed a path familiar to some of his classmates: philosophy studies at St. Andrew Minor Seminary in Rochester and Wadhams Hall in Ogdensburg and then on to Christ the King Seminary in East Aurora. He was ordained in May 1972.
“I remember being prostrate on the Cathedral floor and when the bishop and priests placed their hands upon us,” he says, adding there was “no magic moment. I think that it has taken these 50-plus years to become the priest Christ called me to be.”
Those years of service included terms as an associate pastor at St. James in Cazenovia, St. Michael’s on Onondaga Hill, St. Ann’s in Syracuse and St. John (now Pope John XXIII) parish in Liverpool. His two assignments as pastor took him back to his beginning years, serving as the congregation’s shepherd at St. James and then at St. Michael’s (and St. Peter’s Mission) before retiring in 2021.
Speaking of his pastoral service, Father Pedzich says he believes that “God invites and calls all believers to some kind of ministry.” His own experience was impacted by time he spent hearing confessions. “It is in this sacrament that I meet sinners, the people of God who humbly confess their sins. … It is also where I meet the saints. The goodness of people shines through in this sacrament as well.”
Father R. Paul Mathis
“I believe that the Holy Spirit of God gives us our vocation right at baptism and then it is nurtured as we grow,” Rome native Fr. Mathis says of his priestly calling. “My parents, my parochial school experience, and inspiring and supportive priests helped me grow into my priesthood.”
Father Mathis’ eventual path to the priesthood took him, like his fellow jubilarians, to St. Andrew Minor Seminary in Rochester, Wadhams Hall in Ogdensburg and then Christ the King Seminary in East Aurora. He, too, was ordained in May 1972.
Father Mathis’ ordained service began in Binghamton as an assistant pastor at St. Andrew followed by terms as associate pastor at Our Lady of Sorrows in Vestal, St. Rose of Lima in North Syracuse, the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Syracuse and St. Joseph in Camillus. He was next named pastor of St. Joseph in Lee Center before serving in the same capacity at St. Mary of the Assumption in Rome, St. Mary/St. Bernadette in Cleveland and Constantia and finally St. John the Evangelist in Camden. Father Mathis retired in 2019.
One of the moments that helped shape Father’s ministry came during a visit to the pastor of a parish in the foothills north of Rome as a seminarian. “I asked him what he was going to do that afternoon. He said he was going out and taking Communion to all those that were homebound.” Father adds, “That moment helped shape my belief in being fully present to the people I encounter and serve and to never forget the homebound and lonely, bringing the Eucharist and Sacrament of the Sick to them. That has been an essential element in my priesthood.”
Celebrating 40 years
Father Jon Werner
Father Werner was raised in the Utica area and did his first year of undergraduate studies at Mohawk Valley Community College before attending the State University College at Utica/Rome. He then attended seminary at Christ the King in East Aurora, leading to his ordination in May 1982.
His ordained service began as an associate pastor at St. Anthony of Padua In Endicott, then to St. John in Utica and at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Syracuse. Father Werner was named pastor of Christ the King parish in Liverpool and then in the same position at St. John the Baptist and Holy Trinity parishes in Syracuse before assuming in 2014 his present role as pastor of St. Mary’s/St. Paul’s in Binghamton.
In a recent homily at Mass at St. Mary of the Assumption marking his anniversary, Father noted that in parish life, “as you are there, and part of so many things, you learn a lot. … As a priest, you learn from the people.” In the celebration of that Mass, Father noted that in the Gospel of the day where the new commandment to love one another is proclaimed by Christ, there “is an incredible opportunity that brings us here today, to all learn from one another and to share with one another, the great gift and great challenge of our faith.”
Father Darr Schoenhofen
Father Darr’s academic path to the priesthood was a little different than his fellow jubilarians’. After graduating from Horseheads High School in the Southern Tier, Father did his first year of philosophy study at Whittier College in Southern California before coming to Syracuse University to complete his pre-seminary studies. After his first year at St. Bernard’s Seminary in Rochester, Father Darr completed his studies at the North American College in Rome, Italy. He was ordained in May 1982.
Father also earned a Licentiate in Sacred Theology from Gregorian University in Rome.
His service to the diocese began as an associate pastor at St. James in Cazenovia, followed by a sabbatical and assignment as an academic dean in Rome at the North American College. He returned to the diocese in 1997, serving as parochial vicar and then administrator of Our Lady of Good Counsel in Endicott. He held the same position concurrently at St. Joan of Arc in Morrisville and St. Therese in Munnsville.
Father was named pastor of St. John the Evangelist in New Hartford before becoming pastor at St. Stephen’s in Phoenix. After a brief period of discernment Father Darr served as temporary administrator of St. Cecilia’s in Solvay and then as pastor of St. Mary of the Lake in Skaneateles. After assignments at St. John the Evangelist in Bainbridge and Sacred Heart in Cicero, Father served as pastor of St. Malachy’s in Sherburne and St. Theresa’s in New Berlin before retiring in 2020.
Father Darr delivered the homily at the recent Jubilarians Mass, speaking on the theme of gratitude. He shared that there was no better way to express gratitude than through the Mass: “What better way is there for jubilarian priests to express their gratitude to the Lord for the gift of priesthood than by offering with their bishop the Eucharist, a sacrifice of thanksgiving to the Father” on the feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church. He added that “with Mary our Mother at our side, with the light of her Son within us, the darkness will never overcome us.”
Celebrating 25 years
Father Thomas Ward
Father Ward is a Southern Tier native, having grown up in Vestal and worshiping with family at St. James Church in Johnson City. A graduate of Seton Catholic High School, Father attended Broome Community College before completing his pre-seminary philosophy studies at Franciscan University in Steubenville, Ohio. He completed his theology studies at St. Mary’s Seminary in Baltimore and was ordained in June 1997.
His priestly service then began as parochial vicar of St. Ann’s Church in Manlius followed by a term at St. Joseph’s in Endicott. In 2001 he was named pastor of Immaculate Conception in Greene and St. Joseph’s in Oxford before assuming the pastorship of St. Mary’s/St. Paul’s in Binghamton.
In 2015, Father Ward was named parochial vicar of St. Peter’s Parish in Rome and then as administrator of Christ Our Hope in Boonville. He was next assigned to Our Lady of Hope as administrator in Syracuse before assuming the position of administrator of St. Daniel’s in Syracuse where he currently serves.