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75 YEARS

Sister Rita Brocke, RSM

 Sister Rita Brocke, RSM, spent most of her 75 years of religious life in health care. She entered the Sisters of Mercy community in 1946, two years after graduating from high school and enrolling at Mercyhurst University in Erie. She took this bold step at the urging of the late Mercy Sisters Carolyn Herrmann, Maura Smith and Janet Klempay. Early on, Sister Rita taught at three elementary schools in the Erie and Pittsburgh dioceses, but while in formation, was encouraged to consider a nursing ministry. She earned a bachelor’s degree in nursing education from Carlow College, Pittsburgh, and a master’s degree in community health nursing from the University of Pittsburgh. In addition, while teaching community health nursing at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, she received a scholarship to pursue American Nurse Association Family Nurse-Practitioner studies at the State University of New York at Fredonia. She worked as a night supervisor at DuBois Regional Medical Center, and later was a biology and home economics instructor and a college health nurse at Mercyhurst University. She also ministered as a family nurse practitioner at the Martin Luther King Center, Erie. From 1989 to 2001, Sister Rita was a family nurse practitioner at Mercy Nurse Managed Health Center, Detroit, and a nurse practitioner at Thea Bowman Wellness Institute in Highland Park, Mich. After retiring, she volunteered at the newly formed House of Mercy, founded to help low-income youths in east Erie, but confessed, “I missed nursing so much, I dreamed about it.” Sister Rita is a proponent of liberation theology, a view of Christian faith, doctrines and the Bible through the experiences and eyes of the poor. “It strengthens my commitment to those living in poverty and is essential to my Mercy commitment,” she says.

Congratulatory messages

We rejoice and we celebrate with you, Sister Rita, for 75 years of faithful service to God in this community of Mercy. — Sisters of Mercy of the Americas
Thank you, Sister Rita, for all you've done for the Mercyhurst community over the years. Congratulations and blessings on your 75th anniversary! — Mercyhurst University

75 YEARS

Sister Lucille DeStefano, SSJ

 Sister Lucille DeStefano, SSJ, was greatly influenced by the Sisters of St. Joseph as she observed their good works in her home parish of St. Leo in Ridgway. “I know it was the neighborliness of the Sisters of St. Joseph that attracted me,” she says. “Not only were they our teachers, but they also came to visit when someone was ill, or when they were passing by for a walk. Also, as a piano student, I had the opportunity to practice at the convent and came to realize that the sisters were a ‘family.’” Following high school, she entered the Sisters of St. Joseph in 1946, when her musical and spiritual vocations were nurtured. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Villa Maria College, Erie, and a master’s in music education from Chicago Musical College/Roosevelt University. During her ministry career, Sister Lucille taught piano at Villa Maria Conservatory of Music in Erie, and at St. Francis Parish in Clearfield, where she also served as choir director. For many years, Sister Lucille was on staff at Villa Maria College, serving as associate professor and chairperson of the Humanities Department and the Fine Arts Department. She also served as an associate professor of fine arts at Gannon University in Erie. For her religious community, Sister Lucille served as a member of the Community Living Center Team and director of liturgy. Looking back at her childhood observations of the Sisters of St. Joseph, she realizes that without knowing it, she was witnessing the charism of the Sisters of St. Joseph: unity of neighbor with neighbor and neighbor with God.

Congratulatory messages

St. Leo Magnus Parish, Ridgway, extends its congratulations and prayers to our native daughters on their jubilees. Thank you for your service to the church!
The members of the Gannon University family congratulate and wish God's continued blessings on Sister Lucille DeStefano, SSJ, as she celebrates her 75th jubilee anniversary in the Diocese of Erie.
Thank you, Sister Lucille, for sharing your many gifts. We are grateful for your faithful service to God's people. — The Sisters of St. Joseph of Northwestern Pennsylvania

70 YEARS

Sister Marlene Bertke, OSB

 Sister Marlene Bertke, OSB, entered the Benedictine Sisters of Covington, Kentucky, in 1949. She celebrates her 70th anniversary of her first monastic profession. In her community of origin, Sister Marlene ministered as a teacher, primarily in high school math and science courses, and earned a master’s degree in mathematics from the University of Notre Dame. In 1974, her passion for social justice and desire to work for peace led her to Erie, where Benedictine sisters were active in the Pax Center, an intentional living community focused on Christian nonviolence. Sister Marlene came to the Pax Center intending to learn as much as she could about its mission and practices, with the hopes of starting a similar movement in Kentucky. Within a few years, she felt called to transfer her vows to the Benedictine Sisters of Erie. In the years that followed, she worked zealously for peace, ministering with Pax Christi USA, serving as associate director of the U.S. Secretariat of the Alliance for International Monasticism, and co-founding Benedictines for Peace. In addition to establishing the Take Back the Site vigils and participating in countless demonstrations against war and injustice, Sister Marlene taught English as a second language and continues to work for the rights of immigrants and refugees. She was named an Erie Times-News Person of the Year in 2016.

Congratulatory messages

Congratulations to a woman who never veered from her commitment to peace and work for justice. Your sisters honor you and give thanks for your presence among us. — Benedictine Sisters of Erie

70 YEARS

Sister Rita Marie Hettish, RSM

 Sister Rita Marie Hettish, RSM, grew up in what she calls a “God-centered family.” Upon her 70th jubilee this year, she also reflects on the profound influence of the Sisters of Mercy, who taught her at St. Adrian Grade School and High School in Delancey. “The sisters have always been an integral part of my life. Having been educated by them, I witnessed their devotion and dedication to education and the ministry of spreading God’s word and doing his work among us,” she says. Following high school graduation in 1951, she entered St. Joseph Convent in Titusville. She earned a bachelor’s degree in education from Mercyhurst University, Erie, and taught in nine Erie and Pittsburgh diocesan grade schools. Her final teaching assignment was at St. George School, Erie, in 2006. That same year, she was awarded the Papal Cross, presented “for your commitment to the Catholic faith, your exemplary life as a vowed religious and your dedication to the work of the Church and the spread of the Gospel.” She calls her 55 years of preparing children for the sacraments of reconciliation and the Eucharist her greatest privilege. For 10 years she headed the Sisters of Mercy Service Fund, a philanthropic endeavor, and served on the support staff for Mercy Terrace Apartments and Mercy Center of the Arts. At this time in her life, she says, “Being afforded the time to possess the inner peace of knowing that I can continue to devote myself to the service of God and others without outside distractions gives me the joy of living out and passing on the legacy of our foundress, Catherine McAuley.”

Congratulatory messages

Congratulations and blessings upon your 70th anniversary! Thank you for sharing your many gifts. — Parishioners of St. Catherine of Siena, DuBois
We cannot thank you enough for your dedication and love for our St. George School children. May God bless you. — St. George Parish, Erie
Thank you for your service to Mercy Center of the Arts.
St. Michael Parish, Greenville, and St. Margaret Mission, Jamestown, congratulate Sister Rita Marie Hettish, RSM, on her 70th jubilee.
Congratulations on your faith-filled commitment in serving the needs of God's people. Many blessings to you as you celebrate your jubilee. — St. Peter Cathedral Parish, Erie
We rejoice and we celebrate with you, Sister Rita Marie, for 70 years of faithful service to God in this community of Mercy. — Sisters of Mercy of the Americas
Mercyhurst University thanks you for your life of faith-filled service and compassion with the Sisters of Mercy. Congratulations on your 70th anniversary!

70 YEARS

Sister Mary Carol Hoke, SSJ

 Sister Mary Carol Hoke, SSJ, is celebrating 70 years of religious life. A native of Meadville, she worked as a secretary for the Pennsylvania Department of Highways for more than four years before deciding to enter the Sisters of St. Joseph in 1951. She had been attending daily Mass and receiving Communion when she heard the call to religious life. She credits her mother's prayers and the example of love and caring she experienced from dedicated parish priests and the Sisters of St. Joseph for inspiring her to become a sister. She professed final vows in 1957. Having earned her bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Villa Maia College, Erie, she later was certified in elementary library science at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania. She taught at St. John, St. Andrew, St. Patrick and St. Joseph schools, all in Erie; St. Leo, Ridgway; St. Francis, Clearfield; St. Bernard, Bradford; and St. Mary, Reynoldsville. She also served as principal at St. Joseph, Erie, and St. Brigid, St. Agatha and Seton Catholic schools, all in Meadville. She was a librarian at Seton Catholic and the Sisters of St. Joseph Community Living Center. In addition, she served as a clerk at St. Agatha Parish, Meadville, and Saint Vincent Hospital, Erie.

Congratulatory messages

Thank you, Sister, for your service to St. John's School, Erie. Congratulations on 70 years of religious life!
Congratulations! Thank you for sharing your gifts and service to God's people. — The Epiphany of the Lord Parish, Meadville
Congratulations on your milestone in serving the Lord. — The Bradford Catholic Community
The members of the Gannon University family congratulate and wish God's continued blessings on Sister Mary Carol Hoke, SSJ, as she celebrates her 70th jubilee anniversary in the Diocese of Erie.
We are grateful for your dedication and faithful service to God's people. God Bless! — St. Joseph/BOL Parish, Erie
Thank you, Sister Mary Carol, for sharing your many gifts. We are grateful for your faithful service to God's people. — The Sisters of St. Joseph of Northwestern Pennsylvania

70 YEARS

Sister Miriam Mashank, OSB

 Sister Miriam Mashank, OSB, believes that education has the power to change a soul, a city and the world. It’s no surprise that she has spent much of her 70 years as a Benedictine sister sharing that power with those who often were denied it: women, people living in poverty and immigrants. From 1951-70, she was a classroom teacher at Catholic schools in Oil City and North East, and at St. Benedict Academy, before studying for a master’s degree in education at Boston University. From there, she began to minister at Mercyhurst University, Erie, as the director of many different programs, including Developmental Education, Personal Counseling, and Residential Life. But Sister Miriam is perhaps best known for her role as the founder and first director of the St. Benedict Education Center (SBEC), which provides education and job placement services to those on public assistance. She brought a keen sense of compassion to this ministry, along with grit, vision, and faith in the ability and dignity of program participants and staff members alike. She also served on the community’s Monastic Council, and on the Governor’s Council on Youth and the Pennsylvania Equal Opportunity Program. “My long years as a Benedictine sister,” she says, “have taught me to live out the old adage which I think about often: The best way to predict the future is to create it.”

Congratulatory messages

Congratulations to a woman who changed the city of Erie by advocating tirelessly for people in poverty. Your sisters honor you and give thanks for your presence among us. — Benedictine Sisters of Erie
Congratulations and blessings on your 70th anniversary, Sister Miriam Mashank, OSB! — Mercyhurst University

70 YEARS

Sister Joan McCabe, RSM

 Sister Joan McCabe, RSM, celebrates her 70th jubilee, knowing that her vocation and profession were the means by which she could return the kindness, care and opportunity that she and her siblings received from the Sisters of Mercy. A nurse/administrator at the Sisters of Mercy Motherhouse Health Care Center for 25 years, Sister Joan understands compassion. “Because of the untimely death of both my parents [in 1949], I and my sisters and brother had a support system and were surrounded by sisters who offered understanding, education and direction,” she says. Even as a high school student at Mercyhurst Preparatory School, she experienced the charism of the sisters and came to know foundress Catherine McAuley’s story. “It tells us that Catherine centered her ministry on uplifting the human person, a goal that is achieved where mercy is found feeding the hungry, educating those who want to learn and offering comfort to the sick and dying,” she says. “I am sure it was from this influence on me and on my life that I sought to ‘walk the talk’ of mercy.” Entering religious life in 1951, she earned degrees in elementary education, economics, religious education and nursing, with a gerontology certification from Gannon University. She taught in elementary schools in the Erie and Pittsburgh dioceses, and taught theology at Gannon and Duquesne University, Pittsburgh. Awarded a registered nurse degree in 1988, she worked at several Erie area nursing homes. Sister Joan continues her ministry for the sisters in the community’s health care center by advocating for and devoting time to each resident.

Congratulatory messages

Congratulations and blessings upon your 70th anniversary! Thank you for sharing your many gifts. — The parishioners of St. Catherine of Siena, DuBois
The members of the Gannon University family congratulate and wish God's continued blessings on Sister Joan McCabe as she celebrates her jubilee anniversary in the Diocese of Erie.
Thank you, Sister Joan, for your 70 years of sacrifice and dedication to the church, especially your time at St. George Church! God bless you!
St. Michael Parish, Greenville, and St. Margaret Mission, Jamestown, congratulate Sister Joan McCabe, RSM, on her 70th jubilee.
Congratulations and continued blessings as you celebrate your jubilee. We are grateful for your faithful service and inspired by your commitment to education. — Mercyhurst Preparatory School
Congratulations on your faith-filled commitment in serving the needs of God's people. Many blessings to you as you celebrate your jubilee. — St. Peter Cathedral Parish, Erie
We rejoice and we celebrate with you, Sister Joan, for 70 years of faithful service to God in this community of Mercy. — Sisters of Mercy of the Americas
Thank you for saying yes to the call God gave to you, and thank you for living out your call with love and mercy. — St. Luke Parish, Erie
Mercyhurst University thanks you for your life of faith-filled service and compassion with the Sisters of Mercy. Congratulations on your 70th anniversary!

70 YEARS

Sister Patricia McGreevy, OSB

 Sister Patricia McGreevy, OSB, made her first profession of vows as a Benedictine Sister 70 years ago and has spent much of the decades since blazing trails for Catholic sisters and all women. Originally from Oil City, Sister Patricia entered the Benedictine community at age 16. She trained as an educator, teaching in elementary and high schools before furthering her own education. She acquired certification as an archivist and earned master’s degrees in history and church administration. In 1991, she made community history when she became the first sister in the Diocese of Erie to earn a licentiate in canon law (JCL). She was one of only four women enrolled in the program at the time. This training prepared Sister Patricia to become the canon lawyer, and often the only woman on staff, in the Catholic dioceses of Richmond, Virginia; Dodge City, Kansas; Erie; and Colorado Springs, Colorado, as well the first woman canonist to act as diocesan chancellor in the United States. Sister Patricia went on to become a private canonical consultant to religious communities, helping to ensure that justice was served whenever canon law issues involving religious orders arose. She also has served her monastic community as archivist, human development director, and member of the Monastic Council.

Congratulatory messages

Thank you for your service to the Marriage Tribunal. Many blessings to you as you celebrate your jubilee. May God bless you. — Father Marc Stockton & Tribunal staff
Congratulations on this special jubilee year. Thank you for your years of faith-filled service to Sacred Heart and St. Joseph parishes, Sharon.
Thank you for your many years of service. May God continue to bless you. — St. Michael, Fryburg
Congratulations to a woman who broke glass ceilings as the first woman canonist diocesan chancellor in the U.S. Your sisters honor you and give thanks for your presence among us. — Benedictine Sisters of Erie

70 YEARS

Sister Maria Onuffer, SSJ

 Sister Maria Onuffer, SSJ, celebrates her 70th anniversary this year as a Sister of St. Joseph. Born in Lewis Run, she graduated from St. Bernard High School in Bradford, and then earned a bachelor's degree in business education from Villa Maria College, Erie. She received her professional state licensure in nursing home administration from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Sister Maria credits the inspiration and dedication of the sisters who ministered at St. Bernard High School for motivating her to listen to the call of the Spirit, often through much resistance. She was further inspired by witnessing the teaching ministry of the Sisters of St. Joseph. She entered her religious community in 1951 from Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish in Lewis Run, and professed final vows in 1957. Sister Maria taught at Villa Maria Elementary, Sacred Heart and Blessed Sacrament schools, all in Erie. She then moved into social services and geriatric health care at Saint Mary's Home of Erie, ministering there for nearly 30 years. She served Saint Mary's as a secretary, payroll clerk, business manager, assistant administrator and administrator. She was presented with the Saint Mary's Medaille D'or Award in 2007. After leaving Saint Marys, she joined the staff at Saint Vincent Hospital, where she worked in the Outpatient Behavioral Services Department and at the Saint Vincent Women's Diagnostic Center for 25 years. Before retiring, she served as a receptionist at the Hardner Building on the Saint Vincent campus.

Congratulatory messages

Thank you for your service. — Your friends at St. Francis Xavier Parish, McKean
The members of Gannon University family congratulate and wish God's continued blessings on Sister Maria Onuffer, SSJ, as she celebrates her 70th jubilee anniversary in the Diocese of Erie.
Congratulations! Saint Mary's Home of Erie is grateful for your faith-filled ministry and dedication to our "loving to care" mission.
Thank you, Sister Maria, for sharing your many gifts. We are grateful for your faithful service to God's people. — The Sisters of St. Joseph of Northwestern Pennsylvania

70 YEARS

Msgr. Henry Schauerman (IN MEMORIAM)

 Msgr. Henry J. Schauerman, 94, died Feb. 18, 2021, at Saint Mary's Home East, Erie. It was his 70th jubilee as a faithful, humble Catholic priest. A native of Erie, he attended St. John the Baptist School and Cathedral Preparatory School, both in Erie, and then entered St. Charles College Seminary in Catonsville, Maryland. He continued his formation for the priesthood at St. Mary Seminary in Baltimore, Maryland. He was ordained on May 3, 1951, at St. Peter Cathedral, Erie, by Archbishop John Mark Gannon. Msgr. Schauerman began his priestly ministry as parochial vicar at Blessed Sacrament Parish, Erie, remaining there until 1958. For the next five years, he served as parochial vicar at St. Joseph Parish, Oil City, while also acting as assistant to Auxiliary Bishop Edward P. McManaman. In 1963, he was appointed pastor of St. Philip Parish in Crossingville, where he served for the next 10 years. He was then named pastor of St. Agatha Parish, Meadville, where he remained until his retirement in 2001. He also served as dean of the Meadville Deanery, and as administrator of St. Bernadette Parish in Saegertown. In addition to his other assignments, Msgr. Schauerman was twice elected to the Presbyteral Council and was appointed a member of the Priest Personnel Board. He also served as diocesan director of the Rural Life Conference from 1967-73, as director of sodality unions in various regions of the diocese, and on the diocesan Board of Consultors. In addition to his diocesan appointments, Msgr. Schauerman was a Fourth Degree Knight of Columbus. He was made a Chaplain to the Holy Father with the title of monsignor by Pope John Paul II in 1984, and a Prelate of Honor in 1994.

Congratulatory messages

Prep Class of 1944: In Memoriam. Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him. May he rest in peace. — Cathedral Prep and Villa Maria Academy, Erie
Saint Mary's Home of Erie is grateful for the faith-filled ministry and dedication Father Schauerman offered during his life to our "loving to care" mission.
Thank you to our religious, clergy and deacons for giving us your prayers and guidance throughout your life. May perpetual light shine upon Father Schauerman. — The Oil City Catholic Community (St. Joseph Parish and St. Stephen Parish)

70 YEARS

Sister Barbara Ann Zakutney, SSJ

 Sister Barbara Ann Zakutney, SSJ, has dedicated most of her 70 years as a Sister of St. Joseph to children and the care of others. A native of Christ the King Parish (formerly Sacred Heart) in Houtzdale, she earned her bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Villa Maria College, Erie. She also studied at the University of Dayton and Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, all in preparation for her ministries. She taught at St. Ann, St. John the Baptist, St. Patrick and St. Andrew schools, all in Erie, and St. Leo School, Ridgway. She also served as the first principal of a diocesan school merger: St. Ann School and St. Casimir School, which became Spirit of Christ School in Erie. Additionally, she was a housemother at the former St. Joseph Home for Children, Erie, sharing her musical gifts as a piano and organ teacher. Following years of ministering in education, she became a registered nurse, attending Saint Vincent School of Nursing in Erie. She worked at Saint Vincent Hospital as a staff nurse for 17 years. In January 2001, she was appointed to the Diocesan Medical/Moral Advisory Committee. Her call to religious life, she says, was inspired through prayer and the example of her mother and a dear friend of her mother's. She entered the Sisters of St. Joseph in 1951.

Congratulatory messages

Thank you, Sister, for your service to St. John's School, Erie. Congratulations on 70 years of religious life!
The members of the Gannon University family congratulate and wish God's continued blessings on Sister Barbara Ann Zakutney, SSJ, as she celebrates her 70th jubilee anniversary in the Diocese of Erie.
Congratulations, Sister Barbara, on 70 years of service. — The clergy and parishioners of Christ the King Parish in Houtzdale.
Thank you, Sister Barbara Ann, for sharing your many gifts. We are grateful for your faithful service to God's people. — The Sisters of St. Joseph of Northwestern Pennsylvania

65 YEARS

Msgr. Richard Stack (IN MEMORIAM)

 Msgr. Richard J. Stack, 90, died Aug. 22, 2021, at Saint Vincent Hospital, Erie. This was Msgr. Stack’s 65th jubilee year as a priest of the Diocese of Erie. Ordained in 1956, he spent most of his priesthood as either a pastor or in the service of the Chancery. He began his priestly ministry teaching at Cathedral Preparatory School, Erie. He served as vice chancellor from 1959-71, and then as chancellor from 1971-84. Msgr. Stack was pastor at three different Erie parishes: St. Mark the Evangelist, St. Luke and St. Paul. For one year, he was adjutant judicial vicar and later served on the Presbyteral Council, the Bishop‘s Pastor Review Board and the Diocesan Board of Consultors. A native son of St. Bernard Parish, Bradford, he served there at one time as parochial vicar. In December 1970, he received the title of Prelate of Honor from Pope Paul VI. Following his retirement in 2006, he took up residence and ministered for a number of years at Blessed Sacrament Parish, Erie. For a few months in 2007, he served as temporary administrator of St. Mark the Evangelist. In addition to his parochial duties, he also was a member of the boards of Saint Mary’s Home, Gannon University, Mercy Terrace, and St. Paul Neighborhood Free Clinic. Memorials may be made to the Good Shepherd Fund for Retired Priests, c/o St. Mark Catholic Center, PO Box 10397, Erie, PA 16514-0397.

Congratulatory messages

The members of the Gannon University family celebrate the life and service of Msgr. Richard Stack.
Former faculty member Cathedral Prep: Giving thanks for your service to our school communities. — Cathedral Prep and Villa Maria Academy, Erie
The Bradford Catholic Community gives thanks for your priesthood.
Saint Mary's Home of Erie is grateful for the faith-filled ministry and dedication of Msgr. Stack in keeping our "loving to care" mission.
St. Peter Cathedral Parish, Erie, recognizes the faith-filled commitment of Msgr. Stack in serving the needs of God's people.
St. Luke Parish, Erie, remembers the priestly service of Msgr. Stack, and is grateful for how he lived out his calling with love and mercy.

60 YEARS

Sister Michele Healy, SSJ

 Sister Michele Healy, SSJ, first heard the call to religious life while attending Villa Maria College, Erie, and having conversations with Sister Teresina Onofrio, SSJ, who talked about the Sisters of St. Joseph and religious life. A native of Ridgway, Sister Michele entered the community in 1961 and made her final profession in 1969. Having earned a bachelor’s degree in education from Villa, she went on to get a master’s in theology from St. Bonaventure University, and a master's in Sacred Scripture from St. Michael College in Winooski, Vermont. She also studied at Rutgers University, Penn State, the University of Notre Dame, and St. John's University. She taught elementary and secondary education at several schools in the Diocese of Erie, including St. Andrew, St. John, Villa Maria Elementary and Villa Maria Academy, all in Erie; Notre Dame in Hermitage; and Elk County Catholic in St. Marys. She taught post-secondary education at Villa Maria College and Gannon University in Erie, and the Erie Diaconate Program. She also served as a religious education coordinator at St. Jude the Apostle Parish, Erie. In the early days of the SSJ Associate program, she served as its director. She also was on the board of Housing and Neighborhood Development Service (HANDS). Currently, Sister Michele serves in a presence ministry with seniors at Villa Maria Apartments and volunteers for the SSJ Mission and Ministries Foundation.

Congratulatory messages

Former faculty member Cathedral Prep: Thank you for your service. Many blessings to you as you celebrate your jubilee. May God bless you. — Cathedral Prep and Villa Maria Academy, Erie
Congratulations on your 60th anniversary! Thank you for your dedicated service in our community and especially for your commitment to the fulfillment of HANDS' mission of providing safe, affordable housing. — Villa Maria Apartments and HANDS
Thank you, Sister, for your service to St. John School, Erie. Congratulations on your 60th anniversary!
St. Leo Magnus Parish, Ridgway, extends its congratulations and prayers to our native daughters on their jubilees. Thank you for serving the church!
The members of the Gannon University family congratulate and wish God's continued blessings on Sr. Michele Healy, SSJ, as she celebrates her 60th jubilee anniversary in the Diocese of Erie.
Congratulations on your faith-filled commitment in serving the needs of God's people. Many blessings to you as you celebrate your jubilee. — St. Peter Cathedral Parish, Erie
Thank you, Sister Michele, for sharing your many gifts. We are grateful for your faithful service to God's people. — The Sisters of St. Joseph of Northwestern Pennsylvania

60 YEARS

Sister Rose Ann Kolbas, OSB

 Sister Rose Ann Kolbas, OSB, is celebrating 60 years as a Benedictine Sister of Erie. She entered the community a few years after graduating from St. Benedict Academy, and soon became a teacher there herself. She also served as an educator at St. Stephen School and Venango Catholic High School (formerly Venango Christian), both in Oil City, before shifting to administrative and secretarial work. Sister Rose Ann brought her organized, efficient approach to her ministries at Camp Glinodo, Erie Community Food Bank, Second Harvest Food Bank and Mount St. Benedict Monastery. She continues to minister in the monastery’s business office. She is a gifted composer, lyricist and cantor whose musical abilities have enriched community worship for decades. “I feel so blessed! I live with a dynamic, prophetic, talented, visionary group of women religious who challenge me to grow, support me in all my endeavors, and stretch me beyond anything I could imagine myself becoming,” says Sister Rose Ann.

Congratulatory messages

Congratulations to a woman who brings creativity and practicality to life and ministry, who is equally free-spirited and steadfast. Your sisters honor you and give thanks for your presence among us. — Benedictine Sisters of Erie

60 YEARS

Sister Mary Lou Kownacki, OSB

 Sister Mary Lou Kownacki, OSB, a Benedictine Sister of Erie for 60 years, does nothing halfway. She brings passion, creativity and total commitment to everything she does, from the teaching ministry she undertook as a young sister to the peace and justice work that has filled the majority of her life. After spending the 1960s as a teacher in several Catholic grade schools, and a short stint as a feature writer for the Erie Times-News, Sister Mary Lou became a founding member of the Pax Center, an intentional living community that brought together sisters, activists and people in need, united by a desire to live the Gospel. She also served as the national coordinator of Pax Christi USA, the head of Benedictines for Peace, and the executive director of the U.S. Secretariat of the Alliance for International Monasticism, working through each of these organizations to challenge church and civic leaders to find nonviolent solutions to local and global problems. For her Benedictine community, she worked as director of development and communications, serving on the Monastic Council for 18 years, and founding several ministries, including the Neighborhood Art House; Emmaus Soup Kitchen and Food Pantry; and Benetvision and Monasteries of the Heart, which offer contemporary spirituality resources to today’s seekers, and of which she is still director. A poet and award-winning author, she continues to work steadily and whole-heartedly for the reign of God on earth.

Congratulatory messages

Congratulations on this special jubilee year. Thank you for your years of faith-filled service to Sacred Heart and St. Joseph parishes, Sharon.
Thank you for your many years of service. May God continue to bless you. — St. Michael, Fryburg
Congratulations to a poet whose passion and vision have shaped us and the world around us. Your sisters honor you and give thanks for your presence among us. — Benedictine Sisters of Erie
Thank you to our religious, clergy and deacons for giving us your prayers and guidance. God's blessings! — Oil City Catholic Community (St. Joseph Parish and St. Stephen Parish)
The St. Stanislaus and Holy Trinity communities congratulate our native daughter, Sister Mary Lou Kownacki, OSB, on her milestone anniversary. Sto Lat!

60 YEARS

Msgr. Richard Mayer

 Msgr. Richard G. Mayer celebrates his 60th jubilee this year. He calls the Catholic priesthood “a very enriching way of life.” As he explains, “As I look back, I feel I have been very blessed by the people I have known and the friendships I have been able to make.” Since he was a young boy, he wanted to be a priest, having been inspired by his parents and the religious sisters who taught at Erie’s Sacred Heart School. Throughout his years of priestly service, Msgr. Mayer was the pastor of St. George Parish, Erie; Good Shepherd Parish, West Middlesex; St. Thomas Parish, Corry; St. Hippolyte Parish, Frenchtown; Our Lady of Lourdes Parish, Cochranton; and Ss. Peter and Paul Parish, Pettis. Following his ordination, he taught for 10 years at Cathedral Prep, Erie, and served as a weekend assistant at St. Julia and Mount Calvary parishes, both in Erie. He was parochial vicar and parochial administrator of St. Michael Parish, Fryburg. Over the years, he served as chaplain of the Serra Club of Mercer County, a member of the board of directors of the Prince of Peace Center in Farrell, and a member of the Corry Area Diversion Committee. He also was part of the ecumenical ministeriums in Corry, Cochranton and West Middlesex. For the Diocese of Erie, he served on the Priests’ Personnel Board, the Bishop’s College of Consultors and Presbyteral Council. He also was dean of the Warren Deanery. In 1994, he was named Chaplain of His Holiness with the title of monsignor by Pope John Paul II. He retired in 2009, but in 2016 was named a Minister of Mercy during the Jubilee Year of Mercy. Msgr. Mayer resides at the Bishop Michael J. Murphy Residence for Retired Priests.

Congratulatory messages

We love you, Msgr. Mayer, and thank you for your 60 years of priesthood. — St. George Parish and School, Erie
Prep Class of 1953 and former faculty member at Cathedral Prep: Thank you for your service. Many blessings to you as you celebrate your jubilee. May God bless you. — Cathedral Prep and Villa Maria Academy, Erie
Thank you for your service as parochial administrator at Holy Rosary Parish, Erie!
The members of the Gannon University family congratulate and wish God's continued blessings on Msgr. Richard Mayer as he celebrates his 60th jubilee anniversary with the Diocese of Erie.
Thank you for your many years of service. May God continue to bless you. — St. Michael, Fryburg
Congratulations on your faith-filled commitment in serving the needs of God's people. Many blessings to you as you celebrate your jubilee. — St. Peter Cathedral Parish, Erie
Congratulations on your 60th jubilee! Thank you for your generous and faithful service to God's people. May God continue to bless you. — The parishioners of St. Hippolyte, Frenchtown, and Our Lady of Lourdes, Cochranton
May God bless you for your 60 years of generous service. Thank you for your pastoral devotion in the Lord for His people. Congratulations! — The Spiritual Family The Work
Congratulations on your 60th anniversary to the priesthood. Thank you for your service to our parish and our diocese. God bless you for your continuing faith-filled service. — St. Thomas Parish, Corry

60 YEARS

Father Chrysostom Schlimm, OSB

 Father Chrysostom V. Schlimm, OSB, a monk of Saint Vincent Archabbey in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, and a native of St. Marys, celebrates 60 years in the priesthood. A graduate of Saint Vincent College, Latrobe, he went on to earn a master’s in divinity from Saint Vincent Seminary, a master’s in classical languages from The Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C., and a master’s in library science from the University of Pittsburgh. Father Chrysostom made simple profession of monastic vows in 1955, solemn profession of vows in 1958, and was ordained a priest on June 3, 1961, by Bishop William G. Connare of Greensburg. He regularly served as a weekend assistant at parishes in six dioceses, including the Diocese of Erie, where he was administrator of St. Mary Parish, St. Marys, from October 2005 to August 2006. During his ministry, he was a member of the faculty of Saint Vincent Preparatory School and Saint Vincent College, where he received the Boniface Wimmer Faculty Award “for extraordinary achievements over the past 40 years” in 2001. That same year, the Saint Vincent Alumni Association named him an Alumnus of Distinction “in recognition of meritorious service and lifelong commitment to Saint Vincent. At the Saint Vincent Preparatory School reunion in 2011, Father Schlimm was awarded the Prep Hall of Fame Faculty Award. In 2018, he was appointed guestmaster for archabbey funerals.

Congratulatory messages

Congratulations on your faith-filled commitment in serving the needs of God's people. Many blessings to you as you celebrate your jubilee. — St. Peter Cathedral Parish, Erie

60 YEARS

Sister Audrey Steff, OSB

 Sister Audrey Steff, OSB, is a storyteller at heart, and the 60 years since her first monastic profession as a Benedictine sister have given her enough material for many stories. She was a teacher and principal at Catholic schools throughout the Diocese of Erie during the 1960s, ‘70s and ‘80s, including St. Stephen in Oil City, Sacred Heart and St. Joseph in Sharon, Immaculate Conception in Clarion, Mount Calvary in Erie, and St. Boniface in Wattsburg. Later, she taught at the St. Benedict Education Center, working with adults — including immigrants and refugees from all over the world — who were receiving job skills training and learning English as a second language. They found in Sister Audrey a caring, committed instructor with a patient, listening ear, someone who was eager to learn from them, not just teach. After retiring from that ministry in 2017, Sister Audrey has been able to spend more time turning wood, producing beautiful works of art in the form of candle holders, bowls, boxes and more.

Congratulatory messages

Congratulations on this special jubilee year. Thank you for your years of faith-filled service to Sacred Heart and St. Joseph parishes, Sharon.
Congratulations to a woman who is a life-long educator, a weaver of stories, and a creator of wood-turned beauty. Your sisters honor you and give thanks for your presence among us. — Benedictine Sisters of Erie
Congratulations on your special milestone. Thank you for all your hard work as principal of St. Boniface School, Erie.
Thank you to our religious, clergy and deacons for giving us your prayers and guidance. God's blessings! — The Oil City Catholic Community (St. Joseph Parish and St. Stephen Parish)
Congratulations on your 60th anniversary, Sister Audrey Steff, OSB! May God continue to bless you in all that you do! — Mercyhurst University

60 YEARS

Sister Moira Sullivan, SSJ

 Sister Moira Sullivan, SSJ, a native of Holy Rosary Parish in Johnsonburg, initially resisted the call to a religious vocation, but realized her gifts could be used as part of a larger family, specifically as a member of a religious community. While attending Villa Maria College, Erie, she made important connections with Sister Lawreace Antoun and other young women seeking God’s path. She earned her bachelor’s degree in English from Villa, and entered the Sisters of St. Joseph in 1961, professing her final vows in 1969. She later earned a master’s in education from Boston College, and completed additional studies at Gannon University and the University of Vermont. Sister Moira taught at Villa Maria Elementary, Our Lady’s Christian, St. Patrick and Sacred Heart schools, all in Erie, and St. Agatha School in Meadville. She then taught and later served as principal at Villa Maria Academy for more than 18 years. Leaving education, she served in the role of chaplain, social service coordinator and volunteer coordinator at the Regional Cancer Center in Erie for 19 years. In 2007, she began serving four years as treasurer on a three-member leadership team for the Sisters of St. Joseph. She was instrumental as the leadership liaison during the transition of Villa Maria Academy from a sponsored ministry of the congregation to a diocesan school. She also served on the board of Erie Catholic Preparatory School (Villa-Prep). Today, she enjoys photography, reading and writing, having compiled three inspirational reflection booklets.

Congratulatory messages

Former administrator and faculty at Villa Maria Academy and former board member at Prep-Villa: Thank you for your service. Many blessings to you as you celebrate your jubilee. May God bless you. — Cathedral Prep and Villa Maria Academy, Erie
Congratulations and blessings on your 60th anniversary. — The Epiphany of the Lord Parish, Meadville
The members of the Gannon University family congratulate and wish God's continued blessings on Sr. Moira Sullivan, SSJ, as she celebrates her 60th jubilee anniversary in the Diocese of Erie.
Congratulations on your faith-filled commitment in serving the needs of God's people. Many blessings to you as you celebrate your jubilee. — St. Peter Cathedral Parish, Erie
Thank you, Sister Moira, for sharing your many gifts. We are grateful for your faithful service to God's people. — The Sisters of St. Joseph of Northwestern Pennsylvania

60 YEARS

Father Robert Susa

 Father Robert P. Susa was ordained for the Diocese of Erie on May 11, 1961, a native son of Sacred Heart Parish in Sharon. He served in a variety of capacities during his priesthood, much of it at Gannon University where he had a distinguished career. Among the positions he held at the university were chairman and president of the Economics Department, faculty senate chaplain, founding director of the College of Humanities honors programs, director of the New Faculty Mentoring Program, chair of the Liberal Studies Committee and member of the Provost Council. Father Susa also served as dean of the Gannon University Deanery, a member of the Gannon Priests’ Council, and chaplain of the diocesan Fellowship of Divorced and Separated Catholics. Gannon awarded him the Archbishop Gannon Medal of Distinction, the Distinguished Faculty Award and the Student Government Association’s Teaching Excellence Award. He was a weekend assistant at Ss. Peter and Paul Byzantine Catholic Church in Erie. In addition to his work as associate coordinator for Pax Christi, USA, he became the liaison between the organization and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. For 25 years, he was a member of the liturgy team at Mount St. Benedict Monastery, Erie, offering insightful and inspiring homilies. He is retired and living at Saint Mary’s at Asbury Ridge in Erie.

Congratulatory messages

The members of the Gannon University family congratulate and wish God's continued blessings on Father Robert J. Susa as he celebrates his 60th jubilee anniversary with the Diocese of Erie.
Congratulations! Saint Mary's Home of Erie is grateful for your faith-filled ministry and dedication to our "loving to care" mission.
Prep Class of 1953: Thank you for your service. Many blessings to you as you celebrate your jubilee. May God bless you. — Cathedral Prep and Villa Maria Academy, Erie

50 YEARS

Sister Claudia Dombrowski, SSJ

 Sister Claudia Dombrowski, SSJ, has spent the past 50 years as an educator, administrator, parish support person and a senior caregiver. A native of Erie, she entered the Sisters of St. Joseph in 1971, professing final vows in 1977. Having earned an undergraduate degree at Villa Maria College, she went on to get her master’s from Xavier University, Cincinnati, and additional studies at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania and Boston College. “Today, religious life is again moving to something new,” she says. “These are exciting times and I know that God will never disappoint us.” She taught at Blessed Sacrament, St. John the Baptist, Villa Maria Academy and Cathedral Prep, all in Erie. She also served as principal at St. John, Our Lady of Peace and Cathedral Prep, and assistant principal at Villa Maria Academy. She served as a parish support person at St. Peter Parish in Conneautville, and currently ministers as a caregiver with Home Instead Senior Care. In 2019, she was elected to serve her congregation as councilor-at-large. Sister Claudia has served and is presently serving on the SSJ board of directors. In 2006, she was awarded the Papal Cross Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice, bestowed by Pope Benedict XVI.

Congratulatory messages

Villa Maria Class of 1967, former administrator at Cathedral Prep and former faculty member at Villa Maria Academy and Cathedral Prep: Thank you for your service. Many blessings to you as you celebrate your jubilee. May God bless you — Cathedral Prep and Villa Maria Academy, Erie
Thank you, Sister, for your service to St. John School, Erie!
The members of the Gannon University family congratulate and wish God's continued blessings on Sister Claudia Dombrowski, SSJ, as she celebrates her jubilee anniversary in the Diocese of Erie.
We are grateful for your dedicated leadership and faithful ministry to the youth of our diocese through teaching and serving. Congratulations on your 50 years of service. May God bless you. — Our Lady of Peace Parish, Erie.
To our angel, Sister Claudia: We are grateful for your ministry to our seniors and their families. Your faith-filled contributions to our hospice clients are especially noteworthy. Congratulations and Love! — Home Instead Senior Care
Congratulations on your faith-filled commitment in serving the needs of God's people. Many blessings to you as you celebrate your jubilee. — St. Peter Cathedral Parish, Erie

50 YEARS

Sister Phyllis McCracken, SSJ

 Sister Phyllis McCracken, SSJ, has been a leader in health care during her 50 years as a Sister of St. Joseph. Born in Meadville, she attended Spencer School of Nursing and Erie’s Villa Maria College, earning her bachelor’s degree in nursing. She also received a master’s in nursing services administration from Boston University. In 1971, she entered the Sisters of St. Joseph, professing final vows in 1977. “My call to religious life is as vibrant today as it was 50 years ago. God has continued to bless me as I live out our mission of reconciling love with our dear neighbors,” Sister Phyllis says. Today, she serves as treasurer for her community. Her work ministry included more than 35 years at Saint Mary’s Home of Erie, having served nearly 18 years as president/CEO. She also was assistant and acting director of nursing, vice president for patient care services, vice president for special projects, and vice president for planning. Previously, she was a staff nurse and hospice consultant at Spencer Hospital, director of student health services at Villa Maria College, developer/director at St. Martin’s Health Center, director and geriatric staff nurse at Villa Maria Convent, director of nursing continuing education for Villa Maria College and Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, director of nursing continuing education for the Erie Institute for Nursing, and admission analyst/quality assurance at Saint Vincent Hospital. She served on many community boards, including Saint Vincent’s board of corporators and board of trustees, HVA Senior Living Alliance, Villa Maria Center, Saint Mary’s Home of Erie, Sisters of St. Joseph of Northwestern Pennsylvania, Sisters of St. Joseph Neighborhood Network, and Pennsylvania Catholic Health Association. She also served on the Erie Diocesan Medical/Moral Advisory Committee. She is a member and Paul Harris Fellow of the Rotary Club of Erie and was named one of the 1977 Outstanding Young Women of America. She received the Medaille D’Or Award from Saint Mary’s Home of Erie in 2008, and was one of the 2019 Women Making History honored by the Mercy Center for Women.

Congratulatory messages

The members of Gannon University family congratulate and wish God's continued blessings on Sr. Phyllis McCracken, SSJ, as she celebrates her 50th jubilee anniversary in the Diocese of Erie.
Congratulations! Saint Mary's Home of Erie is grateful for your many years of leadership, your faith-filled ministry and dedication to our mission of "loving to care."
Thank you, Sister Phyllis, for sharing your many gifts. We are grateful for your faithful service to God's people. — The Sisters of St. Joseph of Northwestern Pennsylvania
Congratulations on 50 years of service to God and our community! St. Martin Center is truly honored to have you as a part of our story. Many blessings for the years to come as you continue to serve.

50 YEARS

Msgr. Desmond McGee

 Msgr. Desmond McGee celebrates his 50th jubilee year in 2021. In his five decades as a priest, he served in several different capacities in parishes of the Diocese of Erie: as pastor of St. Francis of Assisi, Clearfield, and Christ the King, Houtzdale; administrator of St. Bonaventure in Grampian, St. Timothy in Curwensville, Holy Trinity in Ramey, Christ the King in Houtzdale, Immaculate Conception in Madera, and St. Francis of Assisi in Clearfield; parochial vicar of St. Joseph in Warren, St. Michael in Greenville, and St. Francis of Assisi in Clearfield; and sacramental assistant of St. Francis of Assisi and St. Bernard, both in Bradford. Within the Diocese of Erie, Msgr. McGee served on the Presbyteral Council, the Priests’ Personnel Board and the Pastoral Advisory Board, and also ministered with Clergy Continuing Education and the Office of Matrimonial Concerns. Msgr. McGee worked in campus ministry at Thiel College, and was headmaster of the former Bradford Central Christian High School. He is currently retired.


50 YEARS

Msgr. Thomas McSweeney

 Msgr. Thomas J. McSweeney, a native son of St. Joseph Parish, Erie, has played an important role in local and national communications, as well as community and media relations, for much of his 50-year priesthood. His outreach efforts include the founding of both WERG-FM, still serving students at Gannon University,  Erie, and WETG-TV, begun at Gannon and now an affiliate of the FOX network. Ordained by Bishop Alfred M. Watson on July 3, 1971, he was first assigned to the faculty at Gannon, where he founded what is now the School of Communication and the Arts. Generations of students have benefited from his recognition that theatre and performance go hand-in-hand with communications. During his tenure at Gannon, which continued through 1988, he served as a weekend assistant at Holy Rosary Parish, Erie. Msgr. McSweeney became the founding director of the diocesan Communications Centre in 1980, where students became involved with video production. From 1988-93, he pursued doctoral studies at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. He later became director of the New York City-based Christophers, a national organization committed to evangelization through award-winning television and print production. During his time with the Christophers, from 1996 to 2000, he often offered the Saturday evening vigil Mass at St. Patrick Cathedral on Fifth Avenue. He was a longtime commentator with MSNBC, called upon for events including the death and funeral of Pope John Paul II. Although he navigated several national positions, including tenures on the boards of both the Catholic Press Association and the Catholic Academy for Communication Arts Professionals, he remained loyal to his Erie roots. He enjoyed assignments at St. Andrew Parish, Erie; St. Joseph, Warren; St. John the Evangelist, Girard; and St. John the Baptist, Erie. He also cherished his time as administrator and later pastor of Holy Trinity Parish, Erie, where he and his longtime friend Deacon Marty Eisert worked closely with parishioners to continue growing the popular Zabawa Festival. He is retired and living in Erie.

Congratulatory messages

Dearest Monsignor: Every day is a jubilee when you are around! So grateful for the way you showed us how to infuse joy into all aspects of our work! — Your friends in the Communications Office
Prep Class of 1963: Thank you for your service. Many blessings to you as you celebrate your jubilee. May God bless you — Cathedral Prep and Villa Maria Academy, Erie
Happy 50th anniversary, Msgr. McSweeney. You have been an amazing gift to FAITH Catholic and to the Church - God bless you always! — From all of us at FAITH in Lansing
Thank you for your memorable service as administrator of St. John the Baptist Parish, Erie, and your help on weekends in years past at Holy Rosary, Erie!
The members of the Gannon University family congratulate and wish God's continued blessings on Rev. Msgr. Thomas J. McSweeney as he celebrates his 50th jubilee anniversary with the Diocese of Erie
Congratulations on your jubilee! Thank you for your unwavering witness to our Lord and service to our church. May God continue His blessings upon you. — St. Joseph Parish, Warren
The St. Stanislaus and Holy Trinity communities congratulate our former pastor on his milestone anniversary. Sto Lat!
We are grateful for your dedication and faithful service to God's people. God Bless! — St. Joseph/BOL Parish, Erie
The Clerkin family has been blessed by your ministry – from our nuptial blessing through the faithful inspiration for so many of our faith and creative endeavors. Your star shines bright in our sky. Blessings and thanksgivings! 
Congratulations and best wishes for continued good health to my teammate, Msgr. Tom. Together, we were privileged to minister to the wonderful people at Holy Trinity Parish in Erie. — Deacon Marty Eisert
With congratulations and grateful appreciation to Msgr. Tom McSweeney, our esteemed Postulator for The Cause for Gertrude Barber. Your deep faith and unwavering dedication inspire us as we travel together on this journey. — Barber National Institute
Here's to our favorite monsignor — a "Man for All Seasons!" Wishing you many more years "to dream the impossible dream," gracing our stages and our lives with your talent and friendship. — Kevin & Mary Cuneo

50 YEARS

Father Walter Packard

 Father Walter Packard has spent more than half of his priesthood as a pastor and administrator of parishes in the Diocese of Erie. In this year of his 50th jubilee, he reflects on an entire lifetime drawn to the Catholic priesthood. He first became interested in becoming a priest when he attended St. Peter Cathedral School in Erie. Not until his junior year at Cathedral Prep did he begin to seriously consider entering St. Mark Seminary for priestly formation. A native son of St. Mark the Evangelist Parish, Lawrence Park, he was ordained in 1971. He was immediately appointed to the faculty at Elk County Catholic in St. Marys. After one year there, he was appointed parochial vicar at St. Michael Parish, Greenville. He then was named parochial vicar at St. George, Erie, and later St. Joseph, Oil City. His pastorates began in 1983, when he was appointed to St. Joseph Parish, Lucinda. He also was pastor of St. Andrew Parish, Erie, and St. Joseph, Warren. In 2011, he was named pastor of St. Titus and St. Walburga parishes in Titusville, and Immaculate Conception in Centerville. He remains pastor of St. Titus, now with its secondary churches of St. Walburga and Immaculate Conception. During his priesthood, he also served as administrator of St. Michael Parish, Greenville; St. Francis of Assisi Parish, Bradford; and Our Mother of Perpetual Help, Lewis Run. Father Packard has been active on the diocesan level, having served for five years on the Presbyteral Council. For a brief time, he served as chaplain to the Sisters of Mercy in Erie. According to Father Packard, he tries to uphold the ideals of the prophet Isaiah, as stated in Isaiah 61:1-3: “The spirit of the Lord is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me; he has sent me to bring glad tidings to the lowly, to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and release to the prisoners.”

Congratulatory messages

Father Packard, we are honored that you started your early ministry here at St. George Parish in Erie. May God bless you!
Prep Class of 1963: Thank you for your service. Many blessings to you as you celebrate your jubilee. May God bless you. — Cathedral Prep and Villa Maria Academy, Erie
We are so grateful for your dedication, love and support of our parish and our faith community. God bless! — St. Titus parishioners
Congratulations on your milestone in serving the Lord. — The Bradford Catholic Community
Congratulations and blessings on your 50th jubilee anniversary. Thank you for your service to our parish. — Holy Cross Parish, Fairview
Congratulations on your jubilee! Thank you for your unwavering witness to our Lord and service to our church. May God continue His blessings upon you. — St. Joseph Parish, Warren
Thank you, Father Packard, for sharing your many gifts with our church and school. May God continue to bless you. — St. Joseph, Lucinda
St. Michael Parish, Greenville, and St. Margaret Mission, Jamestown, congratulate Father Walter Packard on his 50th anniversary of ordination.
May God bless you for your 50 years of generous service. Thank you for your pastoral devotion in the Lord for His people. Congratulations! — The Spiritual Family The Work
Congratulations and blessings as you celebrate the 50th anniversary of your ordination, Father Packard. — Sisters of Mercy of the Americas

40 YEARS

Bishop Mark Bartchak

 Bishop Mark Bartchak of the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown — an ordained priest of the Diocese of Erie — is celebrating his 40th jubilee year. In June, he was named by Pope Francis to be among 12 members of the Apostolic Signature, the Vatican’s highest court. Well trained in canon law, he earned his licentiate from The Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C., in 1989, and his doctorate in 1992. Before leading Altoona-Johnstown, beginning in 2011, he was judicial vicar and director of the Office of Conciliation and Arbitration of the Diocese of Erie. In addition to these duties, he was named vicar for Canonical Affairs of the Diocese of Erie in 2004. A native of the Cleveland area, Bishop Bartchak initially spent time as parochial vicar of St. Francis of Assisi Parish, Clearfield, and St. Leo Magnus, Ridgway, after his ordination in 1981. But beginning in 1986, he spent most of his priestly ministry in administration. He served on the Clergy Continuing Education board and Presbyteral Council of the Diocese of Erie, serving for nearly 20 years as a priest-in-residence at St. Stanislaus Parish, Erie. He has been involved in various roles in the Catholic Church on the state, national and international levels. In 2004, he was appointed to the administrative board and the executive committee of the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference. In 2007, he was appointed as a consultant for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Canonical Affairs and Church Governance. He served as canonical consultant for a number of bishops, dioceses, seminaries and religious institutes. He has also served as a judge for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in Rome and in various diocesan tribunals. Additionally, he has given presentations to clergy and laity around the country and has published articles on canon law topics in various journals. In 2000, Bishop Bartchak was named a Chaplain to His Holiness by the late St. John Paul II with the title of monsignor. He takes inspiration from the lives of the saints, saying, “It’s a real help to learn something from the faith journeys of other Christians, their struggles and how they have been sustained by God’s love.”

Congratulatory messages

Congratulations on your jubilee. Thank you for your service to God's people and especially those years at the Diocese of Erie Tribunal. May God bless you. — Father Marc Stockton & Erie Tribunal staff
The members of Gannon University family congratulate and wish God's continued blessings on Bishop Mark Bartchak as he celebrates his 40th jubilee anniversary.
The St. Stanislaus and Holy Trinity communities congratulate our native son, Bishop Bartchak, on his milestone anniversary. Sto Lat!
The clergy, religious and laity of the Diocese of Erie offer prayers and congratulations to our native son, the Most Rev. Mark Bartchak, bishop of the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown. May God bless you on your jubilee!

40 YEARS

Father Jeffrey Lucas

 Father Jeffrey Lucas — a pastor, academic and amateur photographer — is celebrating his 40th jubilee as a priest of the Diocese of Erie. A native of St. Bruno Parish, Greensburg, he graduated from St. Bruno School, Greensburg Salem High School, and Pittsburgh’s Duquesne University before enrolling for further studies at Gannon University in Erie. He pursued his priestly formation at St. Mark Seminary, Erie, and then Christ the King Seminary in East Aurora, New York, where he did extensive academic research on St. John Henry Newman. Ordained in 1981, he served three different Erie parishes as parochial vicar: St. Peter Cathedral, Our Lady of Mount Carmel and Our Lady of Peace. From 1993-94, he was administrator of St. Columbkille Parish, Stoneboro, while also serving as chaplain to the State Correctional Institution-Mercer. His first pastorate was at St. Joseph/Bread of Life, Erie, from 1994 to 2000. For the next two years, he was chaplain for Gannondale, Erie, and Penn State Behrend. He then moved on to secondary education, working as a part-time faculty member at Kennedy Catholic High School, Hermitage, from 2002-08, while also serving as pastor of St. Stanislaus Kostka Parish, Sharon. From 2008-13, he served Kennedy Catholic as vice president for Mission and Ministry and as president of its pastor board and advisory board, with residence at Good Shepherd Parish, West Middlesex. He returned to St. Stanislaus Kostka from 2011-13, this time as pastor. From 2013-17, he was pastor of Our Lady Queen of the Americas Parish, Conneaut Lake. Since 2014, he has served as campus minister at Allegheny College, Meadville. For the past four years, Father Lucas has led the parish communities of St. Agatha, St. Brigid and St. Mary of Grace, which have since combined into one new parish, Epiphany of the Lord. Father Lucas serves as the pastor of Epiphany of the Lord. Of his priesthood, Father Lucas says: “Personal prayer is the basis for all my ministry and all the work I do. It’s the inspiration for all my decisions and the direction of all my ministries.”

Congratulatory messages

The Kennedy Catholic Family of Schools extends our congratulations to you on your 40 years of service. Thank you for your commitment to Christ and His people.
Thank you for your service as assistant at Holy Rosary Parish, Erie!
Congratulations and blessings upon your 40th anniversary, Father Jeff. — The Epiphany of the Lord Parish, Meadville
The members of the Gannon University family congratulate and wish God's continued blessings on Father Jeffrey Lucas as he celebrates his 40th jubilee anniversary with the Diocese of Erie.
Congratulations on your 40th anniversary. We are grateful for your faithful witness to our Lord and service to the church. May God bless you. — Our Lady of Peace Parish, Erie
We are grateful for your dedication and faithful service to God's people. God bless! — St. Joseph/BOL Parish, Erie
Congratulations on your jubilee! Thank you for your service in the priestly ministry. — The parish community of St. Hippolyte, Frenchtown, and Our Lady of Lourdes, Cochranton
Congratulations on your faith-filled commitment in serving the needs of God's people. Many blessings to you as you celebrate your jubilee. — St. Peter Cathedral Parish, Erie

25 YEARS

Sister Ann Bannon, OSB

 Sister Ann Bannon, OSB, originally from Camp Hill, Pennsylvania, marks 25 years as a Benedictine Sister of Erie. She entered the community after raising her two children, Robert and Theresa, and after working as a grade-school teacher for many years. As a Benedictine, Sister Ann continued her teaching ministry at Blessed Sacrament School, Erie. and the St. Benedict Child Development Center. She also served at St. Mark Catholic Center as the director of programs developed to help families after separation and divorce. In her community, Sister Ann is known and loved for her playful sense of humor, her steady presence as receptionist, and her willingness to join in whenever card game is being played.

Congratulatory messages

Congratulations to a woman who is mother, teacher and friend; who loves to tease and who enjoys life. Your sisters honor you and give thanks for your presence among us. — Benedictine Sisters of Erie

25 YEARS

Sister Kathleen Dietz, FSO

 Sister Kathleen Dietz, FSO, celebrates 25 years of religious life this year, inspired by John 13:15: “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” As she says, “It isn’t important what task we are given to do. What is important is our love of God and neighbor.” Raised in Vermont, Sister Kathleen joined The Spiritual Family The Work — known simply as The Work — in their motherhouse in Bregenz, Austria, in 1993. After a year in Austria learning German and beginning her formation, she moved to Rome, where she lived 13 of the next 14 years. While there, she made her first vows. She also obtained her license, and later her doctorate, in theology from the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas, known as the Angelicum. At the Angelicum, she met Father Nicholas Rouch, an Erie priest who got to know The Work through their Newman library. He invited the community to visit the Diocese of Erie. In 2008, at the invitation of Bishop Donald Trautman, Sister Kathleen and another sister moved to Erie. She taught theology courses at Gannon University for five years and has worked in the Chancery of the diocese since 2013. In addition to her work in the Chancery, Sister Kathleen is in charge of her community in Erie and strives to serve her sisters in whatever ways necessary. Looking back, Sister Kathleen sees the great influence and example of her parents, of her first spiritual mentor, as well as of her brothers and sisters in The Work as crucial to her being able to follow God’s call. Outside her ministries for the diocese and her community, she enjoys writing and speaking about theology, in general, and about St. John Henry Newman, in particular, as well as gardening, hiking and being outdoors.

Congratulatory messages

The members of the Gannon University family congratulate and wish God's continued blessings on Sister Kathleen Dietz, FSO, as she celebrates her 25th jubilee anniversary.
Congratulations on your 25th jubilee! We are grateful for the faithful service you have given to the Diocese of Erie, to your community and to the Lord. — Your Chancery Office colleagues
Sister Kathleen, your friends in the Communications Office wish you a happy jubilee! We are grateful for your assistance with many aspects of our work and ask God’s blessing on you in the coming years.
Congratulations on your faith-filled commitment in serving the needs of God's people. Many blessings to you as you celebrate your jubilee. — St. Peter Cathedral Parish, Erie
My heart is ready, O God; I will sing, sing your praise! May your faithful service with a devoted heart and youthful joy persevere forever. Thank you for saying yes! — Your Sisters in Julia House
Mother Margaret Binder, FSO, international superior of The Spiritual Family The Work, expresses her congratulations to Sister Kathleen Dietz, FSO, celebrating her silver jubilee. She thanks God for the gift of her vocation!
The Spiritual Family The Work at Littlemore Oxford, UK, rejoices with Sister Kathleen Dietz. May St. John Henry Newman continue to accompany her in her consecrated life and dedication to the Church. Congratulations!

25 YEARS

Sister Patricia Hause, OSB

 Sister Patricia Hause, OSB, has been a Benedictine Sister of Erie for 25 years. An Erie native, she earned a degree in social work from Gannon University and was trained as a manager of housing. She has spent the majority of her ministry as administrator of Benetwood Apartments, a housing complex for low-income senior citizens. Sister Patricia began her service there in 1999. Since that time, she has helped to shape Benetwood into a community where all residents feel welcomed, known and cared for. For the past 15 years, she has been a member of the Independent Council on Aging, which named her Member of the Year in 2013. She has served as the organization's president for the past two years. In addition to her ministry at Benetwood, Sister Patricia currently serves as the Benedictine community’s personnel director and is a member of its Monastic Council.

Congratulatory messages

Congratulations to a woman of great hospitality who welcomes all as Christ and loves with an open heart. Your sisters honor you and give thanks for your presence among us. — Benedictine Sisters of Erie

25 YEARS

Sister Sandy Pedone, HM

 Sister Sandy Pedone, HM, is celebrating her silver jubilee as a Sister of the Humility of Mary. Since 1998, she has ministered as the director of religious education at St. Joseph Parish in Sharon. Previously, she served as religious education and youth ministry coordinator at St. Martha Parish, Akron, Ohio, from 1996-97. A native of Akron, she graduated from North High School in 1961, and for many years was employed as a secretary for the Ohio Edison Company in Akron. In addition to attending Walsh University in Canton, Ohio, Sister Sandy received a master’s certificate in religious studies from the Diocese of Youngstown in 2013, and catechist certification in 2006 from the Diocese of Erie. In 1995, she completed her certification in spiritual direction from the St. Joseph Christian Life Center in Euclid, Ohio. She holds professional memberships in Spiritual Directors International, the National Conference for Catechetical Leadership, the National Association of Parish Catechetical Directors, and the National Catholic Education Association. Having been previously married, Sister Sandy is a “sister mom.” She entered the Sisters of the Humility of Mary from St. Martha Parish, Akron, in 1994, with the blessing of her son and four daughters, who were grown adults. She made her first profession of vows in 1998 and perpetual vows in 2002. In addition to her five children, she has nine grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

Congratulatory messages

Congratulations on this special jubilee year. Thank you for your years of faith-filled service to Sacred Heart and St. Joseph Parishes, Sharon.

DEACON ANNIVERSARIES

The following deacons are celebrating anniversaries of their ordinations to the permanent diaconate in the Diocese of Erie.

20 YEARS

Deacon John Brophy

  Deacon John E. Brophy was a permanent deacon at Our Lady of Mercy Parish in Harborcreek from 2001 to 2014. He retired and moved to Ellenton, Florida. While in the Diocese of Erie, he and his wife, Kathi, were active with the refugee community, offering material and spiritual assistance. Deacon Brophy, who worked for 30 years as a health administrator at the Erie VA Medical Center, delivered donated appliances to refugee homes. As part of refugee outreach in Erie, the Brophys organized gift-giving and adopt-a-family programs, and Kathi cooked turkey dinners for hundreds of families who came together every year for the Feast of the Epiphany. The Diocese of Venice, Florida, does not have a reciprocity agreement with deacons over age 70, but Deacon Brophy has remained active, traveling with his wife throughout the world, including pilgrimages to Portugal, Spain, Greece and Turkey, and visits to Lourdes and Fatima. Despite his diagnosis of Alzheimer’s, he walks daily and swims 20 to 25 laps a day. “He is a gentle soul,” Kathi says of her husband. They are the parents of three adult children and eight grandchildren.

Congratulatory messages

Deacon Brophy, the Diocese of Erie extends prayers and blessings to you and your family. May God bless you as you celebrate your jubilee.

20 YEARS

Deacon William Gibson

  Deacon William Gibson is a permanent deacon at Sacred Heart Parish in St. Marys. He has served at the parish since his ordination to the permanent diaconate on March 27, 2001. Also, he is director of pastoral care at Pine Crest Manor nursing home, and Penn Highlands Elk hospital, both in St. Marys. In addition to his diaconate ministry, Deacon Gibson worked for 20 years as a journeyman at Domtar papermill in Johnsonburg. He loves everything about the diaconate, especially working with pastors, parish staff, parishioners and all the people he encounters in the nursing home and hospital settings. A big bonus, he says, is having had the opportunity to officiate at the weddings of three of his four children and baptize all of his eight grandchildren. He is married to Gloria Jean Gibson. ”I’ve been blessed,” he says.

Congratulatory messages

Deacon Gibson, the Diocese of Erie extends prayers and blessings to you and your family. May God bless you as you celebrate your jubilee.

20 YEARS

Deacon Jerome Peterson

  Deacon Jerome P. Peterson is the permanent deacon at St. Julia Parish in Erie. Following his ordination in 2001, he was assigned as permanent deacon to St. Patrick Parish, Erie, where he remained until his assignment to St. Julia in 2010. In addition to his parish work, Deacon Peterson has served in prison ministry at the State Correctional Institution-Albion, where he and his wife, Joan, lead rosary and the Divine Mercy Chaplet. As a deacon, he baptized one of his three grandchildren and has preached at several family funerals, including those of his parents and his stepson, Gary King. He takes great inspiration from Psalm 51:12-14, “A clean heart create for me, O God, and a steadfast spirit renew within me. Cast me not out from your presence, and your holy spirit take not from me. Give me back the joy of your salvation, and a willing spirit sustain in me.” That inspiration has sustained him through joys and heartache with a pure heart and a clear mind. “It allows me to see all the Spirit has to give me,” he says.

Congratulatory messages

The members of the Gannon University family congratulate and wish God's continued blessings on Deacon Jerome Peterson as he celebrates his 20th jubilee anniversary with the Diocese of Erie.


NEWLY ORDAINED PERMANENT DEACONS

Pictured in row 1, from left, are: Deacon Frank and Carrie Hannah, Deacon Paul and Debbie Barko, Bishop Lawrence Persico, and Deacon Paul and Joan McCoy. In row 2, from left, are: Deacon David and Peggy Jacquel, Deacon Lawrence and Anne Tyers, Deacon Joseph and Jennifer Glover, and Deacon Dan and Frances Reilly.
Photo by Anne-Marie Welsh


Seven permanent deacons ordained for the diocese

 On May 28, seven men were ordained permanent deacons for the Diocese of Erie during a ceremony at Our Lady of Peace Parish, Erie.
  The deacons and their wives were swept into hugs after the occasion, which came in the midst of the ongoing pandemic.
  “I did recognize a deep sense of peace … just that God was with me,” said newly ordained Deacon Frank Hannah of Notre Dame Parish in Hermitage.
  The Hannahs and the six other deacon couples were pleased to be at the end of a long journey of study, ready to begin a new chapter of their lives.
  Those ordained were: Paul Barko of Our Lady of Mercy Parish, Harborcreek; Joe Glover of Immaculate Conception Parish, Clarion; Frank Hannah of Notre Dame Parish, Hermitage; David Jacquel of Our Lady of Mercy Parish, Harborcreek; Paul McCoy of Our Lady of Peace Parish, Erie; Dan Reilly of St. Elizabeth of Hungary Parish, Smethport; and Lawrence Tyers of St. Joseph Parish, Warren.
  The Friday-night ordination was held at OLP because renovations at St. Peter Cathedral made the usual venue unavailable. The different setting seemed appropriate given the many other changes that have been necessary during the past year.
In his homily, Bishop Lawrence Persico said the pandemic — which covered the final year of preparation for the ordination — offered powerful lessons.
  The “notion of service, reflected in our concern for others rather than our own comfort and well-being … lies at the heart of this day and the sacred order to which our brothers have been called,” Bishop Persico said. “Indeed, the faith of an authentic disciple enables one to experience fulfilment not in the acclaim that we receive for what we do or in the success we can measure or list on a resume, but in the joy and peace that we are privileged to bring into the lives of others through the grace of God at work within us — even and often when that privilege comes with the price of pain and suffering.”
  Bishop Persico also thanked the wives of the new deacons, telling them that their love and support “has been a blessing not only to your husbands but to the Church of Erie and to the lives of all those who will be touched by their ministry of service.”


Appointments

The following permanent deacon appointments, which were announced by Bishop Lawrence Persico, are effective through June 30, 2027.

Deacon Paul J. Barko, Our Lady of Mercy Parish, Harborcreek

Deacon Joseph D. Glover, Immaculate Conception Parish, Clarion

Deacon Franklin G. Hannah, Notre Dame Parish, Hermitage

Deacon David E. Jacquel, St. Mark the Evangelist Parish, Lawrence Park, and Mount Calvary Parish, Erie

Deacon Paul W. McCoy, St. Lawrence the Martyr Parish, Albion, with its mission St. Philip Church, Crossingville

Deacon Daniel P. Reilly, St. Elizabeth of Hungary Parish, Smethport, with its mission St. Joseph Church, Mount Jewett

Deacon Lawrence A. Tyers, St. Joseph Parish, Warren



To send congratulatory wishes to these jubilarians, send notes/cards to the person in care of:

Office of Communications
St. Mark Catholic Center
429 E. Grandview Blvd.,
Erie, PA 16504
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