“Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.” — Psalms 62:2

Scripture often refers to rocks as a symbol of God’s reliability and strength. We are advised to build our lives upon stable rock that is God’s love, wisdom and salvation. Please join in celebrating the men and women of the Diocese of Erie who have done just that through their religious vocations.

The following are celebrating milestone jubilees in 2022.


CLICK HERE TO FIND A JUBILARIAN ALPHABETICALLY


75 YEARS

Sister Rose Marie Chisholm, SSJ

 A native of Cambridge, Massachusetts, Sister Rose Marie Chisholm, SSJ, entered the Sisters of St. Joseph from Sacred Heart Parish in Watertown, Massachusetts, on May 8, 1947. She professed her final vows in 1953. Sister Rose Marie graduated from Watertown Senior High School in Massachusetts and continued her education at Villa Maria College, Erie. She also attended the Cardinal Glennon School of X-ray Technology in St. Louis, Missouri, where she earned certification as a registered radiologic technician. “The deep faith and teaching of my parents helped me over the years, and the sisters I met during my school years helped me to know the future for me,” Sister Rose Marie says. For the first four years of her religious life, she taught at Sacred Heart School in Erie. She then dedicated most of life in ministry to health care. She served as an X-ray technician and supervisor at the following locations: Spencer Hospital in Meadville, Titusville Hospital in Titusville, and Orthopedic Associates of Meadville. She spent more than 42 years in the radiology field. She also served as the superior of the St. Joseph Convent in Meadville. When she returned to Erie, she ministered for 20 years as a receptionist, coordinator and assistant sacristan at the Sisters of St. Joseph Community Living Center, Erie, and was a receptionist at Saint Mary's Home of Erie.

Congratulatory messages

Thank you, Sister Rose Marie, for sharing your gifts. We are grateful for your faithful service to God's people. — The Sisters of St. Joseph of Northwestern Pennsylvania.
Sister Rose Marie — The Diocese of Erie extends prayers and blessings to you. May God bless you as you celebrate your jubilee.

75 YEARS

Sister Mary Grace Hanes, OSB

 Benedictine Sister Mary Grace Hanes celebrates 75 years of monastic profession this year. Shortly after graduating from Erie’s St. Benedict Academy in 1945, she entered the Benedictine Sisters of Erie, making her first profession in August 1947. After teaching in schools throughout the Diocese of Erie for about 15 years, Sister Mary Grace, known affectionately as “Gracie,” transitioned to administration, serving as principal and later as guidance counselor at St. Benedict Academy. She used her training in business education and guidance counseling to prepare many young women for productive, meaningful lives and careers. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Villa Maria College and studied at the University of Dayton in Ohio. Beginning in 1970, Sister Mary Grace served her community as the monastery coordinator for five years. She later assumed administrative roles, over a period of 21 years, in the office of Benedictine Sister Joan Chittister.

Congratulatory messages

Congratulations to a woman who prepared many young women for productive, meaningful lives and careers. Your sisters honor you and give thanks for your presence among us. — Benedictine Sisters of Erie
The members of the Gannon University family congratulate and wish God's continued blessings on Sister Mary Grace Hanes, Class of '54, as she celebrates her 75th jubilee anniversary in the Diocese of Erie.

75 YEARS

Sister Mary Mark McCarthy, RSM

 Mercy Sister Mary Mark McCarthy entered the Sisters of Mercy 75 years ago from St. Catherine of Siena Parish in Pittsburgh, taking the motto “All for Jesus.” A secondary motto could easily have been, “All for education.” After entering the community in 1947, she earned degrees from Mercyhurst University and Gannon University, both in Erie, and taught in three Diocese of Erie elementary schools: St. Catherine of Siena in DuBois, St. Titus in Titusville, and St. Luke in Erie, before being named principal of Ss. Cosmas and Damian in Punxsutawney, St. Thomas in Corry, St. Michael in Greenville, St. George in Erie, and St. Patrick in Franklin. For 20 years, Sister Mary Mark was religious education coordinator at St. Peter Cathedral Parish, Erie, along with duties as assistant house coordinator for her community. In recognition of her years as an educator, the late Pope St. John Paul II bestowed on her the Papal Medal Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice (For Church and Pope). Now comfortable and challenged, piecing together puzzles and themes at her leisure, she says, “I am grateful for the many years I have had in serving my community and the diocese in the classroom and administration.”

Congratulatory messages

Congratulations on your jubilee! Thank you for sharing your gifts and your service to God's people. — St Titus Parish, Titusville
Congratulations and many blessings on your 75th anniversary. Thank you for your years of faith-filled service. — Ss. Cosmas & Damian Parish, Punxsutawney
The parishioners of St. Catherine of Siena and St. Michael the Archangel parishes in DuBois offer their THANKS and CONGRATULATIONS to Sister Mary Mark McCarthy, RSM, for 75 years of service.
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 for your service and for making a positive difference in the lives of many! — St. Luke Parish, Erie
We rejoice and celebrate you, Sister Mary Mark, for 75 years of faithful service to God in this community of Mercy. — Sisters of Mercy of the Americas
St. George Parish in Erie offers thanks and prayers for your service and dedication to the Lord.
Congratulations on your anniversary! Thank you for your service to God and his people. We are grateful for your service to St. Thomas the Apostle Parish. God bless you!
The members of the Gannon University family congratulate and wish God's continued blessings on Sister Mary Mark McCarthy, Class of '71, as she celebrates her 75th jubilee in the Diocese of Erie.

75 YEARS

Sister Phyllis Marie McDonald, RSM

 Mercy Sister Phyllis Marie McDonald has been on a journey of change. As a young girl at St. Michael Grade School in Greenville, she wanted to devote herself to God. In high school, she enjoyed a youthful romance, but then suffered an illness that redirected her life. “When I finally recovered [from the illness], the desire to give my life to God returned with gusto,” she says. After entering the Sisters of Mercy 75 years ago, she was overcome with peace. She earned education degrees at Mercyhurst University, Erie, and Duquesne University, Pittsburgh, enabling her to teach in five Diocese of Erie elementary schools: St. Titus, Titusville; Ss. Cosmas and Damian, Punxsutawney; St. Luke and St. George, both in Erie; and the former Msgr. Geno J. Monti, Farrell. Following Vatican II, she served as director of postulants and novices for the Mercy community. She later moved to Fort Defiance, Arizona, as a teacher, spiritual life minister and missionary for 15 years on the Navajo Reservation. She returned to Erie to co-direct Grassroots Opportunities for Women (GROW). She eventually settled into serving as director of the curriculum library at Mercyhurst University for 17 years. Today, Sister Phyllis Marie tracks community news, saying, “Religious life involved me in challenging and rewarding ministries and jobs that I would never have chosen had I’d been on my own.”

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. George Parish, 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. Titus Parish, Titusville
Congratulations and many blessings on your 75th anniversary. Thank you for your years of faith-filled service. — Ss. Cosmas & Damian Parish, Punxsutawney
Thank you for your service and for making a positive difference in the lives of many! — St. Luke Parish, Erie
We rejoice and we celebrate with you, Sister Phyllis Marie, for 75 years of faithful service to God in this community of Mercy. — Sisters of Mercy of the Americas
Congratulations, Sister Phyllis Marie McDonald, on your 75th jubilee as a Sister of Mercy. Thank you for your dedication and service to God's people. — St. Michael Parish, Greenville

75 YEARS

Sister James Francis Mulligan, SSJ

 Sister James Francis Mulligan, SSJ, celebrates her 75th jubilee this year. A native of Meadville, she attended St. Brigid Elementary School and St. Agatha High School, both in Meadville. She graduated with a bachelor's degree in English from Villa Maria College, Erie, and went on to earn a master's from Marquette University, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She entered the Sisters of St. Joseph on Aug. 31, 1947, from her home parish of St. Brigid, professing her final vows in 1953. Sister James Francis helped educate thousands of students throughout the Diocese of Erie. She taught at St. Peter Cathedral, Holy Rosary, St. Andrew, and Villa Maria Elementary schools, all in Erie. She also taught at St. Mark Seminary, Villa Maria Academy, and — for 32 years — at Cathedral Prep. Outside of Erie, she taught at St. Leo High School in Ridgway. Many former students affectionately know her as "Sr. Jim." In addition, she taught at Villa Maria College and Gannon University. Sister James Francis received many honors, including the Erie Deanery's Teacher Hallmark Award. In 2007, she was honored for 60 years of service in Catholic education and as the Serra Club's Outstanding Woman Religious. In 2006, she received a Papal Cross for exemplary work for the “Church and the Pope.” In addition, she was inducted in 2002 into the Cathedral Prep Hall of Fame. For her congregation, she served as assistant superior and councilor for spiritual life, finances and as treasurer. “My parents inspired me in both word and by example in their service to the church and school,” Sister James Francis says. “No matter the trial or suffering, including a son killed in World War II, my parents exhibited a strong faith in God. They greatly influenced my faith and love of God.”

Congratulatory messages

Thank you, Sister James Francis, for your wonderful service to Holy Rosary School, Erie! Blessings on 75 years of religious life!
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 and thank you for your dedicated ministry in our community. We wish you God's continued blessings as you celebrate your jubilee. — Villa Maria Cathedral Preparatory Catholic School System, Erie
The members of the Gannon University family congratulate and wish God's continued blessings on Sister James Francis Mulligan, Class of '47, as she celebrates her 75th jubilee anniversary in the Diocese of Erie.
Thank you, Sister James Francis, 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 Bernadette Bell, RSM

 Mercy Sister Bernadette Bell — never idle in her 70 years of living in community as a Sister of Mercy — continues at a busy pace as local development coordinator and liaison for the newly formed Catherine’s Club Giving Circle, providing grants for local organizations. She attributes her zeal to her New England Irish Catholic parents who, she says, “not only taught me my religion, but practiced themselves what they expected of us … always involved in our activities, our education and our community.” Educated by the Benedictines at St. Joseph School in her hometown of Sharon, she spent summers at Erie’s Camp Glinodo and eventually enrolled at Mercyhurst University, where the Sisters of Mercy guided and influenced her. “I began to realize this was the life for me,” she says. She served more than 20 years as an elementary school administrator at St. Luke and St. George schools, became school supervisor for the diocese, was hired by the Middle States Association to coordinate schools for accreditation in the Diocese of Erie, and taught in the education department at Mercyhurst University. She served as a regional director for elementary schools in the Archdiocese of Boston. Elected to community leadership, she served eight years as regional vice president and three years as president of the local community, having also served as house coordinator. Sister Bernadette was active in many professional organizations and ministry boards. The Erie Serra Club named her Diocesan Religious Woman of the Year, and she was among those recognized as Women Making History. Mercyhurst University named her to their distinguished alumni list. Presently, Sister Bernadette serves as chair of the Retirement Fund for Religious Committee in the Diocese of Erie.

Congratulatory messages

Thank you, Sister Bernadette Bell, RSM, for sharing your many gifts. We are grateful for your faithful service to God's people. — St. Titus Parish, Titusville
The parishioners of St. Catherine of Siena and St. Michael the Archangel parishes in DuBois offer their THANKS and CONGRATULATIONS to Sister Bernadette Bell, RSM, for 70 years of service.
Thank you for your service and for making a positive difference in the lives of many! — St. Luke Parish, Erie
Your sacrifice and love for God's children will forever be appreciated by St. George Parish! Congratulations on your 70th jubilee!
We rejoice and celebrate with you, Sister Bernadette, for 70 years of faithful service to God in this community of Mercy. — Sisters of Mercy of the Americas
Congratulations on your 70th anniversary, Sister Bernadette! May God continue to bless you in all you do.
The members of the Gannon University family congratulate and wish God's continued blessings on Sister Bernadette Bell as she celebrates her 70th jubilee anniversary in the Diocese of Erie.

70 YEARS

Sister Mary Paul Carioty, RSM

 Mercy Sister Mary Paul Carioty says childhood challenges prompted her to want to minister to the sick, poor and homeless, as well as teach children, especially those whose parents were divorced. Having planned to attend Our Lady of Mercy High School in her native Rochester, New York, she was faced with the decision to abandon her Greek Orthodox heritage. Her mother told her, “If you go out that door, you don’t come back.” Sister Mary Paul says, “God told me to go out that door.” Sadly, she became a homeless student, but because of the kindness of Mercy Sister Francesca Connor, her tuition and supplies were provided. The generosity of school friends and an after-school job also helped her to graduate. Sister Mary Paul then worked as a clerk and a nurse’s aide at Rochester’s Strong Memorial Hospital. In 1952, she entered the Sisters of Mercy in Titusville. She reconciled with her divorced parents, went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in education, and, eventually, degrees as a licensed practical nurse and a registered nurse. She taught in Erie diocesan schools before nursing assignments at DuBois Regional Medical and Hamot Medical Center (now UPMC Hamot). Sister Mary Paul traveled to Ethiopia in East Africa, where she served as an obstetrics and emergency services nurse in a local clinic. For 17 years, she was director/nurse at Health Care for the Homeless Project in Washington, D.C. Still active and living her motto, “By the grace of God, I am what I am,” she is among the support staff in Baldwin Hall at her alma mater, Mercyhurst University.

Congratulatory messages

The members of St. Titus Parish, Titusville, congratulate you, Sister Mary Paul, and wish God's continued blessings on you as you celebrate your jubilee anniversary in the Diocese of Erie.
Many blessings to you. Thank you for your 70 years. May God bless you! — St. George Parish, Erie
We rejoice and celebrate with you, Sister Mary Paul, 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 Felice Duska, RSM

 Mercy Sister Mary Felice Duska has enjoyed a variety of ministries in her 70 years as a Sister of Mercy. Recently, after 24 years as executive director of Mercy Terrace Apartments, Erie, she moved on to serving in the finance office of her religious community in Erie and volunteering at Mercy Terrace. Over the past seven decades, she was an elementary school teacher in the Diocese of Erie. She also taught piano, conducted choirs, served in parish ministry, and was councilor on the Mercy Sisters’ leadership team in Erie. “Each place where I ministered and each capacity in which I served seemed to be the place where I should be working with the sisters, students and families at that time in my life,” she says. “Perhaps, this is the concept or result of living in the present moment.” A native of Holy Family Parish, Erie, she graduated from Mercyhurst Seminary (now Mercyhurst Preparatory), where she encountered the late Mercy Sister Mary Andre Ahearn, whom she describes as her “ideal and inspiration for my vocation.” Sister Felice earned a bachelor’s degree in music education from Mercyhurst University and a master’s from Duquesne University, Pittsburgh. She continued music studies by participating in pedagogy seminars in Pittsburgh and liturgical choral conferences sponsored by the national Pastoral Musicians Association. Ever focused and active, she says, “God and community are my treasures, and my heart is always there.”

Congratulatory messages

The parishioners of St. Catherine of Siena and St. Michael the Archangel parishes in DuBois offer their thanks and congratulations to Sister Mary Felice Duska, RSM, for 70 years of service.
Congratulations on your 70th jubilee. We are thankful for your years of teaching and music ministry in our parish. May God continue to bless your days, as you continue to serve Him. — St. Patrick Parish, Franklin
Congratulations on your 70th jubilee! We are grateful for the faithful service you have given to the Diocese of Erie, to your community and to the Lord. — St. Titus Parish, Titusville
We rejoice and we celebrate with you, Sister Mary Felice, for 70 years of faithful service to God in this community of Mercy — Sisters of Mercy of the Americas
Congratulations, Sister Mary Felice Duska, on your 70th jubilee as a Sister of Mercy. Thank you for your dedication and service to God's people. — St. Michael Parish, Greenville
Thank you, Sister Mary Felice, for all you've done for the Mercyhurst community over the years! Congratulations and blessings on your 70th anniversary!
Congratulations, Sister Mary Felice Duska (Class of '52 and MPS trustee), on your 70th jubilee. We are grateful for your many years of dedicated service to Mercyhurst Prep and are honored to celebrate this occasion with you.
The members of the Gannon University family congratulate and wish God's continued blessings on Sister Mary Felice Duska as she celebrates her 70th jubilee anniversary in the Diocese of Erie.

70 YEARS

Sister Mary Louis Eichenlaub, OSB

 Benedictine Sister Mary Louis Eichenlaub made her monastic profession 70 years ago this July. A graduate of St. Benedict Academy, Erie, she earned a bachelor's degree from Villa Maria College, a master’s from the University of Notre Dame, and graduate certification in gerontology from The Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C. She spent many years as a teacher, primarily at the high school level, including St. Benedict Academy, Venango Catholic and Cathedral Prep. She instilled her love of beauty, poetry and art in many students over the decades. After leaving the classroom, Sister Mary Louis worked for several years in pastoral ministry for the aging at St. Mary Parish, Erie, as an English instructor at St. Benedict Education Center, and as a director of social services at St. Joseph Apartments. For many years, she also was a member of Interchurch Ministries of Erie, forming important relationships with religious people and congregations throughout the city. In 1990, she received the Papal Cross in recognition of her years of service to the people of God.

Congratulatory messages

Congratulations to a woman who instilled her love of beauty, poetry and art in her many students over decades. Your sisters honor you and give thanks for your presence among us. — Benedictine Sisters of Erie
Sister Mary Louis — The Diocese of Erie extends prayers and blessings to you. May God bless you as you celebrate your jubilee.

70 YEARS

Sister Ann Patrice Murnock, SSJ

 Sister Ann Patrice Murnock, SSJ, is a native of St. Michael Parish in Forest City, Pennsylvania. She graduated from Forest City High School and earned a bachelor's degree in business from Villa Maria College in Erie. She entered the Sisters of St. Joseph in 1953, made her first profession in 1955, and final profession in 1958. “Entering the Sisters of St. Joseph was my way of making God an even bigger part of my life,” Sister Ann Patrice says. “I relied on the Hoy Spirit, and my prayers were answered.” She taught at St. Leo Magnus School in Ridgway, and at St. Andrew, St. Ann and St. Paul schools, all in Erie. In addition, she taught religious education at Mercer County Catholic Center in Mercer. Sister Ann Patrice served as a financial officer for her congregation. She later transitioned to health care and ministered as office manager at Spencer Hospital in Meadville. She retired from Saint Vincent Hospital, Erie, after serving as senior office clerk and outpatient coordinator.

Congratulatory messages

The members of the Gannon University family congratulate and wish God's continued blessings on Sister Ann Patrice Murdock, Class of '64, as she celebrates her 70th jubilee anniversary in the Diocese of Erie.
Thank you, Sister Ann Patrice, 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 Cecilia Sullivan, OSB

 Benedictine Sister Cecilia Sullivan made her monastic profession 70 years ago this July, having entered the Benedictine Sisters of Erie shortly after graduating from Sharon High School. The 11th of 12 children, Sister Cecilia brought a love of young people and family life to the schools and parishes where she ministered in the 1950s, ‘60s and ‘70s. In communities throughout the Diocese of Erie, from Clarion to Erie, Sister Cecilia prepared children for first Communion and taught academic subjects for all levels of grade school. She earned her degree at Mercyhurst University. In 1981, Sister Cecilia went to Ketchikan, Alaska, to begin a five-year ministry as a teacher for the Holy Name and Holy Family Missions. After returning to Pennsylvania, she ministered to the elderly for eight years at St. John XXIII Home in Hermitage. She spent the next 20 years on the staff of the St. Benedict Education Center in Erie, helping immigrants and refugees transition into successful lives in the U.S. Since retiring from active ministry at the age of 80, Sister Cecilia has served the monastic community in many different roles, including as sacristan and portress.

Congratulatory messages

Congratulations to a woman with enthusiasm for life, love of justice and an eye toward what can be. Your sisters honor you and give thanks for your presence among us. — Benedictine Sisters of Erie
Thank you for all your years of service to the diocese. We are most grateful for your service to Sacred Heart Parish in Sharon. May God continue to bless you. — St. Joseph Parish, Sharon

70 YEARS

Sister Mary Arnold Tann, SSJ

 Sister Mary Arnold Tann, SSJ, dedicated most of her 70 years of religious life ministering in education as a teacher and administrator. A native of Hamilton, Ohio, she moved with her family to Erie, where she graduated from Villa Maria Academy and earned her bachelor's degree in elementary education from Villa Maria College. She also earned certifications in school administration from Duquesne University, Pittsburgh, and library science from Penn State Behrend. Sister Mary Arnold entered the Sisters of St. Joseph from St. Andrew Parish, Erie, in 1952. She made her final profession in 1958. Her ministry in education includes 30 years as a teacher at several diocesan schools, including Blessed Sacrament, Villa Maria Elementary, St. Peter, Our Lady of Peace, and St. Ann schools, all in Erie; St. Bernard School, Bradford; and as principal at Blessed Sacrament and Our Lady of Peace. In addition, for 24 years, she was an administrator with the Diocese of Erie's Office of Education, serving as director of teacher personnel, superintendent of schools, and associate vicar for education. Following her retirement, she served as a volunteer at Saint Vincent Hospital in Erie. “The prayerfulness and love of my family strengthened me as I responded to God’s invitation to be a Sister of St. Joseph,” she says. “Within the community, I found a very dedicated spirit and strong faith in serving God and his people in a variety of ministries.”

Congratulatory messages

Congratulations and many thanks for the years of service you have provided for the Bradford Catholic Community. — St. Bernard Parish, Bradford
May the Lord bless you for your faithful ministry: guiding, supporting, teaching and carrying out God's service of love. Congratulations on your 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
Congratulations! Promise of Prayer. Special thanks for your ministry and personal support at Our Lady of Peace (1972-1978) — Msgr. Kaza
Villa Maria Class of 1949: Congratulations and thank you for your dedicated ministry service in our community. We wish you God's continued blessings as you celebrate your jubilee. — Villa Maria Cathedral Preparatory Catholic School System, Erie
The Gannon University family congratulate and wish God's continued blessings on Sister Mary Arnold Tann, Class of '62/'73, as she celebrates her 70th jubilee anniversary in the Diocese of Erie
Thank you, Sister Mary Arnold, 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 Ricarda Vincent, SSJ

 Sister Ricarda Vincent, SSJ, is a native of Erie and a graduate of Strong Vincent High School. She entered the Sisters of St. Joseph in 1952 from her home parish of St. Andrew, making her final profession in 1958. “It was a rather gradual, constant, and consistent call which, at times, I tried to ignore but finally responded by entering the Sisters of St. Joseph,” Sister Ricarda says. “I have often thought that the description of God’s pursuit in Frances Thompson’s poem, ‘The Hound of Heaven,’ described how I felt about my call.” Sister Ricarda earned a bachelor's degree in elementary education from Villa Maria College, Erie, and a master's degree in human services from John Carroll University, Cleveland, Ohio. Most of her ministries revolved around education, both in schools and parishes of the Diocese of Erie. She taught at the former St. Joseph Home for Children, Erie; St. John the Baptist, Blessed Sacrament and St. Patrick schools, all in Erie; and at St. Brigid School, Meadville. She served as principal at Holy Rosary Parish, Erie, while also ministering as the parish’s director of religious education. Active in her congregation, she assumed various leadership positions, including as social justice coordinator, counselor, novice director and president. In 2008, she became the first vice president of mission integration at Saint Vincent Hospital. Sister Ricarda also served as a counselor at Sacred Heart School, Erie, and as pastoral minister and director of religious education at Sacred Heart Parish, Erie. Until her recent retirement, she provided dynamic leadership for 10 years as the adult formation director at Sacred Heart Parish.

Congratulatory messages

Thank you, Sister Ricarda, for your service to both St. John and Holy Rosary schools! Congratulations on 70 years of religious life!
Congratulations on your anniversary! Thank you for your years of service in Meadville. — The Epiphany of the Lord Parish, Meadville
The members of the Gannon University family congratulate and wish God's continued blessings on Sister Ricarda Vincent, Class of '64 and former board of trustees member (1999-2007), as she celebrates her 70th jubilee anniversary in the Diocese of Erie.
Thank you, Sister Ricarda, 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

Msgr. Bruce Allison

 Msgr. Bruce Allison remains an active pastor in the Diocese of Erie, despite being 11 years past full retirement age. At 86, he continues to serve as pastor of St. Julia Parish in Erie. He says the Lord keeps him going. “It’s up to the Lord to tell me when to quit,” Father Allison says with a chuckle. In December 2021, he celebrated the 60th anniversary of his ordination to the Catholic priesthood, but he marks the occasion with his jubilee classmates in 2022. His ordination was an auspicious occasion since he was among the very few priests ever to be ordained at St. Peter Basilica in Rome. He earned his licentiate in sacred theology from the Gregorian University in Rome, but returned to Erie in 1962, when he celebrated his first Mass at his home parish of St. Joseph. He then was appointed summer parochial vicar at St. Luke Parish. He returned to Rome for further studies until 1964. Upon returning to Erie at that time, he was appointed to the faculty and served as dean of students at St. Mark Seminary, where he remained until 1983. While ministering at the seminary, he also served as administrator of St. Cyprian Parish, Waterford. From 1983-95, he was pastor of St. Mary of Grace Parish, Meadville, and then became headmaster of Cathedral Prep, where he remained until 2000. He taught Latin, too, with many of his students earning high honors in the National Latin Exam. Father Allison assumed his next pastorate at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish, Erie, where he served from 2000-08. In 2008, he took over as pastor of St. Julia. At the diocesan level, he served for a number of years on the Presbyteral Council and as a pre-synodal judge (now the College of Consultors). Of his priesthood, he says, “I enjoy working with people and bringing the sacraments to them.”

Congratulatory messages

Blessings to you on your 60th anniversary! May God continue to bless you. — St. Joseph/Bread of Life Community Parish
Congratulations on your anniversary! Thank you for your years of service in Meadville. — The Epiphany of the Lord Parish, Meadville
Prep Class of 1954: Congratulations and thank you for your dedicated ministry in our community. We wish you God's continued blessings as you celebrate your jubilee. — Villa Maria Cathedral Preparatory Catholic School System, Erie
The members of the Gannon University family congratulate and wish God's continued blessings on Msgr. Bruce Allison, Class of '72, as he celebrates his 60th jubilee anniversary in the Diocese of Erie.
Congratulations and many blessings to you, Father Allison, on your 60th Jubilee Anniversary. We are so grateful for the 14 years of ministry that you have given to St. Julia, and are so blessed to have known you. May God’s blessings be with you always. — St. Julia Parish, Erie

60 YEARS

Father William Kuba

 Father William Kuba was first drawn to the priesthood while observing priests celebrate Mass at his home parish of St. Nicholas in Struthers, Ohio. It was only a matter of time before he enrolled in St. Mark Seminary, Erie, at the invitation of his cousin, the late Msgr. Stephen Meko. “I always wanted to be a shepherd of the people,” he says. Now 86, Father Kuba still remains active well past retirement age. Since 1999, he has served as pastor and now as administrator of St. Eusebius Parish, East Brady, and St. Richard Church in Rimersburg. He says one Mass during the week and three Masses on weekends. “I do the best I can for the people, and they treat me wonderfully,” he says. Following his ordination in 1962, he became parochial vicar at Beloved Disciple Parish in Grove City. For many years, he taught at Elk County Catholic High School in St. Marys, where he also functioned as assistant headmaster for about five years. During that time, he was weekend assistant at Holy Rosary Parish, Johnsonburg, and for one year was administrator at St. Benedict in Daguscahonda. Besides his pastorates at St. Eusebius and St. Richard, he was pastor at St. Thomas the Apostle, Corry; St. Callistus, Kane; St. Francis of Assisi, Bradford; and St. Bibiana, Galeton. For the Diocese of Erie, Father Kuba acted as dean of the Bradford Deanery, and was a member of the Presbyteral Council, the Finance Council and the Priests’ Senate. He remains a 4th degree member of the Knights of Columbus.

Congratulatory messages

Congratulations and many thanks for the years of service you have provided for the Bradford Catholic Community. — St. Bernard Parish, Bradford
Thank you for your service to St. George Parish in Erie. We pray for God's blessing for you on your 60th jubilee!
Prep Class of 1954: Congratulations and thank you for your dedicated ministry in our community. We wish you God's continued blessings as you celebrate your jubilee. — Villa Maria Cathedral Preparatory Catholic School System, Erie
Thank you, Father Kuba, for your priestly witness at St. Callistus Parish. You brought stability and order to our parish at a key time. May the Lord's blessings be upon you! — St. Callistus Parish, Kane
The members of the Gannon University family congratulate and wish God's continued blessings on Father William Kuba as he celebrates his 60th jubilee anniversary in the Diocese of Erie.

60 YEARS

Sister Rita Lynch, MHSH

 Born and raised in Erie, Sister Rita Lynch, MHSH, has served in many and varied ministries since joining the Mission Helpers of the Sacred Heart in 1962. She earned a degree in psychology from Loyola University, Maryland, and served on a “mission circuit” during her early ministries in Colorado, South Carolina, Virginia and Texas. She mostly worked with adults in small, rural parishes, training catechists and teaching them how to reach out to people and invite them to come to the church or return to the faith. She then moved to a large parish in Fairport, New York, where there more than 1,600 youngsters in the religious education program. Wherever her ministries took her, she always spent some time with special-needs people. In 1993, she became full-time Catholic chaplain at Polk Center in Franklin, a state residential facility for women and men with developmental disabilities. After leaving Polk, she became an assistant for inclusion at the Sunrise Drive Elementary School in Tucson, Arizona, where her mission was to help special-needs children transition to regular elementary school classrooms. Additionally, she helped refugees from Central America find sanctuary in the United States, and she traveled to Jamaica as a representative of Food for the Poor. Sister Rita currently lives in North East, where she does family ministry and volunteer ministry with seniors. In particular, she supports local activities that serve seniors and special-needs children. “I’m grateful for all the people who have shared their life stories with me,” she says. “I see what they have done with so little and know that it’s not what people have that matters; it’s what is deep inside their hearts.”

Congratulatory messages

Sister Rita, the Diocese of Erie extends prayers and blessings to you. Thank you for your contributions to our diocese. May God bless you as you celebrate your 60th jubilee!

60 YEARS

Sister Teresa Okonski, RSM

 Mercy Sister Teresa Okonski reflects on her daily routine 60 years ago when she began her days with prayer and Mass, and then spent the rest of her time attending to the needs of young people. Her inspiration was the late Mercy Sister Aurelia Helmheckel, who prompted her to consider religious life as just a second-grader at St. Catherine Grade School in DuBois. “I so admired her unique approach with young children and the warmth she extended to all around her. She was a model of goodness that I wished to emulate,” she says. The young Teresa did follow her teacher’s example. Following graduation from St. Catherine High School, she enrolled at Mercyhurst University. “After my first year in college, I started to feel their ‘fire’ for good works and dedication to God,” she recalls. She graduated, pursuing further degrees at Kutztown University of Pennsylvania, and Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska. She went on to teach in Diocese of Erie grade schools, including St. George, St. Luke and Immaculate Conception, all in Erie, and Our Lady of Fatima in Farrell. Over the years, she directed religious education and served as librarian/secretary and coordinator of student liturgies and Campus Ministry at Mercyhurst Preparatory School in Erie. After 60 years of dedication to the youth of the diocese, she has returned to those yesteryear days “spent in personal prayer.”

Congratulatory messages

Thank you for your service to St. George Parish, Erie. We pray for God's blessing for you on your 60th jubilee!
The parishioners of St. Catherine of Siena and St. Michael the Archangel parishes in DuBois offer their THANKS and CONGRATULATIONS to Sister Teresa Okonski, RSM, for 60 years of service.
Thank you for your service and for making a positive difference in the lives of many! — St. Luke Parish, Erie
We rejoice and we celebrate with you, Sister Teresa, for 60 years of faithful service to God in this community of Mercy. — Sisters of Mercy of the Americas
Congratulations, Sister Teresa Okonski, on your 60th jubilee! We are grateful for your service to Mercyhurst Prep (campus ministry) and are honored to celebrate with you.

60 YEARS

Sister Natalie Rossi, RSM

 Mercy Sister Natalie Rossi, even after 60 years in religious life, remains one of those on-the-go individuals. Today, she serves as part-time pastoral/campus minister at Mercyhurst University, Erie, and part-time contract chaplain at the Women’s State Correctional Facility at Cambridge Springs, where she previously ministered for 15 years. Among her favorite assignments over the years were her 15-year venture in team ministry at the Navajo Reservation in Fort Defiance, Arizona, and prison ministry in Bernalillo County Detention Center in Albuquerque, New Mexico. “I was able to be myself … in both ministries. I developed programs to fit the needs of the Navajos and prisoners after assessing their needs,” she says. Returning to Erie, where she had once been among the early lay-cadet teachers from Mercyhurst University, she served as councilor for four years on NyPPaW’s Community Leadership team. She went on to develop and coordinate the Female Offenders Program, Erie, and was coordinator of education for the incarcerated attending Mercyhurst University. Growing up in Grove City, she was taught by her parents “to be open to all peoples, to be compassionate, non-judgmental, a good listener, creative and open to new ideas.” She took those lessons with her as a teacher at St. Luke School, Erie, and at the former Msgr. Geno J. Monti School, Farrell. “I have been able to grow through the many opportunities I have had in ministry,” she says. “My talents and creativity have been nourished … in the spiritual and corporal works of mercy that the sisters live.”

Congratulatory messages

Thank you for your service and for making a positive difference in the lives of many! — St. Luke Parish, Erie
Congratulations! I have been using the chalice your father crafted for me 50 years ago. Thank you for your ministry. — Father Kaza
We rejoice and celebrate with you, Sister Natalie, for 60 years of faithful service to God in this community of Mercy. — Sisters of Mercy of the Americas
Congratulations on your 60th anniversary, Sister Natalie! We are blessed to have you as part of the Mercyhurst University community.
Congratulations to our hometown Sister! — Church of the Beloved Disciple, Grove City

60 YEARS

Sister Patricia Whalen, RSM

 In her 60 years of religious life, Mercy Sister Patricia Whalen has stepped into a welcoming role as house coordinator at the Erie Sisters of Mercy Motherhouse. Prior ministries included serving on the leadership team for the New York, Pennsylvania West Community, Sisters of Mercy of the Americas, and teaching in the Education Department at her alma mater of Mercyhurst University, where she had served as assistant academic dean and registrar. During the early years of her religious life, she taught at St. George School, Erie, and St. Patrick School, Franklin, where she also served briefly as principal. For her religious community in Erie, she served as vice president from 1987-96. During that time, she relinquished her full-time teaching load at Mercyhurst but continued to supervise the Cadet Teacher Program and the Pre-teaching Internship Program. In addition to educational ministries, Sister Pat lived and volunteered at Hope House, a residence for homeless women and their children, that evolved into Mercy Center for Women. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, she visited inmates at the Erie County Prison. It was Sister Pat’s time in secondary school and college classrooms, specifically with the Sisters of Mercy, that fostered her idea to become a woman religious. “My parents also provided my siblings and me with a legacy of deep faith, exceptional generosity, faithfulness, trust in God’s providence and unconditional love,” she says. A native of Erie’s St. Peter Cathedral Parish, she says these graces and her life lived in the Mercy tradition, along with her many companions both lay and religious, have supported and strengthened her throughout these 60 years.

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
Thank you for your service. Many blessings to you as you celebrate your jubilee. May God bless you! — St. George Parish, Erie
We rejoice and celebrate with you, Sister Patricia, for 60 years of faithful service to God in this community of Mercy. — Sisters of Mercy of the Americas
Thank you, Sister Patricia for your lifetime of support of the Mercyhurst community. Congratulations and blessings on your 60th anniversary!
Thank you, Sister Patricia Whalen, Class of '59 and former MPS trustee, for your dedication and service to Mercyhurst Prep. We are honored and blessed to celebrate the wonderful occasion of your 60th jubilee. Congratulations!

60 YEARS

Sister Theresa Zoky, OSB

 Benedictine Sister Theresa Zoky celebrates her 60th jubilee this year. Raised in Sharon, Sister Theresa entered the Benedictine Sisters of Erie soon after graduating from high school. For 23 years, she taught in Catholic grade schools throughout the Diocese of Erie. She helped countless children to develop their talents and to grow in curiosity, respect for others, and self-esteem. She holds a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Mercyhurst University. Beginning in 1984, she worked for the Diocese of Erie, and for 20 years was director of the Mission Office. Sister Theresa was instrumental in growing the Mission of Friendship between the Diocese of Erie and the Archdiocese of Yucatán, Mexico, building relationships between the two dioceses. She also ministered at Our Lady of Mercy Parish, Harborcreek, as the office manager. From 2013-18, she served as the director of AIM USA, the U.S. Secretariat of the Alliance for International Monasticism, encouraging relationships between monastic communities in the developing world and those in the United States. For the last several years, she has worked as the archivist for the Erie Benedictines, keeping record of the important events in the life of the community.

Congratulatory messages

Congratulations to a woman who helped grow the Mission of Friendship, building relationships between Erie and Yucatán, Mexico. Your sisters honor you and give thanks for your presence among us. — Benedictine Sisters of Erie
Congratulations, Sister Theresa Zoky, OSB, for 60 years of faithfulness to God, and for your presence and commitment to the people and staff of Our Lady of Mercy Church!
The members of the Gannon University family congratulate and wish God's continued blessings on Sister Theresa Zoky, as she celebrates her 60th jubilee anniversary in the Diocese of Erie.

50 YEARS

Msgr. Charles Kaza

 “Hope, one of the three theological virtues, is so badly needed today,” Msgr. Charles Kaza says. “So many quickly lose hope in God, themselves, family, friendship, and, of course, church.” But he points out that a solid foundation in faith can make all the difference. “Our hope is solidly based in Christ and his mercy,” he says. A proud citizen — some might say ambassador — of his hometown of Punxsutawney, he grew up as a parishioner at Ss. Cosmas & Damian Parish. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1972, spending the first six years of his priesthood as parochial vicar of Our Lady of Peace Parish in Erie. He then served at Erie’s St. John the Baptist Parish, where he was named pastor in 1986. Throughout his priesthood, he has used his administrative skills in various capacities, ranging from membership on the Presbyteral Council and Priests’ Personnel Board to a long-time role as vicar of the Eastern Vicariate. He served as administrator at Holy Cross in Brandy Camp, St. Mark in Emporium, and St. Leo Magnus in Ridgway, but spent more than three six-year terms as pastor of St. Tobias, Brockway, from 2001 until his retirement in July 2022. During that time, he also was named vicar general for the Diocese of Erie. Msgr. Kaza is known for his pastoral approach, inspired by the text in St. John’s Gospel that details Christ washing his disciples’ feet. The action, he says, is a way “of connecting daily celebration of the Eucharist and daily ministry to God’s people.”

Congratulatory messages

Have a great retirement! The people of St. Mark in Emporium really valued your ministry to us!
You are very fondly remembered and supported always by your faithful friends at St. John the Baptist Parish! Happy 50th anniversary!
Congratulations and best wishes on your 50th anniversary! May God continue to bless you abundantly! From your home parish of Ss. Cosmas & Damian in Punxsutawney
50th anniversary wishes and our heartfelt thanks to Msgr. Charles Kaza for his years of service to our area. — Parishioners of St. Catherine of Siena and St. Michael the Archangel parishes, DuBois
We are grateful for your years of service at Our Lady of Peace and for bringing Christ into our lives each day. Thank you for 50 years of priestly service!
The members of the Gannon University family congratulate and wish God's continued blessings on Msgr. Charles Kaza, Class of '66, as he celebrates his 50th jubilee anniversary in the Diocese of Erie.
The people of St. Tobias Church in Brockway, send their most heartfelt congratulations to our long-time, beloved shepherd, Monsignor Charles Kaza! The impact he made on our lives could never be measured, but will be forever remembered.
Msgr. Kaza, Thank you for your many years of service to the Diocese of Erie as episcopal vicar for the Eastern Vicariate. The clergy, women religious of Catholic Rural Ministry, and the Faithful of the Eastern Vicariate have been deeply blessed by your work on their behalf.

50 YEARS

Msgr. Robert Malene

 In his 50 years as a Catholic priest, Msgr. Robert Malene has led people to God in parishes and in the U.S. Navy. Retired since 2017 and now living in Scottsdale, Arizona, he spent the last seven years of his active ministry as pastor of Church of the Good Shepherd in West Middlesex. In 1977, he was granted permission to leave the diocese to pursue his lifelong ambition to join the Navy. Thus began his 31-career as a Navy chaplain. He was stationed throughout the United States, in Italy and in Japan. He explains why serving in a military community is a wonderful way to evangelize: “You’re still serving the people of God. You minister to people and their families. The only difference is you’re on a ship, so you live and work with your congregation.” A native of Oil City, Msgr. Malene remembers wanting to be a priest even as a youngster. But it wasn’t until his time at Venango Catholic High School that he seriously started considering the priesthood as his life’s vocation. After his ordination in 1972, he was assigned as parochial vicar at Christ the King Parish, Houtzdale. Briefly, he served as parochial administrator at St. Michael Parish, Emlenton. Following his military service, he returned to the diocese in 2008, when he was named pastor of Good Shepherd. He remained in that position until retiring in 2017. Outside his parish ministry, he also served as chaplain of the Serra Club of Mercer County and was the vicar for the Western Vicariate. He served on the following diocesan boards: the Presbyteral Council and the Bishop’s College of Consultors.

Congratulatory messages

Congratulations and blessings upon your 50th anniversary! — Christ the King Parish, Houtzdale
Congratulations to my classmate! Thanks for your ministry, especially in the U.S. Navy. Keeping you in prayer. — Charlie Kaza
The Gannon University family congratulates and wishes God's continued blessings on Msgr. Robert Malene (chaplain, USN Retired; endowed scholarship), as he celebrates his 50th jubilee anniversary in the Diocese of Erie.
From furniture builder to wine making, from Buongiorno at sunup to Buanosera at night, no one wore sandals with more flare (or flame)! — The Parish of the Good Shepherd
Msgr. Malene, Thank you for your many years of service to the Diocese of Erie as vicar for the Western Vicariate. The clergy, women religious and the Faithful of the Western Vicariate have been deeply blessed by your work on their behalf.

50 YEARS

Sister Charlene Schaaf, CDP

 Sister Charlene Schaaf entered the Sisters of Divine Providence in 1972 from St. Luke Parish in Erie. She served as an elementary music teacher in various parochial schools and as a pastoral associate and liturgy/music director in parishes in the Diocese of Pittsburgh, the Diocese of Youngstown, Ohio, and the Archdiocese of Denver. She earned continuing professional education (CPE) credits through Duquesne University, Pittsburgh, and Presbyterian/St. Luke Hospital in Denver. Her first position in Colorado was as spiritual services director at St. Francis Nursing Center in Colorado Springs (1996-99), and then as staff chaplain at St. Anthony Central Hospital (2000-05) in Denver. From 2005-10, she ministered as a night/weekend chaplain at Exempla Lutheran Medical Center in Wheat Ridge, Colorado. Through the Benedictine Spiritual Formation Program, in Colorado Springs, Sister Charlene earned her certificate in spiritual direction and guided several directees from 2005 until 2010. Before she left Colorado, she taught fifth grade and worked as the music/liturgy director at St. Louis Parish in Louisville, Colorado, and was a substitute fifth-grade teacher for three months at St. Francis School in Denver. In 2010, Sister Charlene returned to her hometown of Erie to care for her aging mother. In her free time, she taught music for five years at the Neighborhood Art House, an after-school program for low-income students. For one year, she was a substitute teacher at her former high school, Mercyhurst Prep, and spent eight years as the choir director at St. Lawrence Church in Albion. From 2012-20, she worked as a chaplain at UPMC Hamot, first as per diem and then full time. In March 2022, she returned to the Denver area to work with SCL Health and serve as a chaplain at Good Samaritan Medical Center.

Congratulatory messages

Thank you for your service and for making a positive difference in the lives of many! — St. Luke Parish, Erie
Congratulations on your 50th jubilee celebration, Sister Charlene Schaaf. Many blessings to you as you celebrate this wonderful occasion. — Mercyhurst Prep

40 YEARS

Father Chris Hamlett

 “When I began to reflect on what God wanted me to do with my life — where to go to college, what path to follow in life — I listened to the Lord with an open heart and he led me to where I am today,” says Father Chris Hamlett, pastor of St. Philip Parish, Linesville, and St. Peter Parish in Conneautville. That path began at his native parish of St. George, Erie, but has since taken him to a wide array of parishes and schools throughout northwest Pennsylvania. Father Hamlett’s first assignments were as weekend assistant at St. Leo Magnus, Ridgway; St. Mark Parish, Emporium; and St. Boniface Parish, Kersey, all while he was on the faculty at Elk County Catholic High School in St. Marys. He lived at Sacred Heart Parish in St. Marys during that assignment. In 1987, he was named to the faculty at Cathedral Prep, Erie, where he taught for about five years. Among the parishes he served during that time were St. Andrew, St. Paul and Holy Family, all in Erie. Father Hamlett continued to work in education, but beginning in 1995, became an adjunct faculty member at Gannon University. He lived and served at the following parishes while working in higher education: St. George and St. Andrew parishes, both in Erie; St. James Parish, Wesleyville, and St. Agatha Parish, Meadville. Father Hamlett has accepted temporary and short-term assignments at many parishes in need over the years until he was named pastor of St. Philip in Linesville in 2013, and a year later, St. Peter in Conneautville. He continues to minister in those parishes today. He also took on the role of administrator at St. Hippolyte Parish, Guys Mills, in 2021, and is serving on the diocesan presbyteral council as dean of the Meadville Deanery through 2024.

Congratulatory messages

Congratulations on your anniversary! Thank you for your years of service in Meadville. — The Epiphany of the Lord Parish, Meadville
Congratulations and thank you for your dedicated ministry in our community. We wish you God's continued blessings as you celebrate your jubilee. — Villa Maria Cathedral Preparatory Catholic School System, Erie
The members of the Gannon University family congratulate and wish God's continued blessings on Father Chris Hamlett, Class of '78 and former assistant professor of math, on his 40th jubilee anniversary in the Diocese of Erie.

40 YEARS

Father James McCormick

 For 40 years, Father James McCormick has served the Diocese of Erie, as a parish priest and as an educator. A native of Holy Rosary Parish, Erie, he was ordained to the priesthood in 1982. He served briefly as parochial vicar at St. Leo Magnus Parish, Ridgway, and at Sacred Heart Parish, Erie, but then was parochial vicar for six years at Erie’s St. Stanislaus Parish. From 1989 to the present, he has held varying roles at St. James Parish, Erie, as a resident priest, administrator and pastor. He considers himself blessed to have good pastors and mentors during his formation in parishes, including the late Father Joseph Radziszewski, the late Msgr. Lester Enright and the late Father Robert Cohan. Perhaps Father McCormick’s most influential work has been his compassion and outreach to people with drug addiction and their families. He helped create a support group, which is no longer active, but he continues to offer two Masses a year (in August and in February) for addicts, the ill and those suffering from unemployment. “Reaching out to the families of those who have lost loved ones to drug addiction or overdose has meant a lot to me because it’s an extension of the healing ministry of Jesus and hopes to be enclosure and peace to those families that are struggling and really hurting,” he says. For one year, he was chaplain at Hamot Medical Center (now UPMC Hamot). Additionally, Father McCormick taught full-time at Cathedral Prep from 1989 to 2007. Since 2007, when he was named pastor of St. James, he has been teaching part-time at the school. “I’ve been fortunate to be involved in both parish life and in education,” he says. “I’ve seen ministry from a different perspective in dealing with young people and with parishioners.”

Congratulatory messages

Congratulations on your 40th anniversary of ordination. From your home parish of Holy Rosary in Erie!
Prep Class of 1974: Congratulations and thank you for your dedicated ministry in our community. We wish you God's continued blessings as you celebrate your jubilee. — Villa Maria Cathedral Preparatory Catholic School System, Erie
Well done, good and faithful servant! — Maria House Project
The members of the Gannon University family congratulate and wish God's continued blessings on Father James McCormick, Class of '78/'89, as he celebrates his 40th jubilee anniversary in the Diocese of Erie.
Congratulations, Father Jim, for 40 wonderful years, sharing your love of Christ with your family of parishioners at St. James Church. Your dedication and support is very much appreciated!

25 YEARS

Father Richard Allen

 Father Richard Allen, who grew up attending Notre Dame Parish, Hermitage, earned a degree in physics and an MBA before discerning his vocation to the priesthood. After ordination, he spent two months at St. Thomas Parish, Corry. He was then appointed as parochial vicar at St. Agatha Parish, Meadville, followed by a four-year term in the same role at St. George Parish, Erie. His administrative skills came into play when he was elected to the Priests’ Personnel Board in 2005. He next served for a year as parochial vicar at St. Luke Parish, Erie, then took on two assignments as temporary administrator during the spring and summer of 2004. In 2004, he was named pastor of St. Agatha Parish, Meadville. Father Allen remembers that time as the year during which he had five different addresses. While he admits it was mildly stressful, he remembers even the shorter assignments — some of which involved communities experiencing significant challenges — as times when he did some of the best work of his priesthood. “I really tried to make every sermon uplifting and meaningful,” he says. During his time in Meadville, Father Allen applied for a military chaplaincy and, ultimately, served for eight and a half years in the U.S. Army. He refers to his time in Iraq as a good part of his life. “You really feel like you are part of the mission in serving both the country and the faith,” he says. Upon his return to the Diocese of Erie, Father Allen became pastor of both St. Mary Parish, Reynoldsville, and Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Parish, Sykesville. Three years later, he was named pastor of Queen of the World Parish in St. Marys, where he served for four years. In 2017, he was appointed episcopal vicar for the Western Vicariate, a position he continues to hold. At the same time, he became pastor of his home parish of Notre Dame. He has since taken on additional assignments as administrator of St. Bartholomew Parish in Sharpsville, and chaplain at Kennedy Catholic High School. Through all of his assignments, he finds inspiration in the Gospel of John when Jesus asks Simon to feed his sheep. “We’re supposed to be generous,” Father Allen says. “The question I always ask is, ‘How can I do that most successfully?’”

Congratulatory messages

To our former pastor: Congratulations as you celebrate 25 years of priesthood! — Queen of the World Parish, St. Marys
Congratulations on your 25th jubilee! Thank you for your dedication and faithful ministry. God bless you! — St. George Parish, Erie
Congratulations on your anniversary! Thank you for your years of service in Meadville. — The Epiphany of the Lord Parish, Meadville
The members of the Gannon University family congratulate and wish God's continued blessings on Father Richard Allen as he celebrates his 25th jubilee anniversary in the Diocese of Erie.
Father Allen, Thank you for all you have done at parishes in the Diocese of Erie and as vicar for the Western Vicariate. The clergy, women religious of Catholic Rural Ministry and the Faithful of the Western Vicariate have been deeply blessed to have your pastoral care and support.

25 YEARS

Father Thomas Curry

 Benedictine Father Thomas Curry, the pastor of Sacred Heart Parish in St. Marys, celebrates 25 years of monastic vows as a Benedictine monk of Saint Vincent Archabbey in Latrobe, Pennsylvania. A native of Great Neck, New York, he earned his bachelor’s degree in quantitative analysis from Saint John’s University, New York City, and studied business at the University of West Florida. He earned the master of divinity degree from Saint Vincent Seminary in 2002. He is a member of Tau Kappa Epsilon International Fraternity and served as secretary and president at the Theta Sigma Chapter at Saint John’s University. Following college, he worked as an intern for the Navy Exchange headquarters in Staten Island, New York, and was promoted to a buyer position at the Naval Air Station in Pensacola, Florida, in June 1990. He made his simple profession of monastic vows in 1997, and his solemn profession in 2000. Ordained to the diaconate in 2002, he was assigned to St. Benedict Parish, Carrolltown, for his deacon internship. He was then ordained to the priesthood on May 17, 2003, by Greensburg Bishop Anthony Bosco. For his monastic community, he has served as assistant director of vocations, and as an assistant in the summer retreat program. He served as parochial vicar (2003-07) and pastor (2007-21) of Saint Vincent Basilica Parish. In 2021, he was named pastor of Sacred Heart Parish in St. Marys.

Congratulatory messages

Congratulations as you celebrate 25 years of priesthood! — Queen of the World Parish, St. Marys
Fr. Curry — The Diocese of Erie extends prayers and blessings to you. May God bless you as you celebrate your jubilee.

25 YEARS

Father Michael DeMartinis

 Father Michael DeMartinis celebrates his 25th anniversary to the priesthood this year. A native of Notre Dame Parish, Hermitage, he has ministered in parishes and schools in Erie, while nurturing the faith in mission outreach and in theater productions at the high school level. Since 2005, he has been affiliated with Cathedral Preparatory School in Erie in various capacities, including as a member of the faculty and as the campus minister. From 2010 to the present, he has served as director of theater arts at Prep and Villa Maria Academy (when they were two separate campus and now as the consolidated school of Cathedral Prep). Father DeMartinis also taught at the Villa campus for five years. From 2001-02, he was on the faculty at Mercyhurst Preparatory School in Erie. With charisma and passion, he has inspired many young people to the Catholic faith, particularly through the Teen Mass he has celebrated the past 18 years at Blessed Sacrament Parish, Erie, and the many mission trips he has led to Kentucky, Africa and India. Following his ordination to the priesthood in 1997, he served as parochial vicar at Our Lady of Peace Parish, Erie, for six years, and then returned there later as parochial vicar, from 2010-11. He was parochial vicar at Blessed Sacrament Parish, Erie, from 2003-06, returning there as a priest-in-residence while serving as administrator of Mount Calvary Parish, Erie. Additionally, he was a resident for one year at St. Joseph/Bread of Life Community and a sacramental assistant at St. Andrew Parish, Erie. Since 2020, he has ministered as a sacramental assistant at St. Patrick Parish, Erie.

Congratulatory messages

Congratulations on 25 years of priesthood. You are a blessing to all of us! — St. Patrick Parish, Erie
Congratulations on 25 years of priestly service. Thank you for teaching, guiding and inspiring our faith at Our Lady of Peace and throughout the diocese.
Congratulations and thank you for your dedicated ministry in our community. We wish you God's continued blessings as you celebrate your jubilee. — Villa Maria Cathedral Preparatory Catholic School System, Erie
Congratulations! We're blessed with the years of service you've graciously given us and we look forward to the future! We love you, Father Mike DeMartinis! — The Babo, Chandley, Egnosak, Nenno, Piotrowicz and Rospierski families
Your Teen Mass family congratulates and thanks you for 25 years of serving the young people of the Erie Diocese. We love you! Our weekly celebrations would not be the same without you!
The members of the Gannon University family congratulate and wish God's continued blessings on Father Michael DeMartinis, Class of '92, as he celebrates his 25th jubilee anniversary in the Diocese of Erie.

25 YEARS

Sister Linda Romey, OSB

 Benedictine Sister Linda Romey entered the Benedictine Sisters of Erie 25 years ago, upon returning to the U.S. after spending seven years as a lay missioner in Monteria and Cartagena, Colombia, South America. She grew up in Kansas City, Missouri, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in theology from Rockhurst College (now Rockhurst University). After graduation, she moved to Colorado Springs, Colorado, where she lived and worked with an intentional peace and justice community in Colorado Springs. She joined the mission team of the Archdiocese of Denver and left for Colombia. Through most of her 25 years as an Erie Benedictine, Sister Linda has ministered mainly in the areas of publishing and communications, including Benet Press, Benetvision, Monasteries of the Heart, as well as with the communications and development offices. She also spent five years as director of marketing and advertising for the National Catholic Reporter Publishing Company. She earned a master’s degree in business administration in 2008, and currently serves on the Monastic Council.

Congratulatory messages

Congratulations to a woman with enthusiasm for life, love of justice and an eye toward what can be. Your sisters honor you and give thanks for your presence among us. — Benedictine Sisters of Erie
Sister Linda — The Diocese of Erie extends prayers and blessings to you. May God bless you as you celebrate your jubilee.

NEWLY ORDAINED

Father Benjamin Daghir

Current assignment:
Parochial vicar, St. Catherine of Siena Parish, DuBois; St. Michael the Archangel Parish, DuBois; St. Bernard Parish, Falls Creek; St. Mary Parish, Reynoldsville; and Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Parish, Sykesville, with residence in St. Catherine rectory, and part-time faculty member of DuBois Central Catholic School

Home parish: St. Mary’s Parish, St. Marys
Son of Roben and Joseph Daghir of St. Marys

Congratulatory messages

Congratulations on your ordination! Thank you for saying "YES" to God's call to serve. We are blessed to have you with us! — St. Catherine of Siena, St. Michael the Archangel, St. Bernard, St. Mary and Assumption of the Blessed Mary parishes
Father Ben — Congratulations on your recent ordination! We are so proud of you and will continue to keep you in our prayers. From your Elk County Catholic School System family.

NEWLY ORDAINED

Father Nicholas Fratus

Current assignment:
Parochial vicar, St. George Parish, Erie

Home parish: Blessed Sacrament Parish, Erie
Son of the late Heidi and Robert Fratus

Congratulatory messages

Congratulations, Father Nick! Your Blessed Sacrament Parish family sends you heartfelt congratulations and best wishes. We know you will accomplish great things with God's grace.
Father Nick — The Diocese of Erie extends prayers and blessings to you as you celebrate your ordination!

NEWLY ORDAINED

Father Christopher Wheeler

Current assignment:
Parochial vicar, St. Eulalia Parish, Coudersport; St. Gabriel the Archangel Parish, Port Allegany; and St. Bibiana Parish, Galeton, with its mission churches of Sacred Heart, Genesee, and St. Augustine, Austin, with residence at St. Eulalia rectory

Home parish: St. Lawrence the Martyr Parish, Albion
Son of Sandra and Victor Wheeler of Albion

Congratulatory messages

Congratulations on your ordination! May God bless you as you begin your service to the Lord. We are proud of you. With Love from St. Lawrence Parish and St. Philip Church, Albion
Congratulations on your ordination! May God grant you blessings of good health and the opportunity to lead many souls to Christ. Sincere wishes from your prayer partners in the Serra Club of Erie.

Welcome to three newly ordained priests

   Congratulations to Father Benjamin Daghir, Father Nicholas Fratus and Father Christopher Wheeler, all of whom were ordained to the priesthood on May 27 at St. Patrick Church in Erie.
   The new priests say their call to the priesthood was persistent, even from childhood, but each traveled different paths toward their priest ordination this spring. Fathers Nick and Chris, both of whom are in middle age, share a joke that finishing intense studies at Saint Vincent Seminary, Latrobe, this past year seemed more challenging than it might be for younger seminarians.
   “Definitely, being in my 40s, memorization has been a lot more difficult than it was in my 20s,” Father Chris says, smiling. “But I would say that’s offset by my years of life experience. I have a better understanding of things; age has given me a wealth of experience to draw upon.” Father Nick nods his head knowingly, saying: “School work was much easier earlier in life.”
   Father Chris, who spent many years working for the Bessemer and Lake Erie Railroad (now Canadian National Railway), entered St. Mark Catholic Center in 2009, when he was about 30. He remained in the seminary for three years but then discerned that he would return to the workplace, in Michigan, and tend to his farm in southwestern Erie County. Finally, in 2018, he came back to the seminary.
   “That time away helped me understand the call in a deeper sense and understand it more thoroughly,” Father Chris says.
   Father Nick’s path was rockier. He entered St. Mark Seminary right out of McDowell High School, but two years into his studies, he became seriously ill with Crohn’s, pancreatitis and a liver disorder.
   In and out of hospitals for 18 months, Father Nick’s journey to the priesthood was stalled. Having struggled to stabilize his medications and diet, he finally felt strong enough to return to seminary life. He was assigned to St. Mary’s Seminary and University in Baltimore, but, sadly, he became sick again. He spent another year and half healing. Although Father Nick returned to seminary life, this time at Christ the King Seminary in East Aurora, New York, health difficulties surfaced once again. This time, he took a full 12 years away from his priest studies, working at various jobs, learning what he calls “life lessons.” Finally stabilized physically, Father Nick entered Saint Vincent Seminary at age 38.
   “The call to the priesthood has been steady and persistent in my life,” he says. “I never really dropped off the radar.”
   Father Ben’s experience was markedly different. He entered St. Mark Seminary about a year after graduating from Saint Vincent College. He had been teaching at Elk County Catholic High School in St. Marys. Following initial studies at Gannon University, he went on to major seminary in Baltimore, where, he says, he “got more comfortable and at peace in this vocation.”
   “No one has the same vocation story except that we are all trying to discover God’s will,” Father Ben says.
   For Ben, “a thousand things” pointed him in the direction of the priesthood. One of his favorite coaches was a priest, Benedictine Father Eric Vogt, and he had many influential teachers who were priests. It wasn’t until his junior year at college that he started to seriously think about the priesthood for himself.
   “I really started thinking about if I wanted to be a married man or a priest. I wanted to be like my dad, and I knew I wanted to serve the Lord,” Father Ben recounts. “I went on to be a teacher. I enjoyed being a teacher, but there’s something about a priest who gets to teach all the time.”
   Each of their personal stories sheds light on what Fathers Ben, Nick and Chris will be like as priests. Even through two years of COVID challenges during their formation, they draw close to Christ in different ways:
   • Father Nick says prayer sustains him.
   • Father Ben points to the Eucharist as a call “to be broken and poured out” in service.
   • Father Chris says it’s walking every day by Christ’s side, always taking note of God’s will in our lives.
   Speaking for all the newly ordained, Father Ben adds, “We’re excited what the people will bring out of us.”


DEACON ANNIVERSARIES

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

25 YEARS

Deacon Martin Eisert

  Deacon Martin “Marty” Eisert is celebrating his silver jubilee to the permanent diaconate of the Diocese of Erie. Ordained in 1997, he spent his first three years as the deacon at his ancestral parish of St. Joseph, Erie. He also served as the Catholic deacon at three local nursing homes, and as assistant chaplain for the Erie chapter of the Catholic Fellowship of Separated and Divorced. In 2000, he was appointed deacon of Erie’s Holy Trinity Parish. Three years later, he became Holy Trinity’s administrator, putting his business skills to effective use by reinvigorating many temporal and spiritual aspects of parish life. A retired executive vice president from Erie Insurance Group, he retired from active parish ministry in 2009. “I had many happy years at Holy Trinity which I still cherish!” Deacon Eisert says. When the Diocese of Erie launched pastoral planning across northwest Pennsylvania in 2015, Deacon Eisert came out of retirement to chair the arduous effort. At age 82, he remains in that position. “God still is finding a use for me. How blessed I am,” he says. Deacon Eisert and his wife, Kathy, have two adult sons and five grandchildren. A graduate of Gannon University, Deacon Eisert was honored as a distinguished alumnus.

Congratulatory messages

Congratulations and best wishes from your wife, Kathy, and sons Pete and Joe!
Blessings to you on the 25th anniversary of your diaconate. May God continue to bless you. — St. Joseph/Bread of Life Community Parish, Erie
Prep Class of 1958: Congratulations and thank you for your dedicated ministry in our community. We wish you God's continued blessings as you celebrate your jubilee. — Villa Maria Cathedral Preparatory Catholic School System, Erie
The members of the Gannon University family congratulate and wish God's continued blessings on Deacon Marty Eisert, Class of '62/'85/'89. as he celebrates his 25th jubilee anniversary in the Diocese of Erie.
Deacon Marty, the Diocese of Erie is grateful for the dedication, expertise and leadership you have provided regarding pastoral planning. We pray you will continue to have many more “Holy Spirit Moments!”

20 YEARS

Deacon Dennis Kudlak

 Deacon Dennis Kudlak is celebrating his 20th anniversary to the permanent diaconate for the Diocese of Erie. For the past 18 years, he has served as a chaplain at Elmwood Gardens, part of the Presbyterian SeniorCare Network, in Erie. He continues to serve as a deacon assistant when needed at other local nursing homes in the area. From 2002-09, he was assigned as the permanent deacon at Blessed Sacrament Parish, Erie. “I love working and serving the community, especially families,” he says. “My 20 years of service have given me many of memories, but it’s important that we keep on going. We are living in an era of many challenges, so being present to people, listening to them, guiding them and accompanying them is very important despite all the hardships. The more we work and serve, the more we will grow.” For 17 years, Deacon Kudlak has been a volunteer pilot for Angel Flight, offering free air transportation to patients seeking distant specialized treatment. A member of the National Association of Priest Pilots (NAPP), he also holds memberships with American Legion Post 0773 and the Military Officers Association (MOAA). He is a 4th degree member of the Knights of Columbus Council 278. Deacon Kudlak and his wife, Lynn, have four children and five grandchildren (two more arriving in November).

Congratulatory messages

We're living in an era of many challenges, so being present to the people, listening, guiding and accompanying them is very important to us. Despite the hardships, we always need to trust in the Lord. Sharing his diaconate experience has been a blessing. — Lynn Kudlak
The members of the Gannon University family congratulate and wish God's continued blessings on Deacon Dennis Kudlak, Class of '73, as he celebrates his 20th jubilee anniversary in the Diocese of Erie.

20 YEARS

Deacon William Sproveri (IN MEMORIAM)

 Deacon William Sproveri, who marked his 20th anniversary to the diaconate of the Diocese of Erie this year, died Aug. 22 at the age of 75. He spent 35 years of his working career as a self-employed forester. His diaconate ministries included serving as the longtime spiritual director for Maria House Project and for the Permanent Diaconate Formation Program at St. Mark Catholic Center. Immediately after his ordination in 2002, he was assigned to several parishes, including St. Thomas, Corry; St. Joseph, Warren; and St. Luke, Youngsville. For five years, he was chaplain at Rouse House in Youngsville. He and his wife, Pat, had two sons, two daughters-in-law and four grandchildren. He was a member of St. Thomas Parish.

Congratulatory messages

Remembering Deacon William Sproveri on his anniversary. We thank you for your service to God and his people, and are grateful for your service to St. Thomas the Apostle Parish. May God bless you.
Well done, good and faithful servant! — Maria House Project
The members of the Gannon University family remember the good works of Deacon William Sproveri on the occasion of his 20th anniversary of ordination to the diaconate.

20 YEARS

Deacon Raymond Wiehagen

 For the past 20 years, Deacon Raymond Wiehagen has served as the permanent deacon at Holy Redeemer Parish in Warren. Since his ordination, he also has been involved in the ministry to the sick and hospitalized. For many years, he worked as a nurse at Warren State Hospital, retiring in 2007. He continues to serve as a chaplain at Warren General Hospital. “My ministry is fulfilling. It’s an honor to be able to help parishioners when they suffer from illness,” he says. “It’s an honor to live my Christian vocation by serving the people here.” At age 72, he also remains busy with his family. He and his wife, Elaine, have a daughter and four grandchildren ranging in age from 13 to 20.

Congratulatory messages

Deacon Ray — May God bless you as you celebrate 20 years of service to Holy Redeemer Parish! We are so grateful for your unwavering devotion to Christ and His people. Love from your parish family.
The members of the Gannon University family congratulate and wish God's continued blessings on Deacon Ray Wiehagen on his 20th jubilee anniversary in the Diocese of Erie.

20 YEARS

Deacon William Wright

 Deacon William Wright, 83, retired from active ministry three years ago due to health issues, but this year he celebrates his 20th jubilee as a permanent deacon for the Diocese of Erie. He spent the first three years of active ministry at St. Catherine of Siena Parish, DuBois. In 2005, he became the full-time director of pastoral care at Christ the King Manor in Clearfield, a position he held until 2019, when he retired. He spent most of his work career in education, having been a teacher and a principal at both St. Catherine School, DuBois, and St. Francis, Clearfield. A longtime faith formation teacher, Deacon Wright also served as director of religious education at St. Michael Parish in DuBois. “I thoroughly enjoyed being a deacon, especially my time at Christ the King Manor,” he says. “A lot of people have no one to talk to, so it was enjoyable to be with them.” He and his wife, Mary, are members of St. Catherine of Siena Parish. They have six children and 15 grandchildren.

Congratulatory messages

The parishioners of St. Catherine of Siena and St.Michael the Archangel parishes in DuBois offer their THANKS and CONGRATULATIONS to Deacon William Wright for 20 years of service.
The Gannon University family congratulates and wishes God's continued blessings on Deacon William Wright as he celebrates his 20th jubilee anniversary in the Diocese of Erie.

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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