The Serra Club of Hamilton, Ont., honoured 13 religious for their five decades of service to the Church. Five honourees were in attendance. They are, from left, Sr. Marylin Fedy, Sr. Celeste Swan, Fr. Paul Boucher, Fr. Gabriel Morais Catarino and Fr. Philip Sherlock. Photo by Tony Gosgnach

Hamilton religious honoured for 50 years service to the Church

By  Tony Gosgnach, Catholic Register Special
  • May 9, 2012

HAMILTON, ONT. - Some 650 people paid tribute to 13 priests and religious who have a combined 650 years of consecrated service to the Church as the Serra Club of Hamilton held its annual Celebration of Priesthood and Religious Life Dinner May 1.

The 13 each marked 50 years since beginning their religious lives and have pursued greatly varied paths in ministry over that time. Three School Sisters of Notre Dame who were honoured, for example, are currently serving in Ghana, South Sudan and Fort Good Hope, N.W.T., while one priest has acted as a high school teacher and principal, and another as an advisor to the Retrouvaille marriage encounter ministry.

Five of the group were present for the ninth annual event held at the Liuna Station banquet hall: Srs. Marylin Fedy and Celeste Swan, as well as Frs. Paul Boucher, Gabriel Morais Catarino and Philip Sherlock. Honoured in absentia were Srs. Mary Patricia, Delia Calis, Joan Liss, Barbara Paleczny and Mary Angelita Trentin, as well as Frs. Jerome Kroetsch, Stephen Csiszar and George Stortz.

Speaking on behalf of all the jubilarians, Sherlock emphasized they have a deep sense of appreciation for many things.

“Our vocation, obviously, but also for so many things that have happened to us during our priesthood or religious ministry: the privilege of serving people, ministering to them and, really I think for all us, the enormous inspiration that you, the faithful, give to us,” said Sherlock.

“Even in the strange and crazy world in which we live today, the innocence of children, the goodness of young people, the selfless love of parents for their children … and the heroic virtue of so many people we’re privileged to serve, they really are a mirror to us of the sacrificial love of Jesus for each one of us … Grace is everywhere.”

Honourable mentions were made for several other milestones: Fr. Walter Schnarr (75 years); Fr. Leonard Fischer (65 years); Frs. Kyran Kennedy and Edwin Lapinsky (60 years); and Frs. David Lewis, David Perrin, Maurice Richard and Ambroise Tshiaba Ntumba (25 years).

Recognized also were six men who will be ordained to the sacred office of deacon for the diocese of Hamilton on June 2 — Carmelo Campanella, Joseph DiLoreto, Michael Fougler, Trevor Klein, Samuel Landman and Stephane Zara — as well as Deacon John Redmond, who was ordained to the priesthood at the Cathedral of Christ the King just four days after the dinner.

Hamilton Bishop Douglas Crosby, Bishop emeritus Anthony Tonnos and Auxiliary Bishop emeritus Matthew Ustrzycki were present to offer their respects.

Allan Calvert, vice-president in charge of vocations for the Serra Club of Hamilton, said the dinner was part of the local club’s continuing mission, in tandem with its international parent, to foster vocations to the priesthood and other consecrated religious life.

Proceeds from past dinners have made it possible to establish a Seminarian Bursary Fund that will assist candidates studying for the priesthood with the diocese of Hamilton, he said. Two such bursaries have been awarded for the 2011-2012 school year.

(Gosgnach is a freelance writer in Hamilton, Ont.)

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