Priest Anniversaries

This afternoon, at St. James the Less in Highland, the priests of the Diocese of Gary gathered together to celebrate our ordination anniversaries.  Hallmark anniversaries (25, 40, 50, 60, and beyond) were especially noted.  We do this every year as summer approaches and, with it, the time of our anniversaries.

Most people hear “anniversary” and immediately think marriage.  However, anniversary applies to a great many things and people.  There are those who celebrate the anniversary of their employment, their school graduations, and the like.  Anniversaries are big deals as they mark the passage of time and the accomplishments and/or changes that have gone on in people’s lives.

Priests come in all “shapes and sizes.”  Some come from very studied backgrounds, others from more simple ones.  Some may come from a lot of money, others from nothing.  All, however, heard the call of God and had the grace to respond.  Their lives have not always been easy; yet, they remain faithful to God and continue to proclaim the Good News to their people.

The number of priests are getting less and less.  As we gather together, we see more elderly, soon-to-be-retired, and retired priests.  They are getting close to outnumbering the active clergy.  That can be a bit disillusioning to those still working in the fields.  As we look around us, we begin to wonder and worry about who will be around when we leave active ministry as well.

This would be a good time to ask you to pray for an increase in Church vocations.  However, that is a bit passive.  We need you to be active as well.

Encourage people to consider the priesthood or religious life.  Encourage family members, even, to consider the call.  I have heard so many people say, “Not my son.  I want him to be successful and make a lot of money.”  Do not be selfish.  If God is calling someone to the priesthood or religious life, we should not stand in the way of that call.

Congratulations to our Priest Jubilarians:

25 Years
Fr. Keith M. Virus
Fr. Andrew J. Corona

40 Years
Fr. Walter J. Rakoczy

50 Years
Fr. Anthony L. Spanley

55 Years
Fr. Clare J. Hendricks

60 Years
Fr. Dennis J. Blaney
Fr. Stanley J. Dominik
Fr. George B. Kashmer

61 Years
Fr. James A. Coriden
Fr. John Fiore, C.S.B

63 Years
Fr. Alphonse Skerl
Msgr. Richard F. Zollinger

65 Years
Msgr. Joseph Semancik

66 Years
Fr. Joseph Kelchak

Also, at the Mass, we found out that Msgr. Edward F. Litot, the oldest priest in our diocese who would be celebrating 71 years of ordination, passed away this morning.  Kindly pray for the repose of his soul and for consolation for his family and friends.