This afternoon the priests from the Diocese of Greensburg and the Benedictine Community of Saint Vincent Archabbey gather at the Bishop Connare Center in Greensburg to celebrate Priests' Jubilee Day. This annual event recognizes the men who are celebrating significant milestones in their lives. We will gather for Mass, followed by refreshments and a great dinner.
This year we recognize eleven priests whose combined years of service total 500 years of priesthood.
Topping the list is Father Demetrius Dumm, O.S.B., former rector of the seminary at Saint Vincent and renowned scripture scholar who celebrates sixty-five years of priesthood. We honor our retired bishop, Bishop Anthony G. Bosco, who celebrates sixty years, and who served as our bishop from 1987 until 2004. His list of accomplishments is extensive, and he continues to be active. Next on the list is Father Al Pleban at fifty-five years and who just recently retired from active ministry, having served for sixteen years as pastor of my home parish - a real gentleman and good priest.
There are three men celebrating fifty years as priests: Father Mike Bucci, retired pastor of Saint Rita in Connellsville, and Fathers Gilbert Burke and Vernon Holtz of Saint Vincent. Father Gilbert has been involved in parish ministry and alumni activities for many years and Father Vernon has taught and coached soccer at Saint Vincent (Father Vernon taught there when I was in high school).
At forty years are three diocesan priests: Fathers John Butler, Pat Mandock and Bryan Summers. John is pastor of one of my former pastorates, All Saints in Masontown ... Pat is a retired military chaplain who served as chaplain from 1977 to the year 2000 ... and Bryan is pastor of Prince of Peace parish in Ford City. He was incardinated (officially accepted) into the Greensburg Diocese in 2009, having come to us in 2006 from the Congregation of the Oratory of Saint Philip Neri where he served in the Pittsburgh area. He is a great asset to our diocesan church.
Celebrating twenty-five years are Father John Moineau, my neighbor at Immaculate Conception in Irwin and Father Dominic Petroy of Saint Vincent where he presently serves in a number of chaplaincy roles.
And listed among this year's jubilarians is Franciscan Brother Damien Merkley who is from the diocese (Yukon) and who is retired and resides at Saint Antony Friary in Uniontown. Brother Damien served for thirty plus years in hospital ministry
The lists of accomplishments, assignments and personal achievements is awesome for these men. Yet that pales in comparison to the gifts that they have given to God's people. They would be the first to acknowledge that they are the ones that were gifted by the prayers and support of the people they served. But they are a gift, and we are grateful for them and their service. AD MULTOS ANNOS!