Friday, February 21, 2014

A fertile ground

     In our small Diocese which is made up of four counties in Western Pennsylvania we had many men join us in seminary and priesthood from outside the Diocese.  But of those that came from within, a great many of our priests came from Fayette County, our Southern most county of the four.  In particular, the cities of Uniontown and Connellsville produced many priests.  Add to that the number of men who entered the seminary as boys, and, as seminaries are meant to do, found their vocation in another direction, and the numbers are truly impressive.  From my home parish of Saint Joseph alone we had many seminarians and have had six men ordained as priests (five still active) with another set for ordination in 2015.  Being one of that group, I am very proud of their response to the prospect of vocation and for their lives of ministry.

     In the sixties when I entered, there were a good group from town in our minor seminary of Saint Joseph Hall in Greensburg.  Tomorrow I will be attending a Memorial Mass for one of those men who had since gone on to another vocation and who died on February 14th in the Harrisburg area.  His name is Tom McCune, and he leaves a wife and grown daughter, a brother, John, and much family.  He was in the class two years behind me in school.  I remember his dad and mom, Nick and Veronica.  In getting details about Tom, I learned that another classmate of his from those days from the same parish, Saint John the Evangelist - J. Damon Andrews from Pittsburgh - had died on December 15th of last year.  Damon was also married and is also survived by a sister and her family.  Damon's mom and dad, Sophia and Jack, were great people as well.  I am sorry that I missed the news of his death.  Their home parish of Saint John the Evangelist in Uniontown has another home town boy as their pastor - Father Jim Tringhese.  Fayette county was/is truly a fertile ground for seminary recruits and priestly vocations and should be justifiably proud.

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