Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Good and Faithful Servants

     Within the past few weeks the people of this area have lost three priest who have entered Eternal Life.  Two were retired diocesan priests, and one was a monk of Saint Vincent Archabbey in Latrobe.  I knew all three, and can attest that they were good priests.  Together, they gave 158 years of service as priests, and the Church has been truly blessed.

     On August 7th, Benedictine Father Blane Resko died at the Archabbey.  He was 75 years old.  He was from Patton, Pennsylvania, a great Benedictine stronghold, and was solemnly professed as a Benedictine in 1954.  He served in school ministry, parish work, and held various positions at the Abbey.  It was during his tenure as pastor of Saint Bruno Parish in South Greensburg that I came to know Father Blane.  I was pastor at the neighboring parish of the Church of Saint Paul.  Blane was a quiet, simple man of deep faith and gentle pastoral zeal.  He was also a good friend and brother in our shared ministry.  He has been at the Archabbey since 2007.  His funeral Mass was on August 11th.  God grant him eternal rest.

     Ordained fifty years ago by the late Bishop William G. Connare, Monsignor Charnoki served Bishop Connare as his secretary during two different terms.  It was sort of a running commentary that he shared with everyone, and the lighthearted banter usually involved someone saying: "Did you know that Bill was Bishop Connare's secretary?" followed by a knowing smile.
     Father Bill Charnoki was ordained in 1965 and his first assignment was at Saint Mary (Nativity) in Uniontown, my hometown, where as young high school seminarians Father John Cindric and myself received lots of encouragement and support from this young priest.  Bill served in many parishes, was secretary to the bishop, received his degree in Canon Law and served on the Diocesan Tribunal, was assistant chancellor and served on many committees and councils, and was named a monsignor in 1986 and in 2005 was named a prothonotary apostolic supernumerary, the highest rank of monsignor.  Proud of his humble upbringing in Greene County and his Slovak heritage, he was also very active in support of Saint Vincent Seminary which he attended, he retired from parish life in 2013.
     An interesting fact about Bill was that he was the third priest in the family - he had two uncles who were priests: Father Andrew Charnoki (whom I replaced in Masontown) and Father John Charnoki, a priest of the Pittsburgh diocese.
     Bill was always warm and caring, showing a genuine interest in priests and seminarian, and loved his people.  He was buried from his former pastorate at Holy Family in Latrobe on August 19th.  May he rest in peace.
     And finally we received word of the death of another retired priest of our diocese, Monsignor Stephen McCarren, who died on August 31st at the age of 86 in Florida.  Monsignor McCarren served in a number of parishes and capacities over the years in the diocese, and in 1983 went for further studies before serving for many years as a chaplain for the Archdiocese of Military Services at VA hospitals.  In 1993 he was named a Monsignor.  He has been living in Florida, where his funeral rites will be held.  Steve was another warm and outgoing guy who always shared a smile and a good word.  His 60 years of priestly service have been a blessing to countless people.  God grant him joy and peace.
The Church is so blessed
with good and holy priests.
These three are but a small example.
Pray for continued vocations to priesthood
and religious life.

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