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Published: Saturday, 5/21/2005

14 priests in Toledo celebrate 40-year or longer anniversaries

BY DAVID YONKE
BLADE RELIGION EDITOR
Toledo Catholic Diocese priests with 40 years or more in the priesthood include, from left, the Rev. Robert Weithman, the Rev. Roger Bonifas, the Rev. Joseph O Brien (seated), the Rev. Richard Dunn, the Rev. Benedict Ringholz, the Rev. Michael Ricker, the Rev. Stephen Stanbery, Bishop Leonard Blair, the Rev. Dennis Hartigan, the Rev. Paul Kwiatkowski, the Rev. Nick Weibl, the Rev. Thomas Leyland, the Rev. Frederick Duschl, and the Rev. Martin Donnelly.
Toledo Catholic Diocese priests with 40 years or more in the priesthood include, from left, the Rev. Robert Weithman, the Rev. Roger Bonifas, the Rev. Joseph O Brien (seated), the Rev. Richard Dunn, the Rev. Benedict Ringholz, the Rev. Michael Ricker, the Rev. Stephen Stanbery, Bishop Leonard Blair, the Rev. Dennis Hartigan, the Rev. Paul Kwiatkowski, the Rev. Nick Weibl, the Rev. Thomas Leyland, the Rev. Frederick Duschl, and the Rev. Martin Donnelly.
KING / BLADE Enlarge

Fourteen priests in the Toledo Catholic Diocese celebrated anniversaries this week of 40 years or longer in the priesthood, while five men were ordained as permanent deacons by Bishop Leonard Blair.

In a celebration Mass and banquet held Wednesday at Central Catholic High School, four priests celebrated their 60th anniversary of ordination, four marked their 50th anniversary, and five celebrated their 40th anniversary. Three priests also observed their 25th anniversary of ordination.

It seems like the week before last, said the Rev. Paul Kwiatkowski, who was ordained on Dec. 16, 1964 at St. Peter s Basilica in Rome.

A Toledo native who is pastor of St. James and Immaculate Conception parishes, Father Kwiatkowski said he always wanted to be a priest.

When we were little, people used to play school and house. Well, I played church, he said. I had statues and things in my bedroom. I had a main altar and two side altars.

Also celebrating their 40th anniversary were the Rev. Martin Donnelly, the Rev. Frederick Duschl, the Rev. Thomas Leyland, and the Rev. Nicholas Weibl.

Priests honored for their 50th anniversary of ordination were the Rev. Robert Kirtland, the Rev. Joseph O Brien, the Rev. Michael Ricker, and the Rev. Robert Weighman.

Celebrating 60 years in the priesthood were the Rev. Roger Bonifas, the Rev. Richard Dunn, the Rev. Harvey Keller, and the Rev. Benedict Ringholz.

The event at Central Catholic was organized by priests observing their 25th anniversary the Rev. Dennis Hartigan, the Rev. Stephen Stanbery, and the Rev. Stanley Szybka.

In a ceremony at Rosary Cathedral on May 14, Bishop Blair ordained as permanent deacons James Bronder, Joel Francis Junga, Jeffrey Mayer, James Reichert, and Dominick Varano.

Deacon Bronder, a native of Aberdeen, Md., will serve St. Charles Borromeo parish, Lima; Deacon Junga, a Toledo native, will serve St. Patrick of Rev. Richard Dunn, the Rev. Harvey Keller, and the Rev. Benedict Ringholz.

The event at Central Catholic was organized by priests observing their 25th anniversary the Rev. Dennis Hartigan, the Rev. Stephen Stanbery, and the Rev. Stanley Szybka.

In a ceremony at Rosary Cathedral on May 14, Bishop Blair ordained as permanent deacons James Bronder, Joel Francis Junga, Jeffrey Mayer, James Reichert, and Dominick Varano.

Deacon Bronder, a native of Aberdeen, Md., will serve St. Charles Borromeo parish, Lima; Deacon Junga, a Toledo native, will serve St. Patrick of Heatherdowns Parish; Deacon Mayer will serve St. Mary Parish, Defiance; Deacon Reichert will serve at St. Paul Parish, Norwalk, and Deacon Varano, a native of Madison Heights, Pa., will servce St. John the Evangelist Parish, Defiance.

The five new deacons will join 185 permanent deacons in the diocese.

The diaconate had been part of the Catholic church until the middle of the first millenium, but the office had fallen out of practice until it was revived by the Second Vatican Council in the 1960s, Deacon Diaz said.

The Toledo diocese began ordaining permanent deacons in 1973.

To become a deacon, a person must be Catholic and at least 35 years of age. The deacon candidate can be married, but if his wife dies he cannot remarry without special dispensation, said Deacon Diaz, who was ordained in 1979.

The process of becoming a deacon takes four years, with the first year being a time of discernment and prayer, plus studies of theology and the history of the diaconate, he said.

A deacon s ministry is threefold, Deacon Diaz explained: Love and justice; the Word, and the sacrament.

Love and justice is responding to the needs of the community, he said. It can take many forms, including hospital visits, helping the homeless, working in soup kitchens, or assisting migrant workers.

Ministry of the Word is preaching, he said. In addition to giving homilies, deacons can teach catechism and prepare people for the sacraments.

Liturgically, deacons can preside at weddings, baptisms, wake services, and marriages.

The only thing deacons cannot do [regarding the sacraments] is celebrate the Mass and the Eucharist, nor the sacraments of penance or the anointing of the sick, Deacon Diaz said.

The position is not paid and requires a great deal of time and dedication, which makes the first year of the process, discerning God s calling, so important, he said.

It is a calling to the ministry of the church.



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