Friday, April 17, 2009
Three retired Akron area priests and Bishop Anthony J. Pilla will celebrate a half century in the priesthood this year.
In addition, there are five others celebrating with Akron area connections celebrating jubilees.
Celebrating 50 years are Fr. James J. Berardi, who celebrates Mass regularly at St. Paul, Fr. John J. Mueller, retired pastor of St. Bernard, Fr. John M. Tezie, a former pastor at St. John the Baptist and Bishop Anthony J.Pillla.
Celebrating 40 years are the Rev. Fr. Samuel R. Ciccolini, executive director of the Interval Brotherhood Home since December, 1975, and Fr. Charles L. Ryba, pastor of Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish at Columbia Station, who was a vicar at St. Paul from September 1977 to June 1982.
Marking 25 years are Fr. Thomas P. Kowatch, vicar at Queen of Heaven since August, 2007; Fr. Pete Colletti, pastor of St. Michael in Independence since July, 2005, who served as vicar at St. Bernard and St. Martha; and Fr. Edwin M. Leonard, who was pastor of Annunciation from June 2003 to November 2006.
Celebrating her 50th jubilee was Sister Mary Karen Chevrier OP of the Sisters of St. Dominic of Akron who is in visitation ministry at St. John the Baptist and the Elms Motherhiouse Team.. She was named St. John Woman of the Year in December, 23008 at the annual bandquet of Summit Regional Council of Catholic Women
Fathers Berardi, Ciccolini and Ryba all have St. Paul connections.
Fr. Berardi will celebrate his jubilee with a Mass at St. Paul in June. Fr. Berardi was born March 16, 1933 at St. Thomas Hospital and grew up in Firestone Park on Glenmount. He celebrated his first Mass on Trinity Sunday in 1959 in the old St. Paul Church. He was ordained May 23, 1959, and was a classmate of Bishop Pilla. For more than half of his years as a priest --25 plus years– Father Berardi was chaplain of Akron City Hospital. He gave up the job reluctantly in December 2007 on the strong advice of doctors. He had been chaplain since February 6, 1984.
Fr. Mueller, also ordained on May 23, 1959 with Berardi and Pilla, was pastor of St. Bernard Parish from February, 1975 to November, 1982. He retired in July 2004 and resides in Huron, OH.
Bishop Pilla was the Bishop of the Cleveland Diocese from January 1981 to May, 2008.
Fr. Ciccolini was ordained May 31, 1989. He has been vicar at St. Anthony, June 1989 to December, 1974, St. Paul from December 1974 tp December 1975, Queen of Heaven, December 1976 to July 1980 and Immaculate Conception from then to the present.
Fr. Ryba, who was ordained May 31, 1969, was a vicar at St. Paul from September 1977 to June, 1982. He will celebrate his jubilee at an 11 a.m. Mass on May 31 at St. Elizabeth Seton Parish where he has been pastor since March 1993.
Fr. Kowatch, who was ordained January 12, 1985, has been vicar at Queen of Heaven since August 2007 and served at St. Matthew from June 1989 to August 1995.
Fr. Colletti, ordained June 9, 1984, was named pastor of St. Michael Parish in Independence in July 2005. He was a vicar there from October 2001 until he was named pastor. He served at St. Bernard from June 1989 to May 1992 and at St. Martha from June 1998 to October 1999.
Fr. Leonard, ordained June 9, 1984, was administrator pro-tem at Annunciation from November 2003 until he was named pastor the following June. He also served at St. Hilary from June 1989 to July 1994.
A complete list of those marking anniversaries this year is the the Ar\pril 17 issue of the Catholic Universe Bulletin.