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65 YEARS FOR DUO

REV. JOSEPH BARKER, a native of both Troy and Albany, has served as an associate pastor at Our Lady of Victory and St. Paul the Apostle parishes in Troy and chaplain for Samaritan Hospital there; administrator of St. Thomas the Apostle in Schenectady; and pastor at St. Mary’s in Little Falls and St. Patrick’s in Johnstown. He was dean of Herkimer and Fulton Counties respectively while a pastor in each. He retired in 1998.

“I enjoyed my years as a priest, especially my interaction with people of the parishes I served in and the people of the wider community. There were many memorable moments over the years. I would recommend the vocation of priest to others for a life of happiness that comes from serving the Lord in others.”

Father Barker plans to celebrate his jubilee with a dinner with family.

REV. OWEN SHANLEY, a native of Troy, has served as associate ­pastor at St. Luke’s parish in Schenectady, St. Catherine’s in Middleburgh and St. Mary’s in Hudson; and as pastor of St. Joseph’s in Richfield Springs and Immaculate Conception in Corinth, where he spent 18 years, retiring in 2003.

“[Famed NBA coach] Pat Riley was on my CYO team. I taught him all he knows about basketball. Flew an airplane for 20 years — 1,000 hours. Belonged to the National Association of Priest Pilots. Also chaplain for Knights of Columbus in Broadalbin.”

Father Shanley will mark his anniversary with a Mass at St. Mary’s Church in Galway; he has not yet announced the date.

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TWO 60TH JUBILEES

REV. PAUL TARTAGLIA, a native of Albany, has served as an associate pastor at Blessed Sacrament parish in Albany and chaplain for the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet; taught at Catholic Central High School in Troy and at The College of Saint Rose in Albany; served as pastor at St. Mary’s in Coxsackie, St. John the Evangelist in Rensselaer and St. Paul’s in Troy; served other parishes and programs and, for a decade, directed the diocesan Society for the Propagation of the Faith. From 1984-2008, he led retreats and parish missions in three countries.

“It is difficult, if not impossible, to express my gratitude to God, to my brother priests and to the many people whose paths I crossed in my 60 years. The day has never dawned that I have had any regrets for being chosen to follow in the footsteps of the Lord [except] that I didn’t become more and more like the Master. Like all vocations in life, there are challenges, difficulties and wonderful surprises. My share in the priesthood is a treasure I cherish with absolutely no regrets.”

Father Tartaglia has not made plans to celebrate his jubilee, but says that, “deep down, I could not be more jubilant!”

REV. ARTHUR TOOLE, a native of Hudson Falls, has served as associate pastor at St. Columba’s, Schenectady; St. Ann’s, Albany; Our Lady of Fatima, Schenectady; and St. Joseph’s, Scotia. He also taught at Cardinal McCloskey High School in Albany and was pastor at St. Vincent’s in Cobleskill and St. Matthew’s in Voorheesville. In retirement, he’s been assisting at St. Michael’s in Troy since 2005.

“It’s a privilege to be of service and, hopefully, [to] have been a source of hope for the parishioners. Many memorable moments; enjoyed the opportunity for a sabbatical in Rome, Italy.”

Father Toole will mark his anniversary with a Mass June 3 at St. Michael’s parish in Troy, followed by a reception.

(Also reaching 60 years of priesthood is Rev. Stanley Allie, a native of North Creek who has been serving in the Archdiocese of Anchorage, Alaska, since 1969.)

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FIVE GOLDEN JUBILARIANS FOR ALBANY DIOCESE

REV. MICHAEL FARANO, a native of Glens Falls, was an associate pastor at St. Joseph’s parish in Albany and on the faculty of the parish school before becoming director of the Catholic Campaign for Human Development for the Albany Diocese and administrator at St. Bonaventure’s, Speigletown. He served as secretary to Bishop Edwin Broderick, diocesan vice chancellor and chancellor and diocesan vicar general — the latter, a post he held from 1979-90 and again from 2006-15. He was also pastor at St. Pius X parish in Loudonville. He continues in his role as diocesan director of the Pontifical Society for the Propagation of the Faith.

“After baptism, priesthood is the greatest gift that God has given me. God has been incredibly good to me. He has shown His face to me, especially through the people He has sent me to serve. It is the people of the Church who have shaped and formed my ministry and my personal spirituality. By permitting me to share their lives, in times of joy and in times of sadness, I have seen what patience and perseverance, love and compassion mean. I have seen the face of God and the life of Christ in them. I praise God for the undeserved gift of 50 years of priesthood. I would gladly do it all over again.”

Father Farano will note his jubilee by celebrating the regular 10 a.m. Mass May 20 at St. Pius, Loudonville, as a Mass of Thanksgiving, followed by lunch with family and a few friends.

REV. ROBERT HOHENSTEIN, a native of Albany, has been an assistant pastor at St. John the Baptist, Greenville, and at Our Lady Help of Christians, Albany, where he was then pastor for 27 years. In addition, he served at Cardinal McCloskey High School in Albany, as diocesan human life coordinator, and as a chaplain at St. Peter’s Hospital in Albany and Albany Medical Center. He was pastor of Our Lady of Mount Carmel parish in Schenectady from 2002-16 and is still chaplain to the Schenectady Police Department.

“My journey as a priest of Jesus Christ over the past 50 years has been spiritually nourishing and rewarding by serving my parish families. My priesthood was deeply enriched and most meaningful by administering the sacraments to the sick and dying as a chaplain. My faith was enlivened in joyful service to the youth as [teacher]. I am humbled for the honor of serving as chaplain to the valiant [police officers].

“These blessed years also had moments of sadness and challenge, as I presided over the closing of parishes. A vocation to the priesthood is a calling by the Lord, and those who are called will only find real happiness if they follow the call of the Good Shepherd. My greatest privilege as a priest is to celebrate the Eucharist, [sharing] the body and blood of Jesus Christ with God’s people as, together, we are strengthened  and nourished on our journey to eternal life. ‘How shall make a return to the Lord for all the good he has done for me? The cup of salvation I will take up and I will call upon the name of the Lord’ (Ps 116).”

Father Hohenstein will celebrate a Mass of Thanksgiving June 3, 10 a.m., at Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Schenectady, with a reception to follow at Mallozzi’s restaurant.

REV. THOMAS KELLY, a native of Sligo, Ireland, has served as an associate pastor at St. Joseph’s in Green Island and Annunciation in Queensbury; on the faculty of Keveny Academy in Cohoes; as chaplain for Adirondack Community College; and as pastor of St. Paul’s in Hancock, St. Patrick’s in Troy and, from 2003 to the present, St. Mary’s in Ballston Spa.

“As a parish priest, I have been blessed with many happy memories of all the parishes I ministered, especially the many wonderful worshippers. Over the past 50 years of my priesthood, I have always been amazed how my own personal faith has grown from the faithful within the community. Throughout the many parishes, it is the parishioners who have guided me along the way in order to be faithful to serving them and Christ. If I had to go back to change anything, there is nothing I would change. I thank God every day for the gift of my vocation, and I pray for many other young men to be able to experience the ministry of serving God and His people.”

He will celebrate a Mass of Thanksgiving June 24 at noon at St. Mary’s, Ballston Spa.

REV. RICHARD LESKOVAR, born in St. Johnsville, calls his hometown Little Falls. He taught at Vincentian High School in Albany and served as associate pastor at St. Patrick’s in Catskill and Blessed Sacrament in Albany before being named pastor of St. Mary’s in Troy. He was also a chaplain and director of pastoral care at St. Clare’s Hospital in Schenectady. He was associate pastor of St. Thomas parish in Delmar from 2002-2005 and still serves as weekend assistant there.

“Serving God’s people as a priest has been challenging and by far the most spiritually rewarding experience of my life. To be present to people, whether in happy times or in sad and everything in between, is to be able to celebrate what I call the ministry of presence. They may not remember what I said, but they will never forget I as Church was there. The most memorable moment in my priestly life was to celebrate Mass in the tomb of our Lord on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Not only would I recommend the priestly vocation to others, I would include religious vocations as deacon, brother or sister. If the Lord calls, do not hesitate; you will not be disappointed.”

Father Leskovar plans a Mass of Thanksgiving sometime in May to mark his jubilee.

REV. PETER PAGONES, born in Schenectady, was raised in Granville. He has been an associate pastor at St. Michael the Archangel, Amsterdam; St. Patrick’s, Albany; Our Lady of Mercy, Colonie; St. Henry’s, Averill Park; and St. Paul the Apostle, Schenectady. He has been pastor of St. Peter’s in Saratoga Springs, St. James in Fort Plain; St. Henry’s in Averill Park; and Holy Trinity in Schaghticoke. Since 2006, he has served at St. Paul’s in Schenectady, first as administrator and then as pastor; since 2016, he has also been pastor of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Schenectady.

“The priesthood has given me purpose and fulfillment in life. My most memorable moment was the support of my brother priests when I was seriously ill. I would hope that this vocation would give others the opportunity to serve the needs of others and of the Church.”

He will note his jubilee with a Mass at St. Paul’s in Schenectady May 27, 2 p.m., followed by a reception from 3:30-5:30 p.m. in the parish center.

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TRIO NOTE 40TH ANNIVERSARIES

REV. DONALD CZELUSNIAK, a native of Amsterdam, has served as associate pastor at St. John the Evangelist, Rensselaer; and St. Stanislaus, Amsterdam. He has been pastor for Our Lady of Mount Carmel, St. Mary’s and Sacred Heart parishes in Gloversville and has continued as both pastor of the merged parish of Holy Spirit in Gloversville and pastor of Holy Trinity parish in Johnstown.

“My priesthood experience has been sweeter as it goes along. Nearing retirement, I see more clearly that all the joys, challenges, anxious days and sleepless nights have a greater purpose in His plan for His Church. My most memorable moments are in the confessional, where the Lord is more obviously at work. Because of the seal, most of these experiences end up in the shredder, but what is left is the feeling of God passing by. I recommend the priesthood vocation because it is Christ Himself who is calling to it — already identifying a particular boy, young or older man, to become more like another Christ to wherever the Church sends him. If Christ is calling, the signs must be already viewable; so, if you see something, say something.”

Father Czelusniak plans to observe his jubilee with a parish social event at local Holiday Inn after the last Pentecost Sunday Mass May 20.

REV. JEROME GINGRAS, a native of Chicopee, Mass., has been a campus minister, taught high school and spent 25 years with the Conventual Franciscan friars, serving in Balti­more, Buffalo, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts. Incardinated into the Albany Diocese in 1990, he served for 10 years as pastor of St. Mary’s parish in Clinton Heights and is currently pastor of Immacu­late Con­ception in Glenville.

“I’ve enjoyed serving the Church. I’ve been blessed with being surrounded by wonderful, faithful people all of my 40 years. I was fortunate to do a sabbatical in Rome at the Pontifical North American College six years ago. It was a most memorable and meaningful experience.”

He plans a “simple reception to celebrate priesthood” following the 11 a.m. Mass May 6 at Immaculate Conception, Glenville.

REV. ROBERT POWHIDA, a native of Fort Edward, has served as an associate pastor at St. Thomas the Apostle parish, Delmar; St. Madeleine Sophie, Schenectady; and Sacred Heart, Troy; and a chaplain at Glens Falls Hospital. Now retired, he was pastor of St. Mary’s in Granville and Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Middle Granville, St. Alphonsus in Glens Falls, St. Francis of Assisi in Northville and St. Joseph’s in Broadalbin.

“My greatest joy was celebrating Eucharist for God’s people and, second, hearing their confessions — in doing so, bringing people closer to the Lord. I would encourage young men to become priests for many wonderful reasons. The trust people place in their priest allows him to enter quietly and deeply into their life situations to assist them in their need, whatever it might be. It is always my hope that helping them will draw them ever more deeply into love with their God. I have seen many changes since ordination, but in spite of these, I would do it all over again. I love being a priest.”

Father Powhida has not finalized plans to mark his jubilee.

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QUARTER-CENTURY MARK

REV. JAMES WALSH, a native of Cambridge, has served as associate pastor at St. Thomas the Apostle, Delmar; and St. Pius Loudonville — the latter, while serving on the diocesan Vocations Team from 1999-2008. He served the Vocations Office full-time from 2008-13, then became pastor of St. Pius, where he still serves.

“Taking a chance on God and becoming a priest is the best decision I’ve ever made. It has brought me great joy on a deep level. Celebrating weekend Masses with my parishioners and being a part of their lives have been the highlights. I’ve learned so much about faith from them; they have been wonderful teachers for me. My parishioners have given me much more than I have given them. I have zero regrets with my decision to become a priest. I have only gratitude to God for giving me the privilege of serving Him as a priest.”

Father Walsh has not made plans to note his jubilee.