• Jade' Curtis

Seminary Celebrates Reunion, Awards and Ordination Anniversaries

The Mount St. Mary’s University’s Seminary held a family/reunion weekend Sept. 29 and 30. In attendance were 27 alumni priests and three lay alumni from 13 dioceses across the country, representing classes from 1965 to 2008.

Unfortunately, due to COVID-19 restrictions, attendance for the Seminary family/reunion weekend was down in comparison to previous years. Though, as Diane Favret, Director of Seminary Development, stated, “Alumni in attendance did enjoy their time on Mary’s Mountain!”

The Alumni Homecoming Mass at Immaculate Conception Chapel was held Sept. 29, and it was followed by a reception and dinner in Seminary Dining Room. The Alumni Homecoming Mass was conducted by Father Edwin Wichman (S’80), Diocese of Pittsburgh, Pa. and the homilist was Fr. Bill Pierce (S’71) Diocese of Camden, N.J.

At the reception and dinner in the Seminary Dining Room, Fr. Jim Byer (S’81) Diocese of Charlotte, N.C. offered the Invocation and Grace. After dinner, Monsignor Andrew Baker, Rector of the Seminary, gave a current overview of the Seminary.

Favret first recognized the alumni priests with ordination anniversaries in 2020, since there were not any reunions in the past year, due to COVID-19.

Ordination anniversaries from 2020 included Wichman (S’80) of the Harrisburg Diocese in Pennsylvania and Monsignor John Bergamo (S’65) of the Diocese of Scranton, Pa. Wichman celebrated his 40th anniversary and Bergamo celebrated his 55th anniversary.

Favret then recognized ordination anniversaries from 2021. From the class of 2001, ordination anniversaries included Fr. Brian Nolan of Baltimore and Fr. Joseph Lojacono of the Institute of the Incarnate Word, with both celebrating their 20th anniversaries. From the class of 1996, ordination anniversaries included Fr. Al Fontana from Hartford, Conn., who celebrated his 25th anniversary. From the class of 1986, Fr. Michael Krull of Metuchen. N.J. celebrated his 35th anniversary. From the class of 1981, Fr. Jim Byer of Charlotte, N.C., celebrated his 40th anniversary. From the class of 1971, Fr. Joseph Bochenek of Baltimore, Fr. Larry Frazier of Baltimore and Pierce of Camden, N.J., all celebrated their golden jubilee–having served God as a priest for 50 years.

President of the National Alumni Association, Susan Janowiak (C’81) addressed the alumni by first thanking the alumni priests for serving. Janowiak invited Fr. Collin Poston (S’03), former Seminary VP of the NAA and Fr. Doug Kenney, S’99, newly elected VP of the NAA to present the 2020 and 2021 John Cardinal McCloskey Awards. 

The McCloskey award is presented to a Mountaineer priest who quietly and unassumingly performs outstanding service to the mission of the Church. The 2020 award was given to Fr. Edward Quinlan (S’78) from the Diocese of Harrisburg, Pa.

The 2021 McCloskey Award was received by Fr. Lee Gross, but Gross was unable to attend so Collin accepted the award on his behalf. Gross served the Seminary as Dean of Men for 25 years and retired in 2021.

Janowiak announced the Fr. Carl J. Fives (C’38, S’42) as scholarship recipients. The scholarship is named in honor of Fives’ seven decades of service to the Mount and the NAA. The scholarship is awarded annually to two deacons. This year’s recipients were Deacon Vic Leviste from the Diocese of Paterson in Clifton, N.J. and Deacon Christian Schwenka from the Diocese of Lincoln, Neb.

A final mass was held Sept. 30 at St. Mary’s chapel, Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes, conducted by Krull and homilies conducted by Fontana. Brunch followed Mass in Seminary Dining Room where alumni continued to reminisce and were grateful to be back on Mary’s beautiful mountain.