Local Parish Priest Stories

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Ten years ago, Fr. Walt Szczesny, then Vocation Director for the Diocese of Buffalo, came up with the idea of featuring the “Road to the Priesthood” story of a different priest every month on the Vocation Website. He wanted to show that priests were regular people just like you and me, called by God to serve in His church as representatives of His Son, Jesus. Father Walt envisioned the stories of the priests inspiring future priests who would read them and think, “I have the same hobbies as him” or “He went to the same grade school, high school or college as me.” Every priest was asked basically the same questions and possibly most inspiring was some of the answers to the question: “If you were speaking to someone interested in the priesthood, what advice would you give him?”

The Serra Club of Buffalo, now called, Mary, Mother of Vocations Ministry (MMVM) has always worked closely with the Vocation Director for the Diocese of Buffalo in promoting and supporting those who have been called by God to serve as priests, deacons, and in religious orders. Over the past ten years a few of our members have interviewed priests and some priests submitted their own stories. It has been my pleasure to have interviewed over 100 of the priests featured on the Vocation Website and to have been able to present their stories to you.

There are so many good and faithful priests who were not included in these past ten years for no other reason than that there are only twelve months in a year. In choosing priests to interview, I began with those I knew personally, lived close to or met at weddings, funerals, etc. Sometimes priests were recommended and then contacted but it was impossible to include everyone.

Every story of a priests’ journey is unique. Although there were some similarities, they all had their own twists and turns that brought them to ordination. Once ordained, they all had unique paths and ministries they followed. The gifts and talents God granted them were used as He intended to minister to the needs of His people. Although some tried to put it on the back burner when they first heard it, all of them eventually selflessly answered God’s call. They came from families, big and small, devout and mediocre religious upbringings, the U.S. as well as many other countries. Some worked for a while before entering seminary while others entered right out of grade school, some started, stopped and started again while others continued all the way through. Their stories, though unique, are tied together by their willingness to serve God’s people in persona Christi (in the person of Christ).

Thank you to all the priests who in the past ten years graciously accepted the invitation to be interviewed for this website. Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedules to share your stories. Thank you for giving us insight into the paths that led you to the priesthood and thank you for the inspiration to serve which is woven so beautifully into each and every story.

With Great Sincerity, Appreciation and Admiration,

Susan Santandreu


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