Priests in the Catholic Diocese of Erie have been talking for weeks about the big changes ahead as lay people prepare to take on a more active role in the church. It turns out they weren’t kidding, as an article in the diocese’s recent weekly bulletin reports that more than 30 pastors and parish vicars have accepted new assignments.
Bishop Lawrence Persico said the church is facing six openings in pastorates across the diocese due to retirements and the death of one of the pastors. “Filling the positions created a domino effect, with each new appointment being considered,” Persico said in the newsletter.
Thirty-five priests are transitioning to new roles, starting in July, and seven priests are changing residence due to a change in assignment. Several of the largest parishes in the diocese will have new parish priests.
For subscribers:More mergers part of talks about future of parishes in Catholic Diocese of Erie
With this change, the diocese will have 96 priests – a number that is not expected to be this low until 2023. “We know that within a decade we will have about a third fewer priests to cover our parishes,” said said Persico.
● At Villa Maria Academy’s recent Baccalaureate Mass at St. Jude the Apostle Church, graduates were sponsored by parents, teachers or friends. In one instance, Audrey Guerrein Steinker, a 1946 Villa graduate, sponsored her great-granddaughter, Ava Forsyth. It’s a special tradition that will hopefully continue in some form as Villa merges with Cathedral Prep.
For subscribers:End of an era: The last class of Villa Maria Academy closes the door on the school’s history
After:What will happen to the West Eighth Street house of Villa Maria Academy when students go to Prep this fall?
● Ron Sertz, the longtime coach and sports administrator recovering from a recurrence of cancer, took note of the retrieval of the 1969 state championship basketball banner by alumni of the St. John the Baptist School.
Sertz, who coached a state championship team at Sacred Heart School, recalled receiving a message that after the school closed, banners and trophies from the display case were thrown away. “I rushed in and was able to save them,” Sertz said. “But now I would like to find them a good home.”
Sertz is currently receiving daily radiation treatments at the Cleveland Clinic.
● Another member of one of Erie’s greatest sports families, the Carrs, has sadly passed away. Bishop Willie Carr, who performed in wrestling and other sports at East High, died May 31 at age 74. He was a dedicated pastor who created a prison ministry that was widely copied throughout the state.
Willie Carr was followed to East by his brothers Fletcher, Joe, Jimmy, Jerry, Nate, Solomon and Michael, all of whom became great athletes.
Obituary:Bishop Willie Carr, 74
After:NWPA Family Legacy Award: Erie Times-News, GoErie.com Honors Carr Family of Wrestlers
● Long-time residents of the North East are delighted that the Freeport restaurant is reopening, now that the Holdsworth family have sold the business to Red Letter Hospitality. My only hope is that the new owners will continue to make that delicious country sausage that Freeport has become famous for.
After:The Cork, owners of Molly Brannigan buy Freeport restaurant in the North East
● The recent death of actor Ray Liotta reminded me of the quiet visit to Erie in the 1990s of the real Henry Hill, the gangster played by Liotta in Martin Scorsese’s Goodfellas. Hill, as you can imagine, was a real character, but he loved Liotta in the movie and kept saying how nice he was.
After:‘Goodfellas’ and ‘Field of Dreams’ tough guy Ray Liotta dies at 67
● Steve Scully, a native of Erie, now hosts a new daily show on SiriusXM’s bipartisan political channel. Scully has taken over the spot vacated by Chris Cuomo, and his show, “The Briefing with Steve Scully,” airs from noon to 2 p.m. on SiriusXM’s POTUS 124 channel.
The longtime C-SPAN host is now senior vice president of the Bipartisan Policy Center in Washington, DC. Scully recently met with a group from the Jefferson Educational Society of Erie, telling the members of her affection for her hometown.
● Speaking of the Jefferson Society, former Notre Dame College and. Saint Bonaventure University President Andy Roth was recently honored at a reception for the more than 100 “Book Notes” articles he has written for the group over the past two years.
Roth, a longtime professor and administrator at Mercyhurst University, is a Scholar-in-Residence at Jefferson. He is scheduled to speak at Chautauqua Institution later this summer.
● We’re heading into the heart of the local strawberry picking season, which means the fields will be packed with people who love those juicy berries. A cool spring delayed the season a bit.
● Some local parents are upset with Rep. Mike Kelly’s recent vote against formula shortages. Local Democratic politicians and parents gathered at Kelly’s Erie office recently to protest the 16th District congressman’s vote.
● Erie Arts & Culture and United Way of Erie County recently launched Purposeful Placemaking, a two-year commitment to create 50 murals along Erie’s walking trails. The work will reflect the aspirations of the inhabitants of the district.
● When Baker Mayfield is finally traded or released by the Cleveland Browns, Progressive Insurance should film a commercial showing Mayfield locking the door of First Energy Stadium.
Kevin Cuneo can be contacted at [email protected]