Hearts for the Mission
By Cliff Gorski
The Catholic Accent
It’s often said that there must be something in the water in Ford City: In the last decade, three parishioners of Christ, Prince of Peace Parish have been ordained to the priesthood in the Diocese of Greensburg.
Father Tyler J. Bandura, ordained in 2013, is currently Pastor of St. James Parish, New Alexandria, and Administrator Pro-tem at St. Rose Parish, Latrobe, as well as Director of Priestly Vocations for the Diocese.
Father Eric J. Dinga was ordained in 2015. He is now Pastor of his home parish and St. Lawrence Parish, Cadogan.
This June, Father Andrew J. Hamilton was ordained by Bishop Larry J. Kulick and is now serving as Parochial Vicar of St. Joseph Parish, St. John the Evangelist Parish, St. Therese, Little Flower of Jesus Parish, and St. Mary (Nativity) Parish, all in Uniontown.
“A divine calling must come through the work of the Divine, which I must say was my experience growing up. I think of the many people in my home parish who loved their Catholic faith, lived it faithfully each day and cherished their relationship with the Church,” Father Bandura said, adding that he has wonderful, joy-filled memories of the priests he encountered during his youth.
Father Dinga noted, “Just as we say that it takes a village to raise a child, so, too, does it take a parish to raise and foster a spiritual child. The small-town nature of the Ford City community lends itself to taking ‘ownership’ – in a positive way – of the vocations who have been raised up from among them, and they take pride in that, in the best sense of the word.”
This year, Bishop Kulick accepted three men into the priestly formation program for the Diocese of Greensburg. Matteo Arcara, a parishioner of St. Paul Parish, Greensburg, Thomas Oldenburg, a parishioner of Holy Family Parish, Latrobe, and Ryan Scavnicky, a parishioner of Immaculate Conception Parish, Irwin, are all attending St. Charles Borromeo Seminary, Wynnewood.
They are in the propaedeutic stage of the priestly formation program. In the newly added propaedeutic stage, Arcara, Oldenberg and Scavnicky live in community with a team of priest formators. While introductory in nature, the propaedeutic stage is a time for men to grow in prayer, trust in God, and gain knowledge of the Catholic Church and its teachings. This time helps seminarians lay a foundation for a new way of life centered in Christ and in communion with their Bishop, presbyterate and local Church.
Deacons Craig Alexander, David Slusarick and John Torres were ordained to the Transitional Diaconate in May by Bishop Kulick and have received their pastoral appointments.
Deacon Alexander, whose home parish is St. Agnes Parish, North Huntingdon, is serving St. Barbara Parish, Harrison City. Deacon Slusarick, whose home parish is St. Therese, Little Flower of Jesus, is serving Mother of Sorrows Parish, Murrysville. Deacon Torres, whose home parish is St. Rita Parish, Connellsville, is serving the Catholic Community of Connellsville and Dunbar. They continue in their formation and are scheduled to be ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Kulick in 2024.
Bishop Kulick also made academic assignments for seminarians Mario Porreca and Kevin Richardson. Porreca, a parishioner of
St. Anne Parish, Rostraver, will continue his theological studies at Saint Vincent Seminary, Latrobe. Richardson will also continue his theological studies at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary, Wynnewood. Both are entering the configuration stage, year I, in the fall. This summer Porreca and Tyler Randolph, a parishioner of Immaculate Conception Parish, Irwin, will experience parish life during a 10-week summer appointment to Our Lady of the Assumption Parish, Coral and Lucernemines. Randolph attends Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary. Richardson will have the same opportunity in ministering at Church of the Resurrection Parish, Northern Indiana County.
Seminarian Dale Hyland, a parishioner of St. Margaret Mary Parish, Lower Burrell, will return to his studies at St. Mark Seminary in Erie in the fall while continuing his education at Gannon University, Erie.