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Tribute to priests who served at St. Anthonys
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Recently, Pope Benedict XVI proclaimed the next 12 months as “The Year for Priests.” For Catholics, this period would be a good time to recall the priests in their lives and what, if any, influence those men may have had on the family. St. Anthony of Padua Parish has been fortunate in having priests who were caring, interesting and having genuine concern for the lives of their parishioners.

As members of St. Anthony’s for over 50 years, my family has been blessed in its relationship with the many priests who have served at our church. In our family, we have wonderful memories of priests such as young Father Clinton Farabaugh, who baptized one of our children in the original church on East Yosemite Avenue. Two years later, he baptized another of our children at St. Patrick’s Church in Escalon as our church had recently been destroyed in a fire. Father Farabaugh’s sincerity in dealing with us two young parents left a deep impression.

We also remember Father William Delaney, who presided over the marriages of two daughters with all the happiness his presence engendered on those occasions. This same Father Delaney in later years baptized some grandchildren. A few years before he was transferred, he conducted a beautiful funeral and burial service for my mother, a non-Catholic. For that, my father was forever grateful. Four months later, my father became a Catholic at the age of 82.

Over recent years, our parish – and our family – have enjoyed outstanding pastors. Monsignor Lawrence McGovern, Father Richard Morse and Father Patrick Walker and their associates not only provided spiritual leadership for the parish, but were thoughtful friends and counselors at the family level. Set apart, as it were, by virtue of their ordination to the priesthood, each had his own unique strengths in human relations. Considering their parishioners as their family, one can only imagine the difficult task the priests have in managing the spiritual and temporal matters of a large parish.

When one stops to consider all the commitments that they make, perhaps every year should be “The Year for Priests.”