PITTSBURGH, PA

2017 in review

Sunday, December 31, 2017 - Updated: 11:59 pm

By JOHN FRANKO Staff Writer

JANUARY

Local Ladies of Charity participate in a recommitment ceremony and Mass at St. Paul Cathedral launching the 400th year of Ladies of Charity service ... Bishop David Zubik enters the “Twitter-sphere,” using the Twitter handle @BishopZubik ... The bishop names Jane Sarra as director of mission integration. He also appoints Deacon Jack Miller as director of development and public policy within the diocesan Office for Stewardship ... Bishop Zubik announces the establishment of a new nonprofit corporation to oversee the administration and operation of all 116 cemeteries associated with 78 parishes in the diocese. He appoints Marianne Linn as the founding executive director ... Bishop Zubik, Bishop Edward Malesic of Greensburg, Archbishop William Skurla of the Byzantine Catholic Archeparchy of Pittsburgh and Bishop Kurt Kusserow of the Southwestern Pennsylvania Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America pledge unity in marking the 500th year of the Reformation ... The diocese celebrates Catholic Schools Week with a variety of activities ... Zee Ann Poerio, a teacher at St. Louise de Marillac School in Upper St. Clair, is one of only 42 teachers from across the country to receive the 2017 NCEA Lead. Learn. Proclaim Award from the National Catholic Educational Association ... Father Philip DeCarlo, a priest of the diocese for 61 years, dies at age 87 ... Pittsburgh is well-represented at the annual March for Life in Washington.

FEBRUARY

Bishop Edward Burns, a native son of the Diocese of Pittsburgh, is installed as the eighth bishop of the Diocese of Dallas ... Father David Menegay, a one-time Christian Brother who went on to serve as a diocesan priest in Pittsburgh for 17 years, including 12 as principal of Quigley Catholic High School, dies at age 73 ... Bishop Zubik announces a regional education system designed to ensure vibrant and sustainable Catholic elementary schools in the North Hills region as part of the On Mission for The Church Alive! planning initiative ... Some 100 leaders from around the world take part in the 50th anniversary celebration of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal at the Embassy Suites Hotel in Moon Township ... “Becoming One — Standing Together” is the theme of an interfaith gathering of prayer and celebration with immigrants, refugees and allies at St. Benedict the Moor in Pittsburgh’s Hill District.

MARCH

Father Donald Fisher, a priest of the diocese for 56 years and an advocate for equality, dies at age 81 ... Jacob Williamson is named the new director of young adult ministry in the Secretariat for Leadership Development and Evangelization ... Some 444 catechumens and candidates take part in two rite of election ceremonies at St. Paul Cathedral.

 

APRIL

Bishop Zubik marks the 20th anniverary of his ordination as a bishop ... David Morehouse, CEO and president of the Penguins, former University of Pittsburgh running back James Conner, KDKA-TV’s Bob Pompeani, St. Joseph Sister Janice Vanderneck and Karen Miyaeres are honored at the 44th Annual Art Rooney Award Dinner and Auction at the Westin Convention Center Hotel ... The diocese celebrates the Easter triduum ... Bishop Zubik joins Catholic and Lutheran leaders at St. John the Baptist Byzantine Catholic Cathedral in Munhall for the first of three local observances of the Reformation ... Some two dozen members of the Diocesan Union of the Holy Name Society are recognized for the witness of their faith during the 55th awards ceremony at St. Paul Cathedral ... Cardinal Donald Wuerl and Bishop Zubik were among concelebrants at the funeral Mass for Steelers chairman and former U.S. Ambassador Dan Rooney, who died April 13 at age 84. The congregation of more than 1,500 at St. Paul Cathedral included former President Barack Obama ... Father Frank Erdeljac, a priest of the diocese for 34 years, dies at age 87.

MAY

Maureen Lally-Green, a former judge who later worked for the Diocese of Pittsburgh, is named the first female to serve as dean of the Duquesne University School of Law ... The Gilmary Catholic Retreat Center in Findlay Township closes its doors following a “goodbye” celebration ... Father John O’Shea, a priest of the diocese for 35 years and former pastor of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal Parish in Meadow Lands, dies at age 76 ... Twenty-one men mark the start of the initial phase of the Deacon Formation Program with an opening Mass celebrated by Bishop Zubik at St. Paul Seminary ... Twelve young people receive the St. Timothy Award during a dinner at St. Paul Seminary ... Some 1,000 supporters attend the 35th Annual Bishop’s Dinner for Catholic Charities at the Westin Convention Center Hotel. Among those honored is WTAE-TV’s Kelly Frey, who received the Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl Caritas Flame of Hope Award ... Bishop Zubik names Judene Indovina as director of family ministry and faith formation in the Secretariat for Leadership Development and Evangelization, and Jorge Vela as coordinator of Hispanic ministry in the General Secretariat ... Bishop Zubik commissions the two 2017 Chimbote mission teams, who will serve there in the coming weeks ... Cardinal Wuerl spoke of John “Jack” Donahue’s “boundless enthusiasm for life” during a memorial Mass at St. Paul Cathedral. Donahue, co-founder of Federated Investors and a pillar of the Pittsburgh community, died May 11 at age 92 ... Father James Krah, a priest of the diocese for 46 years, dies at age 75 ... Father John Kelly, a member of the Redemptorist order who served in the diocese for several years, dies at age 93.

JUNE

Bishop Zubik ordains five men — Benjamin Barr, Thomas Gramc, David Green, Aleksandr Schrenk and Daniel Waruszewski — to the priesthood during a Mass of ordination at St. Paul Cathedral ... Bishop Zubik receives the 2017 Board Award from the National Association of Church Personnel Administrators during its convention in Nashville ... St. Kilian Parish in Adams/Cranberry townships hosts the second of three programs to mark the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation ... Father Michael Ackerman becomes full-time vocations director for the diocese.

JULY

Thousands of Catholic Charismatic Renewal members attend their 2017 Jubilee Conference at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center ... St. Stanislaus Kostka Church, part of St. Patrick-St. Stanislaus Kostka Parish in Pittsburgh’s Strip District, celebrates its 125th anniversary ... Father Ronald Lengwin, longtime diocesan spokesman and host of KDKA radio’s “Amplify,” is given the honorific title “monsignor” by Pope Francis at the request of Bishop Zubik ... The diocesan mission teams return to Pittsburgh with heartwarming stories from Chimbote ... The Knights of Columbus present Bishop Zubik with a check for $186,000 as part of its annual Bishop’s Project in support of McGuire Memorial Home and St. Anthony School Programs ... Father Thomas Sparacino becomes rector of St. Paul Seminary.

AUGUST

Bishop Zubik hosts a series of On Mission for The Church Alive! Summer Sessions in each of the four regional vicariates in the diocese ... The diocese participates in an interfaith gathering outside the City-County Building in Downtown Pittsburgh in response to violent and hate-filled events in Charlottesville, Virginia, and elsewhere ... Bishop Zubik is among those honored at the Bishop’s Latin School Alumni Association’s annual Cardinal Wright Vocations Mass and Awards Banquet at St. Paul Seminary ... Father Regis Farmer, a priest of the diocese for 44 years and pastor of St. Maria Goretti in Pittsburgh’s Bloomfield/Friendship/Garfield neighborhoods, dies at age 71 ... Father Michael MacVeigh, a priest of the diocese for 61 years, dies at age 87 ... More than 100 attend the USA LMC (Lay Missionaries of Charity) National Retreat at St. Paul of the Cross Retreat Center on Pittsburgh’s South Side ... Aux. Bishop William Waltersheid and the five newly ordained priests of the diocese are recognized during the Serra Club of Pittsburgh’s 68th annual Ordinati reception and dinner at the LeMont Restaurant.

SEPTEMBER

Bishop Zubik appoints Father Samuel Esposito as episcopal vicar for implementation of the On Mission for The Church Alive! initiative ... The On Mission Commission makes it recommendations to Bishop Zubik regarding the parish groupings that will work together as part of the initiative ... The diocese unveils its completely overhauled website featuring innovative technology ... Representatives of each of the 188 parishes of the diocese, along with 16 representatives of religious communities and six nominated for diocesan-wide service, are honored with the Manifesting the Kingdom Award during a Mass at St. Paul Cathedral ... Father Paul Grunebach, a priest of the diocese for 41 years, dies at age 66.

OCTOBER

An independent team of auditors once again finds the Diocese of Pittsburgh fully compliant with all child protection measures mandated by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in the “Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People” ... Bishop Zubik leads a Pittsburgh Catholic pilgrimage to France ... Some 1,000 attend a candlelight procession at St. Paul Seminary marking the centennial of the “miracle of the sun” at Fatima, Portugal. A number of parishes held similar observances ... Father Peter Pilarski, a priest for 58 years, dies at age 84 ... Couples marking their 50th wedding anniversaries gather for a Mass with Bishop Zubik at St. Paul Cathedral ... Actress Lauren Potter is the keynote speaker at the St. Anthony School Programs 20th Annual Dinner and Auction at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center ... Bishop Zubik dedicates the new St. Alexis Church in Wexford ... Bishop Zubik is honored with the 2017 Hall of Fame Award at the 20th — and final — Pittsburgh Sports Night Gala, sponsored by North Side Friends and Neighbors at Heinz Field ... Bishop Zubik participates in a final event recognizing the Reformation’s 500th anniversary at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe ... Father Larry Bruney, a priest of the diocese for 33 years and pastor of St. Cyril of Alexandria in Pittsburgh’s Brighton Heights neighborhood, dies at age 73.

NOVEMBER

An advisory board is named to help lead Catholic elementary schools in Pittsburgh and the eastern suburbs in implementing a second regional educational system in the diocese ... Father Dan Whalen, a priest of the diocese for 17 years and former pastor of Holy Spirit and St. Nicholas parishes in Millvale, dies at age 63 ... A Washington County judge dismisses a lawsuit by parishioners of the former St. Anthony Parish in Monongahela who had sought to reopen the church building ... Bishop Zubik presides at the dedication of the Dr. Edward Kelly Floor of Care and Medicine at the Catholic Charities Free Health Care Center in Downtown Pittsburgh. It honors the recently retired physician who had served as its volunteer medical director since it opened 10 years ago ... Nearly 900 women gather for the 2017 Catholic Women’s Fellowship Conference at Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic High School in Cranberry Township ... Bishop Zubik leads diocesan faithful who are among the 3,000 gathered for Amen to Action at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center. The ecumenical event exceeded its goal of packing 1 million meals for those in need ... St. Lucy’s Auxiliary to the Blind honors 134 young women for their commitment to volunteer service during the 54th Medallion Ball at the Wyndham Grand Pittsburgh Hotel.

DECEMBER

St. Vincent College leaders announce the public phase of a $100 million comprehensive fundraising campaign during a gathering at Heinz Field ... More than 1,000 attend a Festival of Carols and Praise at St. Paul Cathedral ... Bishop Zubik blesses the renovated St. John Vianney Manor for retired priests in Crafton.


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