Friday, January 12, 2001 - Updated: 12:01 amSt. Paul Cathedral in Pittsburgh?s Oakland section
always has held a ?great mystique and mystery? for
Father Paul Bradley, who will become its rector on Jan.
?For me to think that I?m going to be somewhat
responsible for the parish is kind of a little bit
intimidating,? Father Bradley said.
?I certainly see it as a great challenge and a wonderful
opportunity. I?m certainly going to do the best that I can.?
In Catholic practice, a rector is a term generally used to
describe the chief administrator of a seminary and
sometimes, like in this case, used for a priest in charge
of a cathedral, shrine or religious house.
A cathedral, from the Greek and Latin cathedra
(chair), is so called for the chair of the bishop who has
jurisdiction over the diocese of which the cathedral is
the central church and the bishop?s official church.
The cathedral ordinarily is the site of the principal
liturgical activities of the bishop and his diocese.
Among the activities that have occurred at St. Paul
Cathedral include the installations of bishops,
including Vincent Leonard, Anthony Bevilacqua and
current Bishop Donald Wuerl, installations of bishops
of other faiths, ordinations of priests, liturgical
ceremonies welcoming hundreds of new Catholics into
the church, weddings, funerals and first Communions.
Father Bradley, currently pastor of St. Sebastian Parish
in Ross Township, will replace Father Leo Vanyo, who
is retiring after 31 years as rector. Father Bradley also
has served as dean of the diocese?s Northwest
?I?ve been here six full years as pastor,? Father Bradley
said. ?This was my first assignment when I was first
ordained back in 1971. I was here six years then as a
After leaving St. Sebastian the first time, he served as a
parochial vicar at St. Paul in Butler and then began
working in the diocesan Pastoral Center in Downtown
He worked in the Office for Family Life and Family
Concerns, and he then served as secretary for social
concerns before becoming pastor at St. Sebastian.
?Because I was here as my first assignment and then
as my first pastorate it obviously holds a very dear and
special place in my heart,? Father Bradley said. ?It was
a major part of my life ? the people of this parish. It?s
very difficult. It?s like a father leaving a family.
?It?s very, very hard to do that because a pastor
becomes immersed in the lives of the people of the
parish. It?s just very hard to feel that I have to break off
some of those relationships and begin the process of
forming new ones.
"It?s difficult, but it?s part of who we are and what we?re
called to do.?
Father Vanyo turned 75 last Oct. 18 when he submitted
his resignation in accord with diocesan synod law. He
will continue to work as an advocate with the diocesan
tribunal where he has served for about 30 years as a
former official and judge.
Father Daniel Maurer is the parochial vicar at St. Paul
Cathedral, and Fathers James Chepponis and Robert
Grecco are in residence.
Father Bradley knows that St. Paul Cathedral, which he
calls ?the mother church of the diocese,? is unique
because of its stature in the local church and because
of its setting in the midst of several nearby universities
?From what I?ve been able to observe and from what I?ve
been told it?s not what you would call a ?typical? parish
community,? he said.
?But wherever God?s people come together to worship
on a regular basis there?s that whole challenge for us
to build a faith community.
?That?s what I?ll be trying to do, to build on all the
wonderful things that Father Vanyo?s done for 31 years.
?I really look to the future with a little bit of trepidation,
but with a whole lot of confidence that the Holy Spirit?s
going to be guiding all of this as he does everything
and just know that it?s going to be what God wants.?