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Archives A look back on 2019

Dec. 25, 2019

Editor's note: This is the final edition of the North Country Catholic for 2018. Here's a look back at some of the highlights of the year, divided by theme.

RESPECT LIFE: Two busloads of youth and a van of college students from the Diocese of Ogdensburg participated in the March for Life in Washington, D.C. Several youth participants were interviewed by Fox News during the event, sharing their pro-life message with the national media organization. Teen Day for Life, featuring Kate Maloney from Students for Life, was held May 18 at St. Bernard’s in Saranac Lake. The movie “Unplanned,” the story of Abby Johnson’s transformation from Planned Parenthood clinic director to pro-life advocate, was screened in both Watertown and Plattsburgh. The 2019 Respect Life Collection funded grants to 20 organizations who promote life. The grants totaled $59,268. The 40 Days for Life Campaign in Plattsburgh ran from Sept. 25 to Nov. 3.

YOUTH: Youth from around the diocese were urged to “Rise Up” at the annual youth rally on April 16. Speaker Kevin Dowd encouraged the youth to say “yes” when Jesus asks them, “will you finish my work?” Camp Guggenheim summer sessions kicked off June 30. In the course of the season, 270 campers hiked, swam and praised at the diocesan camp. The Saranac Lake area received a wave of youth volunteers as Catholic Heart Work Camp returned to the diocese from June 23-29. As part of the camp, 250 youth volunteered at more than 85 worksites, mostly churches and private homes, to complete service projects.

REST IN PEACE: The diocese mourned the passing of Msgr. Peter R. Riani, 89, who died May 16. A Mass of Christian Burial was held May 20 at St. Agnes Church in Lake Placid. Msgr. Riani was remembered as living a life that reflected his love of the Lord, and for the peace and happiness that gave him. "Several years before he died, he chose some words that would be an inscription on his tombstone," Msgr. Leeward J. Poissant said. “The words were 'smile, Jesus is risen.' Whenever anyone asked him why he chose that inscription, he would explain that we have joy in our lives because Jesus is risen from the dead and still with us. And it gives us hope of our own resurrection when our time comes, and that resurrection in us has already begun with the power of the Holy Spirit working in us. If that isn't enough to make us smile, I don't know what is."

PRIESTS: Eight priests of the diocese were honored at the Jubilee Mass in Lake Placid on May 22. Father Christopher C. Carrara celebrated 25 years since ordination; Father Vincente F. Jazmines and Father Stephen R. Rocker celebrated 40 years; and Father Philip T. Alien. Msgr. Lawrence M. Deno, Father Vincent T. Freeh, Father William G. Muench and Father Joseph N. Sestito celebrated 60 years.

DEACONS: Deacon Kevin Mastellon was appointed director of Permanent Deacons. The deacons and their wives gathered in Lake Placid for their annual assembly on May 23. Fourteen men were accepted by Bishop Terry R. LaValley as candidates to the diaconate in an Oct. 4 ceremony.

A BISHOP NAMED: Pope Francis appointed Father Douglas J. Lucia, then vocations director and judicial vicar for the Diocese of Ogdensburg and pastor of St. Mary’s Church in Waddington and St. John the Baptist Church in Madrid, the eleventh bishop of Syracuse. He was ordained and installed on Aug. 8 at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception.

CATHOLIC SCHOOLS: Mrs. Shannon Margrey from Augustinian Academy in Carthage was named Outstanding Catholic School Teacher for the diocese. Magrey, who attended Augustinian Academy in her youth, has taught at the school since 2001. On June 26, Staff and families were notified that Holy Family School in Malone would not be re-opening for the 2019-20 school year due to declining enrollment and financial challenges. Daniel Charlebois was named principal of Immaculate Heart Central. Immaculate Heart Central was accredited for seven more years by the prestigious Middle States Association.

LAY LEADERS: Bishop Terry R. LaValley commissioned 64 lay ministers from 23 parishes at a ceremony in St. Mary’s Cathedral on June 30. The lay ministers are now serving their parishes and communities in a variety of ministerial roles. On April 27, Bishop Terry R. LaValley presented the Bishop Edgar P. Wadhams Award for Distinguished Service to Irving Papineau and Elaine Cook during the celebration of Confirmation on April 27, 2019 at St. Regis Mission at Akwesasne.

DIOCESAN EVENTS: Priests, deacons and faithful from around the diocese attended the Chrism Mass “If the Chrism Mass is about anything, it's about grace,” Bishop Terry R. LaValley said at the Mass. “We need to restore the power to God so as to minister passionately in the life of His Church. We must place our trust back in God, not ourselves. The Church is not a rowboat driven forward by the strength and skill of the arms of those who are in her. No, the Church is like a sailboat driven by the wind which blows it along from above. No one knows, where it comes from or where it goes - but the wind is caught by the sail of prayer.” A women’s retreat was held May 5 at the Father Amyot Parish Center in Norfolk featuring guest speaker Edwina Gately. Dr. Maura Fehlner was the keynote speaker at “Loving Authentically,” an event held to strengthen relationships and families. Dozens of altar servers from around the diocese gathered at St. Mary’s Cathedral on Aug. 16 for the annual Altar Server Picnic. The Blue Mass, honoring law enforcement and corrections officers from around the diocese, was held Sept. 29. The Diocese of Ogdensburg Vocations Society (DOVS) and diocesan residents traveled to Ottawa for their annual pilgrimage on Oct. 2. The diocese marked Extraordinary Missionary Month in October with a panel discussion with two missionary sisters and a series of articles online and in the North Country Catholic.

AD LIMINA: Bishop Terry R. LaValley and bishops from around the state traveled to Rome for an ad limina Apostolarum visit. During the visit, the bishops met with various Vatican offices, celebrated Masses at the tombs of the Apostles, Peter and Paul, St. Mary Maggiore and St. John Lateran, and had personal visits with the Holy Father.

HEALING & RECONCILIATION: The Child Victims Act (CVA) opened, giving victims of sexual abuse a new the right to sue for compensation. This legislation extended the statute of limitations on criminal cases involving certain sex offences against children under the age of eighteen; extended the time within which civil actions based on such criminal conduct may be brought until the child is 50 years old; and opened a one-year window reviving civil actions for which the statute of limitations has already run. This "Window" of legal opportunity began on August 14th and runs through August 13, 2020. The opening week of the “window,” sixteen individuals filed lawsuits against the diocese.

VOCATIONS: Thirteen men are studying or participating in pastoral years as they discern their vocations to the priesthood. Two men, Severinus Torwoe and Jude Nnadibuagha were ordained as deacons on Oct. 26.

FINANCE: The 2019 Bishop’s Fund, “Alive in Christ” kicked off in September, raising funds to support vital ministries, seminarians, the diaconate, Formation for Ministry, Camp Guggenheim, the Good Samaritan fund and other programs.

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