A Mass of thanksgiving will be held Sunday at 11 a.m. at St. Hyacinth's Church, 295 Lake Shore Drive East to honor the Rev. Michael J. Parker, former pastor, on priesthood. A number of guest priests will be in attendance to concelebrate the liturgy.
A graduate of Hyacinth Elementary School and the Dunkirk High School Class of 1975, Parker studied at Wadham's Hall Seminary College in Ogdensburg before receiving a master of divinity degree from Christ the King Seminary in East Aurora in 1982.
The ordination of Parker took place on July 8, 1983, in St. Hyacinth Church, marking the first time in history a Dunkirk priest has been ordained in his home parish. He was ordained by the Most Rev. Bishop Edward Head.
During his 25 years as a priest, Parker had been a parochial vicar at Our Lady of Victory Basilica in Lackawanna. He also held similar positions at Nativity of Our Lord Parish in Orchard Park, St. Mary's Parish in Mayville, St. Isaac Jogues Parish in Sherman SUNY Fredonia Newman Center, Saints Brendon and Jude Parish in Almond-Alfred and St. Amelia's Parish in Tonawanda. In addition Parker was granted a sabbatical leave to study at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas in Rome, Italy for one year.
For the past 10 years, Parker served as pastor of St. Hyacinth's Church. He is admired for his reverence, outstanding record of service and love, care and concern for others.
"It is very significant for a native son to become pastor of his own community," Parker said. "Theologically, to be nurtured and called forth to serve your own people can be daunting and humbling. However, the privilege to give back what was given has been a true blessing."
A reception sponsored by the Societies and parishioners of SS. Hyacinth and Hedwig R.C. Parish will be held immediately following the Mass at St. Hyacinth's Lyceum. A formal dinner dance will be held at the Monsignor. Zak Auditorium beginning with parandials at 5 p.m. and dinner at 6 p.m. Dinner music will be provided by the Wallace-Farina Band. Later in the evening artist David Miller will entertain the guests with a presentation in pastels.
Parker is the son of the late Raymond and Ursula Parker.
Parker serves as president of the Buffalo-Western New York Chapter of the John Paul II Foundation. He is also a member of the Priest Council Diocese of Buffalo, the K of C Fourth Degree and the Association of Priests for Parish Affairs.
"Trusting that Christ works in me and knowing that I alone cannot do much without him, I was privileged and humbled to have had the opportunity to serve as the pastor of St. Hyacinth Parish," Parker said. "As a priest, God has given me the opportunity to be the custodian of the faith and to pass the faith on to the children in Catholic school and in the religious education program, as well as to the people of my home parish."
Out-of-town guests will be arriving from Barefoot Bay, Lady Lake, Orlando and Leesburg, Fla., Berlin, Pa.; Indianala, Iowa, Vermont, Stevensville, Maryland, Terryville, Ct., as well as Fredonia, Hamburg, Silver Creek, Clarence, Cheektowaga, Lawtons, Depew, Arcade, Buffalo, Elmira, Tonawanda, Wilmington, Williamsville, Orchard Park, Lakeview, Elma and East Amherst.