The 15th annual Priest's Appreciation Dinner recently held at St. Anthony's Parish Center was sponsored by the Knights of Columbus from Cardinal Mindszenty Assembly 727, Dunkirk Council 929, Fredonia council 7921, Gowanda Council 15113, Silver Creek Council 5356 and Westfield Council 3100. In attendance were 173 people, 14 priests, three nuns and one deacon.
This year, the Knights once again decided to include the local sisters as well as the deacons to be honored for their dedication. The large number of people attending is a testament to the religious personnel for their love and support.
Prior to the dinner, in the absence of Fr. C.J. Westfield, who is currently hospitalized for heart surgery, Charles St. George, trustee of St. Anthony's Church, welcomed all the attendees on his behalf. Following the Pledge of Allegiance, Fr. Charles Zadora, Faithful Friar of Assembly 727 gave the invocation. Following dinner, St. George, chairman of the event and master of ceremonies, welcomed newcomers, Monsignor Albert Clody, retired; Fr. Mark Wolski of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, Silver Creek; and Sister Grace Deleon of the St. Columban's. In lieu of introductions of the head table, the chairman passed the microphone to each priest who introduced himself with his comments and entertained the crowd with stories. The chairman then had the three nuns from St. Columban's introduce themselves. Those attending enjoyed their comments, giving their enthusiastic applause.
Pictured seated, from left: Rev. Richard Jesionowski, Msgr. Albert Clody, Rev. Joseph Walter, Rev. Peter Cronin, Rev. Daniel Fiebelkorn and Deacon Michael Lemieux. Standing, from left: Rev. Dennis Riter, Rev. Raymond Donahue, The Rev. Walter Werbicki, The Rev. Thomas Walsh, Rev. Matt Nycz, Rev. Joseph Zalacca, Rev. Charles Zadora, Rev. Thomas Wopperer, Rev. Joseph Porpiglia and Rev. Mark Wolski.
St. George then thanked all the councils and introduced the Grand Knights of each Council who were Dr. James Strychalski, council 929; Paul Taddio, Council 7921; Francis Perry Jr., Council 15113; Walter Waligora, council 5656; and David Betz, deputy grand knight of Council 3100. St. George then introduced Paul Harvey, Faithful Navigator of the Cardinal Mindszenty Assembly who made a few comments and thanked everyone responsible for making this event successful. Following that, St. George introduced Ernest Maslach, district deputy of the 76th District, and Mark Walter, former district deputy of the 76th District, who presented David Betz of Westfield with a large plaque recognizing the Westfield Council for sponsoring a seminarian.
In conclusion, Chairman St. George gave special thanks to John Mackowiak, Lou Sinare, Jake Proper and Paul Taddio for handling the refreshments. Special thanks also went to Privitera Farms for the flowering plants that enhanced the head table, which were then presented to all the sisters.
St. George, who has chaired the event for 15 years, announced that this would be his last one. He commented that he has enjoyed doing this for the many years, but sometimes age creeps up and it's time to slow down. Chairman St. George received a standing ovation for his remarks.
Closing prayers were given by Faithful Friar Fr. Charles Zadora.