Bishop Robert Deeley speaks Sept. 24 during the annual Jubilarian Mass that honors priests celebrating special anniversaries since their ordination to the priesthood, particularly those commemorating 25 or 50 years as a priest. It was held at St. Maximilian Kolbe Church in Scarborough. Contributed photo

SCARBOROUGH — More than 50 Maine priests joined parishioners at St. Maximilian Kolbe Church Sept. 24 to celebrate the priesthood as well as the ordination anniversaries of many priests.

The annual Jubilarian Mass honors priests celebrating special anniversaries since their ordination to the priesthood, particularly those commemorating 25 or 50 years as a priest. The jubilarians in attendance accounted for almost 1,600 years of priestly service, and the celebration was twice as big this year as anniversaries in 2020 and 2021 were honored.

“It is a good thing that we do as we gather to honor these good men whose anniversaries we mark today,” said Bishop Robert Deeley, who celebrated the Mass, according to a news release from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland. “It is also good for all of us to give thanks for the gift of the priesthood. We give thanks for the gift of all our priests and the bonds of fraternity that creates among us.”

In his now 26 years of ministry, Monsignor Andrew Dubois has served in parishes, including his current role as pastor of St. Paul the Apostle Parish in Bangor, Brewer, Hampden and Winterport, vicar for priests, vicar general, and moderator of the curia. He was respected and successful as a lead administrator for the diocese but feels most at home and fulfilled among the faithful of a parish.

The jubilarians in attendance Sept. 24 accounted for almost 1,600 years of priestly service. From left are Fr. David Schlaver, Bishop Robert Deeley, Fr. C. James Martel, sitting; and Fr. Joël R. Cyr. Contributed photo

Fr. Daniel Greenleaf, the pastor of Prince of Peace Parish in Lewiston, Sabattus and Lisbon Falls, said he could not believe that a quarter century had passed since he was ordained to the priesthood at St. Joseph Church in his native Biddeford.

“I still consider myself as a newbie in the priesthood until I connect with those who have been ordained 10 years or less and then I realize I am one of the older priests to them,” said Greenleaf. “God has been really good to me, blessing me with amazing experiences in the priesthood. All I have is gratitude.”

Fr. Fred Morse was ordained to the priesthood in 1995. Now the pastor of Holy Spirit Parish in Kennebunk and Wells, Morse says after all he’s learned in his 26 years of priestly ministry, his advice to his younger self on his ordination day would be only six words.

“The wisdom is always to listen.”

Fifty years later, Fr. Joël R. Cyr still clearly remembers his ordination day in Fort Kent.

“The day was beautifully sunny, and the congregation was excitedly joyful. I remember the church was artfully decorated and the celebration was sacred. A piece of heaven on earth. God’s people at their best on earth,” said Cyr, who spent eight years serving in Millinocket and Benedicta before retiring from active ministry in 2014.

Fr. Raymond Auger, who was ordained to the priesthood in Portland by Bishop Daniel J. Feeney, said his 65 years as a priest are a “great gift” and encouraged others who are deciding whether they are being called to the priesthood to engage in an active discernment.

“When I went to the seminary, I didn’t know for certain that I would reach my goal, but I wanted to know for myself if God was calling me to be a priest. I went in and I was happy. There were struggles along the way, but you have to persevere to reach your goal. I’ve had a wonderful life. It’s not for everybody, but go find out.”

Following the Mass, a luncheon was held in the hall of St. Maximilian Kolbe Church, with Bishop Robert Reed, auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Boston, serving as the keynote speaker. Reed also concelebrated the Mass with Deeley.

Priests celebrating their 65th anniversary of ordination in 2020 or 2021 are Auger, Fr. Antony Mullaney, Fr. Sylvio Levesque, Fr. Harold Moreshead and Fr. Hubert Paquet.

Priests celebrating their 60th anniversary of ordination in 2020 or 2021 are Monsignor Charles Murphy, Fr. Antonio Amato, Fr. Alfred Jacques, Fr. Richard Rice, Fr. Philip Tracy and Fr. James Roy, MM.

Priests celebrating their 55th anniversary of ordination in 2020 or 2021 are Fr. Albert Roux, Fr. Roger Chabot, Fr. Vincent Mellone and Fr. Roger Chabot.

Priests celebrating their 50th anniversary of ordination in 2020 or 2021 are Cyr, Fr. Alfred Irving, Fr. John O’Hara, Fr. C. James Martel and Fr. David Schlaver, CSC.

In addition to Dubois, Greenleaf, and Morse, priests celebrating their 25th anniversary of ordination in 2020 or 2021 are Fr. William Modlin, Fr. Jacques Dolbec, SOLT, and Fr. Aurelijus Gricius, OFM.

Maine priests were honored Sept. 24 during a Jubilarian Mass in Scarborough. From left are Fr. Aurelijus Gricius, Fr. Daniel Greenleaf, Fr. William Modlin, Bishop Robert Deeley, Monsignor Andrew Dubois and Fr. Fred Morse. Contributed photo

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