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Archives Year in review: Looking back at 2021

January 5, 2022

North Country Catholic

As we usher in a new year, we at the North Country Catholic take this opportunity to look back at 2021.

• Jan. 7 – Father Vicente F. Jazmines, pastor of St. Paul’s in Black River and St. Mary’s in Evans Mills, enters the next life after a battle with COVID-19.

• Jan. 24 – Bishop Terry R. LaValley celebrated a Diocesan Mass for Life at St. Mary’s Cathedral. Due to the pandemic, the diocese did not send buses full of youth to this year’s National March for Life in Washington, DC.

• Late January/early February – Catholic schools around the diocese were able to modify their Catholic Schools Week celebrations to celebrate Catholic education during the pandemic.

• Feb. 6-7 – The Diocese of Ogdensburg prayed for consecrated religious in celebration of World Day of Prayer for Consecrated Life.

• Feb. 16 – Deacon Francis C. “Frenchie” Siskavich of Lyon Mountain enters the next life.

• Feb. 17 – Ash Wednesday was celebrated around the diocese with many parishes opting to sprinkle ashes on heads due to the pandemic.

• Feb. 24 – Mother Cabrini Health Foundation announced it was awarding a round of grants totaling $115 million. Recipients included the diocesan Department of Education, St. André Bessette Parish in Malone, Roman Catholic Community of St. Alexander and St. Joseph in Morrisonville, St. Joseph’s Home in Ogdensburg, Mercy Care for the Adirondacks in Lake Placid, Immaculate Heart Central in Watertown, St. James School in Gouverneur, Trinity Catholic School in Massena, Augustinian Academy in Carthage, St. Agnes School in Lake Placid, Seton Catholic in Plattsburgh, as well as a number of regional medical facilities and social service agencies.

• Feb. 24 – Father Clemont Rimonds, a priest with the Heralds of the Good News, arrives in the North Country from his home in India. He is currently serving in St. Alphonsus-Holy Name of Jesus Parish in Tupper Lake.

• March 2 – Father Raymond J. Wertman, founder of Credo Foundation in Watertown, entered the next life in St. Petersburg, Florida, where he had been residing since he retired in 1998.

• March 3 – Three priests, Father Shane M. Lynch, Father James W. Seymour and Father Scott A. Belina began new assignments. Father Lynch, previously pastor in Gouverneur, Edwards and Star Lake, became pastor in Black River and Evans Mills. Father Seymour, previously pastor in Lowville, Glenfield and Houseville, became pastor in Gouverneur, Edwards and Star Lake. Father Belina, previously pastoral associate in Massena, became pastor in Lowville, Glenfield and Houseville.

• March 4 – Bishop Terry R. LaValley issued a statement encouraging Catholics in the North Country to receive the coronavirus vaccine.

• March 30 – Priests of the diocese gather for the annual Chrism Mass, held observing social distancing in St. Mary’s Cathedral.

• May 1 – Four new Faith Community Nurses were commissioned by Bishop Terry R. LaValley.

• May 12 – Bishop Terry R. LaValley announces new assignments for 19 priests in the diocese. Father Deepak Baru, HGN, is appointed parochial vicar in Lowville, Glenfield and Houseville; Father Scott A. Belina is named administrator in Lowville, Glenfield and Houseville; Father Matthew Conger was named parochial vicar in Watertown; Msgr. Dennis Duprey retired and remained as dean of Clinton Deanery; Father Michael J. Gaffney retired; Father Joseph W. Giroux was appointed pastor in Potsdam and Colton and to serve the Tribunal and Office of Canonical Affairs; Father Michael J. Jablonski was named pastor in Dannemora and Redford; Father Dominic Duc Nguyen retuned to the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph; Father Jude Nnadibuagha was appointed parochial vicar in Ogdensburg; Father John Ojuok was named parochial vicar in Plattsburgh; Father Herman Pongantung, MSC, joined the Missionary of the Sacred Heart Community in Center Valley, Pennsylvania; Father Donald A. Robinson was named pastor in Brownville, Dexter and Sackets Harbor; Father Stephen T. Rocker was appointed administrator in Ellenburg Center; Father Scott R. Seymour was also appointed pastor of St. Augustine in Peru; Father Fernando Solomon was named parochial vicar in Malone; Father Todd E. Thibault was appointed pastor in Carthage and Copenhagen; Father Justin Thomas, HGN, was appointed pastor in Elizabethtown, Westport and Willsboro; Father Howard J. Venette was appointed chaplain at Clinton Correctional Facility; Father Eduardo Pesigan returned to the Archdiocese of Caceres in the Philippines. Some of the assignments were later modified due to Father John Ojuok’s need to return to Africa for immigration purposes.

• May 19 – Father Richard S. Sturtz passes into new life after a brief illness.

• May 23 – Msgr. Harry K. Snow passes into new life.

• May 29 – Three new priests, Father John K. Ojuok, Father Fernando V. Solomon and Father Matthew S. Conger, were ordained by Bisop Terry R. LaValley at St. Mary’s Cathedral.

• May 30 – A memorial of children’s shoes, signs and a large banner was placed at St. Regis Mission Church in honor of children whose bodies were discovered on the site of a former residential school in British Columbia.

• June 19 – Parishioners and friends from St. Regis Church and Akwesasne gathered to honor Sister Mary Christine Taylor, a Sister of St. Joseph, for her 47 years of dedicated service to the St. Regis Community and people of Akwesasne.

• June 27 – Bishop Terry R. LaValley commissioned 20 new lay ministers at St. Mary’s Cathedral.

• July 1 – Father Arthur J. LaBaff and Father Douglas G. Comstock retire. Father LaBaff was appointed sacramental minister for the newly linked parishes of Clayton and the Community of Alexandria Bay. Deacon Neil Fuller was named parish life coordinator.

• July 14 – Msgr. Robert H. Aucoin is named director of Deacon Formation for the diocese. He replaced Deacon John J. Drollette, who retired from the position.

• July 18 – Knights of Columbus from around the diocese travel to St. Anne’s Shrine for their annual pilgrimage.

• July 18 – Father Pier Giorgio of Christ the King, born Alexander Pacelli, was ordained as a priest of the Discalced Carmelite Friars of the Province of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. He is a former resident of Lake Placid with a long-time affiliation with Camp Guggenheim.

• July 30-31 – Youth attend Summer Fun Days at Camp Guggenheim to get a taste of what camp has to offer while summer and family sessions were on hiatus due to the pandemic.

• Aug. 25 – Bishop Terry R. LaValley gives an update on the Child Victims Act as the window for lawsuit filings closed. During the two-year period, 122 lawsuits were filed against the diocese. Only one case alleged abuse within the last 25 years.

• Sept. 2 – An audit assessing the diocese’s compliance with the Charter for the Protection of Young People concludes. The diocese was found to be in compliance with the Charter.

• Sept. 5 – S. Joseph’s Church in Olmsteadville celebrates 150 years.

• Sept. 7 – Catholic Schools open for a new year. Though they continue to be impacted by the pandemic, the schools were able to open for in-person instruction.

• Sept. 10 – Sister Mary Eamon Lyng, a Sister of St. Joseph, is appointed to serve as diocesan Vocations coordinator.

• Sept. 15 – Bishop Terry R. LaValley celebrates Mass with the Sisters of the Cross of Chavanod in the community’s new convent in Lisbon.

• Sept. 13 – Deacon Edward A. Wight of Wells enters new life.

• Sept. 17, 18 – The Diocesan Education Department hosts “The Mystery of the Holy Eucharist: Believe. Celebrate. Live” for diocesan schools and parish leaders” as part of an ongoing focus on the Eucharist.

• Sept. 18, 19 – The Bishop’s Fund Appeal, “Family of Faith in Action,” begins.

• Sept. 26 – Bishop Terry R. LaValley celebrates the Blue Mass honoring law enforcement, fire and EMS personnel, dispatching agencies and corrections employees at Notre Dame in Malone.

• Sept. 30 – The Diocese of Ogdensburg and St. Regis Mission Church joined Canada in marking a National Day of Healing and Reconciliation to honor those impacted by the legacy of residential schools.

• Oct. 2 – Through the laying on of hands and the invocation of the Holy Spirit, Bishop Terry R. LaValley ordained to the Order of Deacon Randy Besio, Gerald Bouchard, Brent Davison, Daniel LeRoy, Michael Lieber Jr., Kenneth Lushia, Roderic Roca, Lee Trudeau, Robert Uttendorfsky, Noel Voos, Mark Webster and Peter Woolschlager at St. Mary’s Cathedral.

• Oct. 3 – Bishop Terry R. LaValley celebrates the Marriage & Consecrated Life Jubilee Mass honoring consecrated religious and married couples celebrating anniversaries of their vows.

• Oct. 9 – Father and son, James and Leagon Carlin, are ordained as deacons by Bishop Terry R. LaValley at St. Peter’s Church in Plattsburgh. Deacon James Carlin will serve as a permanent deacon, while Deacon Leagon Carlin is a transitional deacon and is scheduled to be ordained to the priesthood in 2022.

• Oct. 17 – Bishop Terry R. LaValley celebrates a Mass opening the diocesan participation in the Synod on Synodality.

• Oct. 21 – Plattsburgh Birthright celebrates its 50th anniversary. Champlain Valley Right to Life also marked 50 years in October.

• Dec. 7 – Father Robert O. Lamitie passed into new life in Florida, where he had been residing for several years.

• Dec. 8 – Bishop Terry R. LaValley celebrates Mass to conclude the Year of St. Joseph.

• The Diocese of Ogdensburg continues its Year of St. Joseph. Bishop Terry R. LaValley initially consecrated the diocese to St. Joseph on May 1, 2020, and Pope Francis announced a year of St. Joseph to take place from Dec. 8, 2020 to Dec. 8, 2021. The year is closed with a Mass at St. Mary’s Cathedral.

• Grey Nuns of the Sacred Heart celebrate the order’s 100th anniversary.

• Consecrated religious who entered the next life in 2021: Sister Joanne Clark, Sister of St. Joseph, Feb. 17; Sister Teresa Magdalen Nichols, Sister of St. Joseph, March 22; Sister Theresa Martel, Sister of Charity, March 31; Sister Rita Morrisette, Sister of the Servants of Mary (Servite), April 14; Sister Monica Flaherty, Sister of St. Joseph, May 31; Sister Edward Marie Tesiero, Franciscan Sister of the Atonement, July 25; Sister Alice Moran, an Ursuline, Oct. 23.



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