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Four Basilians Celebrate 250 Combined Years of Priestly Ministry

June 30, 2017

The Basilian community celebrated 250 combined years of priestly ministry on Thursday, June 29, 2017. The occasion was marked by a Mass held in the Chapel of the Cardinal Flahiff Basilian Centre in Toronto, Ontario. Father Richard Elmer, CSB, who is celebrating his 60th anniversary of ordination, served as the chief celebrant. He was joined by concelebrants Fathers John Fiore, CSB and Owen Lee, CSB, who are also celebrating their 60th anniversaries; and Father Jack Wilson, CSB who is celebrating his 70th anniversary.

Historically, the Congregation of St. Basil ordained its priests on June 29, the feast of St. Peter and Paul. In his homily, Father Lee noted how the Church needs its Saint Peters and Saint Pauls to face today’s challenges, which include climate change, religious fundamentalism and violence, the widening gap between the rich and poor, and the devaluation of the human person.

Father Elmer spent almost all of his priestly life at his alma mater, Catholic Central in Detroit, Michigan that he built into a school known throughout the United States for its excellence in academics and athletics. He was named the school’s first president in 2000.

Sixty years ago, Father Fiore led the scholastics in the Cardinal Flahiff Centre in Gregorian chant. A Toronto native, he obtained a doctorate in music from the University of Chicago, and spent most of his priestly life at Andrean High School in Gary, Indiana.

Father Lee, a Detroiter, taught Classics at the University of Toronto for 35 years and is the author of several books. For many years he reached a radio audience of 15 million listeners as a commentator on the Metropolitan Opera broadcasts.

Father Jack Wilson, at 98 years of age, is the oldest Basilian. As a young man he was a champion on the University of Toronto wrestling team. He earned a masters degree in Canon Law at the University of Ottawa and spent most of his priestly life in Alberta.

Father Robert Matzinger, CSB also celebrates his 60th anniversary of ordination this year.

Following the Mass, a reception was held in the dining room for the honourees and their guests.

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