Home Our Diocese Religious from Diocese of Wilmington celebrate milestone jubilees from 2020 and 2021

Religious from Diocese of Wilmington celebrate milestone jubilees from 2020 and 2021

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A member of the Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles is seen during vespers in Gower, Mo., in 2018, (CNS photo/Karen Pulfer Focht)

The following religious celebrated milestone jubilees in 2020 and 2021. Information on additional jubilarians will be published in the spring.

75 Years

• Rev. Alexander T. Pocetto, OSFS, was born in Wilmington in 1927 and attended Charles B. Lore School. Following graduation from Salesianum in 1945, he entered the Oblate Novitiate and made his first profession of vows in 1946. Father Pocetto earned an A.B. in Philosophy and M.A. in French from The Catholic University of America and a Ph.D. in French from Université Laval, Quebec. He also attended Institut Sévres in Paris. He completed his studies for the priesthood at De Sales Hall School of Theology in Childs, Md., and was ordained on June 4, 1955. Following ordination, Fr. Pocetto was assigned to Salesian High School, Detroit, Mich., and later St. Anthony of Padua Church, Wilmington. He was also assigned to Bishop Duffy High School, Niagara Falls, N.Y., as a teacher. He served as the Academic Dean/Academic Vice President, and Senior Vice President at De Sales University, Center Valley, Pa.; Assistant Superior General for the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales; and Provincial and General Councilor. Fr. Pocetto was also a Lecturer in Salesian Studies and a Senior Salesian Scholar. He retired to Salesianum Oblate Community in Wilmington, in August 2021.

• Sr. Ann Miller, OSB, a native Delawarean, was a teacher at St. Mary’s, Newark, N.J., and Sacred Heart, where she was also superior, and St. Catherine of Siena. She was both superior and principal at Our Lady of Fatima and St. Elizabeth. Toward the end of her teaching career, she worked at St. Mark’s High School as a reading specialist. In 1973 Sister moved to St. Gertrude Monastery in Ridgely, Md., where she was superior, teacher, dorm mother and residential coordinator for 25 years at the community’s Habilitation Center. Sister loved working with special needs students. After she retired in 1999, she helped with the medical records of the community, and for over 20 years was guest mistress. She now spends her days in prayer and watching EWTN.

70 Years

• Sr. Carol Ann Holder, OSU: “How can one capture the seventy-plus years of blessed, happy, challenging experiences in religious life? I spent my first 30 years in Bronx, N.Y. and Athens, Greece, teaching in elementary, junior high, and as a guidance counselor in two girls’ high schools. Vatican II ‘opened the windows’ to new possibilities. I began training as a Cancer Care Technician in Calvary Hospital, N.Y. for terminally ill patients. After many years, this experience led me and three other religious congregations to accept an invitation to open an AIDS hospice, ‘Rainbow Home’, the first of its kind in Wernersville, Pa. There, we nursed and comforted a young population of local men and women until their discharge or demise. As I continued my medical experiences, I had the happy fortune to work at A.I. DuPont Childrens’ Hospital on the Rehab Unit. My years served there were inspiring. The past ten years, with our Ursuline Convent closing, I became involved in the community and service of my parish, Church of the Holy Child, while also volunteering as a spiritual support for Delaware and Compassionate Care Hospices. It continues to be a grateful journey and I thank my Ursuline Order for these opportunities!”

65 Years

• Sr. Marylou Robino, OSB, a member of the Benedictine Sisters of St. Gertrude Monastery in Newark is a native of Wilmington. She is a graduate of St. Elizabeth High School, Seton Hall University, and the University of Maryland. She taught at Sacred Heart, St. Catherine of Siena, Our Lady of Fatima, and St. Edmond’s in Rehoboth Beach, where she was the principal. She worked as a clinical social worker at Catholic Charities for 26 years, as a school counselor at Holy Angels, and a classroom assistant at Holy Angels and St. Elizabeth. For nine years she volunteered in the emergency department and the gift shop of St. Francis Hospital. She presently volunteers at the Blood Bank of Delaware. She is an active member of her community.

• Sr. Marie Becker, OSB, taught in the Wilmington Diocese for over fifty years. She was the founding principal of St. Catherine of Siena School and taught there for two years. For the remaining years of active ministry, she taught at St. Elizabeth Elementary and St. Elizabeth High School. She is now in “active retirement” at St. Gertrude Monastery in Newark where she participates in the ministries of prayer, hospitality, and assistance to the elderly.

• Sister Mary Elizabeth Cassidy, OSB, (Sister Regina Marie) is a native Delawarean, and entered the Benedictine Sisters in her late 20s. She was a teacher at St. Mary’s, Newark, N.J., Our Lady of Fatima, Sacred Heart, St. Catherine of Siena, and St. Elizabeth. She was also principal at Sacred Heart and St. Catherine of Siena, as well as, convent superior at St. Mary’s, Sacred Heart, St. Catherine of Siena and St. Elizabeth. She was also appointed sub-prioress of her community. After many years of teaching, she became religious education director of the eastern deanery for the diocese of Wilmington. Toward the end of her career, she was director of the Spirituality Center in Hockessin, and she also worked for the Ministry of Caring.
In spite of her age, she still attends diocesan functions and is a welcoming presence to anyone coming to the monastery.

• Sr. Mary Agnes Dugan, OSB, a native Delawarean, taught at Sacred Heart, St. Edmond’s in Rehoboth, St. Elizabeth, and Our Lady of Fatima, where she was superior for many years. She was sub-prioress of her Benedictine community and also formation director. In 1975 she moved to the monastery and worked as teacher, dorm mother, residential coordinator, and supervisor at the Benedictine School. Sister’s heart is very much with her special needs students. She travels from Newark to Ridgely every week, where she continues to work part-time at the school.

60 Years

• Sr. JoAnne Goecke, DC was born and raised in Baltimore, Md., where she met the Daughters of Charity while attending Seton High School. She completed her initial formation in Emmitsburg, Md., and was sent to serve as a teacher in Youngstown, Ohio. This would be the first of 15 missions during her lifetime, most serving in Catholic schools in the southeastern United States. Today, Sister continues to serve God in His children at St. Peter Cathedral School, Wilmington. Her zeal for serving others is inspired by St. Vincent de Paul’s words of encouragement to the first Sisters, “How consoled you will be at the hour of death for having consumed your life for the same purpose as Jesus Christ did, for charity, for God, for the poor!”

• Rev. William R. Gore, OSFS, was born in Philadelphia and attended St. Hugh Roman Catholic Church and elementary school and St. Michael Byzantine Catholic church. He attended Northeast Catholic High School.  After completing high school, he entered the Novitiate of the Oblates of St. Frances de Sales in 1959.  While a seminarian, he attended Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., for undergraduate studies in philosophy and piology. After completing his studies, he acquired a Master of Theology degree at DeSales School of Theology and a Master of Arts in Adolescence Psychology from Villanova University.
On Sept. 6, 1969, Father was ordained at the Cathedral Basilica of Ss. Peter and Paul in Philadelphia. He than began teaching in secondary education at Bishop Ireton High School in Alexandria and Salesianum School in Wilmington. He taught science, religion and psychology, served as a guidance director and school chaplain. In addition, he provided ministry in various parishes on weekends in both Roman Catholic and Byzantine (Ukrainian) parishes having faculties for both rites. In 1988, he was assigned religious superior of the Oblate College community in Center Valley, Pa. During this time, he worked in administration for Ss. Peter and Paul Byzantine Catholic parish in Bethlehem, Pa. In 1992, Father went to the Ukraine to work to establish a seminary of the Eastern Ukrainian Catholic church in the city of Lviv after the fall of communism.  At the end of 1993, he returned to Wilmington and was appointed pastor of St. Nicholas Ukrainian Catholic Church and St. Basil the Great Ukrainian Catholic Church. Chesapeake City, Md. While pastor of these two parishes, he was appointed religious superior of an Oblate community in Wilmington. In 1999, he requested permission to return to the Ukraine to teach in the seminaries of the Eastern Catholic churches in the cities of Lviv and Drohobych; He returned every summer to preach and raise money for Oblate missions and his work in the Ukraine. He returned home in 2009 to become religious superior again of an Oblate community in Wilmington, while still preaching throughout the country for the Oblate missions and support of seminarians in the Ukraine.  Every year he returned to Ukraine to assist with aid for seminarians and priests. In 2014, he began assist at some of the beach parishes in Delaware. He lives in Rehoboth Beach area and assists at St. Edmond, St Jude and Mary Mother of Peace parishes.

• Fr. John F. McGinley, OSFS, was born in Philadelphia in 1940 and attended Incarnation of Our Lord School. Following graduation from Northeast Catholic High School, Philadelphia, in 1958, he attended La Salle University for a year before entering the Oblate novitiate and made his first profession of vows in 1960. Father McGinley earned a Bachelor of Arts in Business from Niagara, N.Y.; a M. Ed. From Temple University, Philadelphia; and an MBA from Allentown College. He completed his studies for the priesthood at De Sales Hall School of Theology in Hyattsville, Md. He was ordained at the Cathedral of Ss. Peter and Paul in Philadelphia on Oct. 26, 1968.
Following ordination, he was assigned at a teacher to Bishop McDevitt High School, Harrisburg, Pa., He was treasurer and VP of finance and continuing education at De Sales University, Center Valley, Pa., pastor at St. Anthony of Padua, and parochial vicar at St. Jane Frances de Chantal, Easton, Pa. Father McGinley performed internal ministry for the Oblate Wilmington-Philadelphia Province as treasurer general and provincial councilor. He was the assistant superior of the Brisson Seminary Community, Center Valley, Pa., and also director at Camp Brisson in Northeast, Md. He retired in 2016 and now resides at Annecy Hall in Childs, Md.

• Sr. Catherine Higley, OSB, is a native Wilmingtonian and graduated from St. Matthew’s School and St. Elizabeth High School. She entered the Benedictine Sisters of Ridgely, Md., taught school on the elementary level for 11 years and then served as a principal for four years. Her education included degrees from Seton Hall University, the Nursing School of Wilmington, Widener University and the Catholic University of America. Retiring from her teaching career, she pursued nursing and spent 30 years as a hospice nurse. Now retired, Sister resides at the new Benedictine monastery in Newark.

• Fr. Cornelius Kilty, OSFS, was born in Philadelphia in 1941 and attended Nativity B.V.M. Parish School. Following graduation from Northeast Catholic High School, Philadelphia, in 1959, he entered the Oblate Novitiate and made his first profession of vows in 1961. Father Kilty earned a B.A. in French and Spanish from Niagara University, Niagara, N.Y., and a M.A. in classical languages from Villanova University. He completed his studies for the priesthood at De Sales Hall School of Theology in Hyattsville, Md., earning a M.A. in theology. He was ordained on Sept. 6, 1969.
Following ordination, Fr. Kilty was assigned to Northeast Catholic High School as a teacher, department chairperson, activities director and track coach. He served as president of the Council of Religious Teachers for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. Fr. Kilty also taught at Father Judge High School, and Ss. John Neumann and Maria Goretti High School in Philadelphia, as well as Bishop Ireton High School, Alexandria, Va. For two years Fr. Kilty was the financial aid director at De Sales University, 1972-74, and taught Latin and Greek and New Testament there from 1978-83. He also taught at Moravian College and Seminary from 1978-83.
For 15 years, Fr. Kilty taught in the religious studies division of St. Charles Seminary, Overbrook, Pa. He was an adjunct faculty member at Holy Family, Immaculata and La Salle universities. He also served on the board of trustees for De Sales University and Mary Immaculate Seminary and taught at both institutions.
Fr. Kilty performed internal ministry for the Oblates Wilmington-Philadelphia Province as assistant postulant director and scholastic master. He served as superior of the Brisson Seminary Community, Center Valley, Pa. and the Northeast Catholic Oblate Community, Philadelphia.
For 40 years, Fr. Kilty served as chaplain for the Sacred Heart Home for Incurable Cancer in Philadelphia. He retired to Annecy Hall, Childs, Md., in 2018.

• Rev. Frank J. Rinaldi, OSFS, was born in Wilmington in 1941. He attended St. Elizabeth School and graduated from Salesianum School in 1959. Following graduation, he entered the Oblate novitiate and made his first profession of vows in August 1961. Father Rinaldi earned a B.A. from Niagara University. He also earned two masters of arts: one in modern languages at Villanova University and another in religious education at Detroit University. He was ordained on Sept. 6, 1969.
Father taught at Northeast Catholic High School in Philadelphia and Salesian High School in Detroit. He was the chaplain at St. Gertrude’s Monastery in Ridgley, Md., and pastor at St. Peter’s in Onley, Va., parochial vicar at Mother Seton in Germantown, Md., Our Lady of Good Counsel in Vienna, Va., temporary administrator at St. Catherine of Siena, Wilmington, and at St. Paul in Delaware City, and then parochial vicar at St. Anthony of Padua in Wilmington. Father now helps on a part time basis at St. Anthony of Padua and St. Catherine of Siena.

55 Years

• Rev. John P. Connery, OSFS, was born in Norristown, Pa., in 1941. He graduated from Corpus Christi Parochial School in Philadelphia in 1955 and from Northeast Catholic High School in Philadelphia in 1959. After earning a B.A. in English from St. Joseph University in Philadelphia in 1964, he entered the Oblate novitiate and made his first profession of vows in 1966.  He then earned a M.A. in English from Niagara University in Niagara Falls, N.Y., and a master of divinity from DeSales Hall School of Theology in Washington, D.C. where he completed his studies for the priesthood. He was ordained on June 5, 1971.
Following ordination, Fr. Connery was assigned as a teacher to Bishop Ireton High School in Alexandria, Va., Father Judge High School in Philadelphia, and Salesianum in Wilmington. He also served for 25 years as the director of communications for the Wilmington-Philadelphia Province and was managing director for DeSales Publishing Inc.  Father also served as chief of chaplains at the VA/Medical Center in Wilmington for 28 years and as a chaplain at St. Francis Hospital in Wilmington for eight years.
He retired to the Salesianum Oblate Community in 2020.

• Rev Michael C. Connolly, OSFS, was born in New York City in 1946 and attended St. John Baptist School in Kenmore, N.Y. Following graduation from Archbishop Stepinac High School, White Plains, N.Y., in 1964, he entered the Oblate novitiate and made his first profession of vows in 1966. Father Connolly earned a B.A. in French from Allentown College, an M. Ed. in French from West Chester University (Pa.), an M.A. in Theology from De Sales School, and J.C.L. Canon Law at Catholic University of America (Washington, D.C.). He completed his studies for the priesthood at De Sales Hall School of Theology in Hyattsville, Md. He was ordained on Dec. 21, 1974.
Following ordination, Fr. Connolly was assigned to Father Judge High School where he was a teacher. He also taught at DeSales University, Center Valley, Pa., and Salesianum. He was the Director of Development for the WP Province, Judicial Vicar, Vice-Chancellor and Diocesan Consultor for the Archdiocese for the Military, Washington, DC, pastor, St. Brendan the Navigator, Ocean Isle Beach, N.C., Novice Master, Oblate Novitiate, Brooklyn, Mich. He currently serves as the Provincial Canonist for the WP Province.He retired to Salesianum Oblate Community in 2017.

50 Years

• Sr. Regina Dalton, OSF, has spent most of her ministry in nursing. She trained as a practical nurse at St. Mary’s Hospital in Philadelphia. She continued her education as registered nurse at St. Francis Hospital in Trenton, N.J. She then worked as a nurse from the late seventies to early eighties at the hospital. After St. Francis she served as a visiting nurse in Atlantic, Ocean and Cape May counties for Holy Redeemer Health Care. Next she worked at Mount Carmel House, a transitional shelter for homeless women in Washington, D.C. Next she served as Nurse Advocate and driver for the Jesuit Community at Georgetown University. She continued in that role at Assisi House, a retirement home for the Sisters of St. Francis in Aston, Pa. After much travel and varied experiences, Jeannie now uses her boundless energy in housekeeping at the motherhouse of the Sisters of St. Francis in Aston, PA.

• Sr. Grace Andrew Jeffery, OSF, ministered in the Diocese of Wilmington her entire religious life with the exception of serving one year in Baltimore, Md. She taught in several Catholic elementary Schools for ten years then began ministry as a Director of Religious Education in the following parishes: St. Peter and Paul in Easton, Md.; St. Joseph On The Brandywine; and the longest period in Immaculate Conception, Elkton, Md.. During her ministry she was blessed to journey with adults and families through the RCIA process, Catechetical programs for children and youth, Sacrament preparations, and various Adult Education and Scripture Classes. Sr. Grace has known God’s many blessings and joy over the years in sharing faith and ministry with many catechists and other volunteers.

• Sister Lynn Patrice Lavin, OSF, PhD, a member of the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia, is a native of Baltimore, MD. She entered the congregation in 1967 and was first professed in 1970, perpetually professed in 1975. She has lived and/ or served in the Diocese of Wilmington many years, beginning with her teaching at Padua Academy from1975-1979. She has served in the ministries of elementary, high school, and college education, particularly as an associate professor at Neumann University. As a licensed therapist, Sister has also served as director of St. Joseph Counseling Center in Spokane, Washington. She has served in congregation ministry as Vocation Director and Formation Director for new members as well as Provincial Minister of the congregation’s southern province, 1989-1993, and as Congregation Minister (2002-2008). Presently she is a member of the Church of the Holy Child parish community, working as a group consultant and facilitator for religious congregations as well as spiritual director and program presenter.

• Sr. Patricia Therese Miszczuk, OSF, is a Sister of St Francis of Philadelphia. She graduated with her BS in Biology from Neumann University and her MA in Secondary Education/Administration from Villanova University. She ministered for 18 years as science teacher at Saint Mark’s High School. She then worked in multiple positions at St. Francis Hospital for 12 years.

• Sr. Eleanor Moore, OSF, has had varied and diverse ministry experiences as a Sister of St. Francis. She was an elementary teacher in Wilmington, DE teaching at St. Anthony, St. John the Beloved, and St. Paul elementary schools, and continued her school assignments in Maryland and South Carolina. At Lancaster Catholic High School, she was a member of the Business Department. After leaving the school environment, Sr. Eleanor joined the Information Technology department of St. Francis Hospital and ministered as training coordinator and system analyst.
Sister spent seven years in the finance office of the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales. She has served in internal ministry with the Sisters of St. Francis and currently is administrator of Our Lady of the Angels Convent in Aston, PA.

• Sr. Kathleen Pollard OSF, a native of Trenton, N.J., began ministry as a teacher at St. Anthony’s in Baltimore, Md.. She also ministered at St. Katharine School in Baltimore. She continued in this ministry in Wilmington in 1975 at Corpus Christi School, then at St. Peter the Apostle School in New Castle, St. Paul School, and then back to St. Peter’s. After a one-year term at Most Pure Heart of Mary School in Mobile, Ala., she returned to her “home” in Wilmington, teaching at Christ Our King School. Presently, she is working as Site Manager at the Ministry of Caring’s Guardian Angel Child Care. She cannot imagine her religious life without children in it because they have taught her so much about the joy, trust, and spontaneity of God.

• Sr. Ann David Strohminger OSF, was born in Baltimore, MD. She entered the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia and graduated from Neumann University with her BSN in Nursing and served in various ministries as an intensive care nurse, nurse educator and school nurse. She later served her community as Vocation Director and Assistant Formation Director. She earned her MS in Pastoral Counseling from Loyola University of Maryland and ministered as Director of Pastoral Counseling at St John Vianney Center in Downingtown, PA. She completed her certificate programs in Gestalt Therapy and Spiritual Direction. Presently she serves as the Delegate for Religious in the Diocese of Wilmington. She is currently on the Diocesan Vocations Board, Executive Board of the National Conference of Vicars for Religious and Review Board for the Vincentians. In her spare time she likes to bake, quilt and enjoy life.

40 Years

• Brother Joseph Schodowski, OSFS, was born in Philadelphia in 1959 and attended St. Ignatius of Loyola School, Sinking Springs, Pa. Following graduation from Holy Name High School in Reading, Pa., in 1977, he entered the Oblate Novitiate and made his first profession of vows in 1981. Brother Schodowski attended Cecil Community College where he earned an AA in air conditioning, refrigeration, heating, and plumbing. He made his perpetual profession in 1989. Brother Schodowski was on staff at the Oblate Novitiate, Rising Sun, Md., the Provincial Residence, Wilmington, Salesianum School, and DeSales University in Center Valley, Pa. Brother Schodowski is currently assigned as facilities manager at De Sales Centre Oblate Residence, Childs, Md.