June marks decades of service for several Diocese of Charlotte priests
CHARLOTTE — The Diocese of Charlotte is blessed with priests who have given decades of service to the diocese, several of whom are marking special anniversaries of priestly ordination this month.
Father Herbert Burke, pastor of Immaculate Conception Church in Forest City, is celebrating his 20th anniversary. He was ordained June 6, 1992, at St. Matthew Cathedral in Washington, D.C., by the late Cardinal James Hickey.
Shortly after Father Burke's ordination his father passed away and his mother was diagnosed with cancer. Father Burke took some time off to care for her in North Carolina. Bishop Emeritus William G. Curlin, the auxiliary bishop in Washington at that time, arranged for him to incardinate into the Diocese of Charlotte.
"I have been very happy to be in this diocese since I am much more of an outdoorsman than a big-city type, and I spent my summers here as a boy on my grandparents' farm," Father Burke notes.
Father Burke spent the first half of his priesthood (1992-2001) as an associate pastor in several different parishes, and the second half of his priesthood (2001-2012) as pastor of Immaculate Conception Church in Forest City.
"I had five different pastors I served under, and I learned something from each one," he says.
Father Burke enjoys leading people to Christ in the Eucharist, especially through teaching people about Eucharistic Adoration, the Rosary and apologetics.
The biggest lesson he has learned over the past 20 years? "The primary support for a priest is Eucharistic Adoration, the Holy Rosary, his family and his priest friends."
His advice to a man discerning a vocation to the priesthood is to "spend time in Eucharistic Adoration, praying the Holy Rosary and spiritual reading. Ask God to help guide you in your discernment. This will help you in any of the three vocations you may be called to: religious life, marriage or the single life."
Father Larry LoMonaco, pastor of St. John the Evangelist in Waynesville, celebrated his 10th ordination anniversary on June 1. He was ordained by Bishop Curlin at St. Patrick Cathedral in Charlotte in 2002.
"I was the last priest ordained by Bishop Curlin while he was still the bishop of the Diocese of Charlotte, and he said that I was the 100th priest that he had ordained!" Father LoMonaco says.
Since his ordination, Father LoMonaco has served as parochial vicar at St. Leo the Great Church, St. Patrick Cathedral and St. Gabriel Church. He has been the pastor at St. John the Evangelist Church and Immaculate Conception Mission for the past five years.
"I enjoy serving God as a full-time vocation, engaging in a variety of challenging ministries, and spending time discussing Scripture with families and small groups. Serving God is never easy because it requires me to take up my cross every day, but it is well worth every ounce of effort. When I pray for the grace, the courage and the wisdom to do God's will, He has never let me down."
He offers advice to men discerning a call to the priesthood, saying, "You have to pray every day because that is the key to a healthy vocation. You also have to take care of yourself physically, emotionally and spiritually in order to be able to meet the constant demands of priestly ministry. The priesthood will challenge you more than you thought possible, but the rewards will exceed your wildest dreams!"
Father LoMonaco celebrated Mass on June 3 at St. John the Evangelist Church in Waynesville with a special reception in the fellowship hall afterwards to mark his anniversary.
Another priest celebrating a special ordination anniversary this month – 60 years – is Father Joseph Elzi, CM, a priest in residence at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in Charlotte.
— SueAnn Howell, staff writer
Priests in the Diocese of Charlotte celebrating major anniversaries this year are:
Father Lawrence LoMonaco
Father Herbert Burke
Father Andrew Latsko (retired)
Father John Putnam, JCL, JV, VF
Father Raymond Hourihan (retired)
Father Bernard Manley (retired)
Father Roger K. Arnsparger, diocesan Vicar of Education
Father Carlo Di Natale Tarasi
Abbot Oscar Burnett, OSB
Bishop Emeritus William Curlin (retired)
Father Joseph Kerin (retired)
Father Joseph Elzi, CM
Monsignor Anthony Kovacic (retired)
FROM THE PASTORS
Read and listen to homilies posted regularly by pastors at parishes within the Diocese of Charlotte:
- Fr. Frank Cancro at Queen of the Apostles
- Fr. Patrick Earl at St. Peter in Charlotte
- Fr. John Eckert at St. John the Baptist in Tryon
- Fr. Timothy Reid at St. Ann in Charlotte
- Fr. Benjamin Roberts at Our Lady of Lourdes in Monroe
- Fr. Patrick Winslow at St. Thomas Aquinas in Charlotte
- Watch full Masses live and on demand, listen to homilies and reflections from Sacred Heart Church in Salisbury
- Listen to homilies from St. William Catholic Church in Murphy