A priest and a permanent deacon with ties to the local Hispanic community are marking the anniversaries of their ordinations this year.
Nearly a quarter century ago, Father Robert Kreckel began serving migrant farmworkers while he was pastor of St. Mary of the Lake in Ontario.
He said the work was a continuation of his connection to other cultures that began at Rochester’s Immaculate Conception Parish, where he served the African-American community as a priest from 1960-73.
"Every culture has its values and its history," said Father Kreckel, 86, who is celebrating 60 years as a priest. "For me, working with different cultures is an eye-opening experience and has been a real growth experience."
Originally a parishioner of St. Boniface in Rochester, Father Kreckel attended St. Andrew’s and St. Bernard’s seminaries in Rochester and was ordained June 5, 1954, by Bishop James E. Kearney at Sacred Heart Cathedral.
He was assistant pastor at St. Alphonsus, Auburn (1954-60); and assistant pastor of Immaculate Conception, Rochester (1960-66), then pastor of that parish (1966-73). Father Kreckel then became founding pastor of Fairport’s Church of the Resurrection in 1973. In 1985 he began his 18-year pastorate in Ontario.
Retirement a decade ago from St. Mary has not slowed him, as he also assists with celebrating Mass and hearing confessions at St. Joseph, Penfield. He also says Mass at the Sisters of Mercy Motherhouse. Most recently, he participated in a "Residents Encounter Christ" at Attica prison.
He also celebrates Mass monthly for the migrant community at Our Lady of Guadalupe Mission at St. Gregory Church in Marion. And he also teaches English as a second language at St. Joseph, where he resides.
Deacon Daniel Hurley had originally considered entering the priesthood when he was in high school.
"But I also felt a strong pull toward husband and fatherhood and that sort of stuff," said Deacon Hurley, 59, who is celebrating 25 years as a permanent deacon. "So, I put the priesthood on the back burner, but the whole idea of ministry never left me."
Years later, the possibility of becoming a deacon was raised by friends in Rochester and Elmira. Deacon Hurley, a Rochester native, said he prayed upon it. But, he still wasn’t sure if the timing was right.
When Bishop Matthew H. Clark offered him the option of entering the second class of deacons, he knew he had finally found his calling. He was ordained by Bishop Clark on June 3, 1989, at Sacred Heart Cathedral.
Deacon Hurley has served at several parishes and schools around the diocese, including Our Lady of the Angels in Rochester, Immaculate Conception School in Ithaca, Cornell University’s campus ministry, Schuyler County Catholic Community, St. Mary Our Mother church and school in Horseheads, and Notre Dame High School in Elmira, where he also worked as a principal.
Currently, he serves at All Saints Parish in Corning, where he coordinates baptism preparation and assists with healing Masses and liturgy, Deacon Hurley said. He also teaches theology at Notre Dame, where he began his teaching career.
He earned a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in Spanish from St. Bonaventure University and SUNY Binghamton, respectively. He earned another master’s degree in theology from St. Bernard’s Institute.
Deacon Hurley and his wife have three children and one grandchild.