Answering The Call
Ordained into Priesthood
FATHER ROBERT CONTARIN
Home parish: St. Amelia, Tonawanda
Former occupation: Worked at Leonardi’s Pizzeria, family business
Vocation story: The priesthood crossed his mind once or twice while attending St. Amelia School and St. Joseph’s Collegiate Institute. “My grandfather helped cultivate a love for the Blessed Mother and Jesus. I always kept that with me during the ups and downs in life.” After losing people close to him at age 22, he found himself inside Churches for funerals. He had plans of being a Religious Studies professor, but the feeling of being called would not go away.
Favorite Class in Seminary: Synoptic gospels and public speaking
Goals for ministry: “To help anyone I can cultivate a relationship with Jesus and know that He is the one who leads you to true peace and happiness.”
Proudest moment as a Transitional Deacon: Speaking at a Mission and helping people at St. John Paul II, Lake View.
What are you most looking forward to doing as a priest: “Meeting people where they are and help them fall deeper in love with Christ.”
Motivating quote: “Pray, hope and don’t worry, because worry is useless. Jesus will take care of everything,” from Padre Pio.
Recommendations for furthering ones’ spirituality: “Visiting a church and sitting in front of the Blessed Sacrament. All it takes is 10 minutes of quiet prayer.”
Article and Picture from WNY Catholic May 31, 2019
Deacon Christopher Emminger, who was raised in the Ken-Ton area with his brother and sister, graduated from St. Joseph’s Collegiate Institute, Kenmore, and earned a bachelor of science degree in criminal justice from Buffalo State College. He worked for the Town of Tonawanda after receiving his degree. Some alone time on the job gave him the opportunity to think about “… what I am really called to do with my life.” He recalled how his father first brought up the idea of priesthood to him in 2010 after promptings from his mother.
Article from WNY Catholic
On Saturday, May 25th, Deacon Denning Achidi was ordained as a Transitional Deacon of the Diocese of Buffalo, at St. Joseph’s Cathedral. Bishop Richard Malone has assigned Rev. Mr. Achidi to St. Amelia Parish, so as of June 1, 2019, he will be working with Fr. Sibby and Fr. Peter, until he is ordained as a priest on June 6, 2020.
It has been a long journey for Rev. Mr. Achidi, coming from Bamenda, Cameroon to Western NY, but his strong faith has seen him through all the obstacles and difficulties of making the transition to this country and to his vocation.
His hometown of Bamenda, Cameroon was much more westernized than village life in that country, where tradition and tribal lore still have a strong hold on the population. He was originally baptized as a Presbyterian, but soon discovered the Catholic faith when he attended a private school in Bamenda. He recalls a powerful attraction to Catholic prayer life, especially saying the rosary. As he grew up, he switched to a public school and became a Catholic, and began training to become an altar server. Early during this phase, the idea of entering the priesthood first occurred to him, and it became a goal forever after in his life. He went to a High School Seminary, which is a kind of pre-Seminary for people considering the clergy, and became convinced that this was his calling. At that time, his family moved to Washington, DC, and he had the chance to worship at the National Shrine in Washington. He continued his studies here, and was accepted at Christ the King Seminary in 2016, where he studied Philosophy and Theology. He was assigned to Bemus Point for his Apostolic work in that same year, and ministered to the local community.
For the period from September 2019 to May of 2020, Transitional Deacon Achidi will travel back and forth from Christ the King Seminary to St. Amelia two weekends a month, and will participate in the parish weekend liturgies, as well as the ministerial life of the parish. When not involved with matters of faith, Rev. Mr. Achidi enjoys reading, playing basketball and tennis, watching movies, and taking thoughtful walks. He is very much looking forward to experiencing life at St. Amelia’s parish, and to knowing all the people here. As he says, “I am very humbled about becoming a servant of the Church, and I feel something like Mother Mary must have felt, being a lowly person elevated to a great purpose. Fr. Sibby and Fr. Peter have been very warm and welcoming to me, and I am really looking forward to serving the people of St. Amelia parish in the best way that I can.”
Article and Picture from Ameliorator June-July-August 2019 Edition