Bishop ordains his first two new priests

Close to 300 family, friends, clergy and others today witnessed the ordination of two area men as priests in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany.

The ceremony was held at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Albany with Bishop Edward B. Scharfenberger officiating at his first such ceremony since he became Bishop of Albany earlier this year.

Taking on their new responsibilities as priests in the Roman Catholic Church were James David , 60, of Edinburg in Saratoga County, and Brian Slezak, 30, of Rotterdam Junction.

In his homily Bishop Scharfenberger said the call to be a priest “comes from God,” explaining that all those who have supported these men in this path played a major role. He said, “Their vocations were nurtured by you.” He added later, “You’re the voice of God’s spirit.”

James Davis, 60, retired from teaching special education at a junior high school in Harlem about four years ago, and resides at his family’s home in Edinburg, Saratoga County, where his father had retired to some years ago. It was shortly thereafter that he entered the seminary, responding to a calling that perhaps had its roots going back almost 30 years when he helped bring a student of his out of a life-threatening coma, and then shortly thereafter participated in the then 12-year old boy’s First Holy Communion – a fascinating story. “The boy’s mother thought I would make a good priest,” he said.

Celebrating with him on Saturday will be his father James J. Davis Jr. [he will turn 89 this Saturday coincidental to the ordination], now of Springfield, FL, and his wife Janet (he is widowed from his first wife, Imelda, who died many years ago), brothers Bob of Vienna, VA;, Brian of Medina, OH;, sister Mary of Warwick, NY; their spouses and other family members.

Brian Slezak, 30, is a parishioner at St. Margaret of Cortona in Rotterdam Junction, a graduate of Bishop Gibbons High School, and the College of St. Rose, and has graduated from University of St. Mary of the Lake/Mundelein Seminary in Chicago. As a political science major, it was in his senior year that he began his discernment to enter the clergy. “I was influenced by the example of good and holy priests. Their love for the priesthood and love for Christ really inspired me to consider it,” he said. His parents Kenneth and Kathleen Slezak of Rotterdam Junction, along with his brother Joseph of Amsterdam, sister Margaret of Boston, their spouses and other family members art expected to be on hand to celebrate this Saturday.

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