A quick look back at 2016

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JOHN FRANKO
Staff Writer

JANUARY

All Saints Parish in Etna marks its 100th anniversary ... Father Robert Reardon, a priest of the diocese for 56 years, dies at age 82 ... Father Warren Metzler, longtime pastor of St. James Parish in Wilkinsburg, dies at age 78 ... Several groups from the diocese, including St. Patrick in Canonsburg and Our Lady of the Sacred Heart High School, brave blizzard conditions to attend the 43rd annual March for Life in Washington, D.C. ... Bishop David Zubik issues a decree to close St. John Vianney Parish and its church building in April.

FEBRUARY

Five Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic High School students are named winners in a national contest to design new mobile phone applications ... Several dozen participants brave temperatures hovering around 10 degrees for a LoveWalk for the Poor on the grounds of the Felician sisters in Moon Township ... More than 500 catechumens and candidates take part in two rite of election ceremonies at St. Paul Cathedral in Pittsburgh’s Oakland neighborhood ... Bishop Zubik leads hundreds of youths and young adults through the Holy Door of Mercy at St. Paul Cathedral ... Bishop Zubik commissions more than 60 college students who will spend their spring breaks serving others ... The Bishop Canevin High School girls win the Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic League Class A basketball title with a 53-33 win over Greensburg Central Catholic, and the Vincentian Academy girls capture the Class A title with a 68-54 win over Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic. The Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic boys capture the Class A title with a 50-36 win over Sewickley Academy.

MARCH

Pope Francis names Archbishop Bernard Hebda, coadjutor bishop of Newark, New Jersey, and a native son of the Diocese of Pittsburgh, to head the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis ... Bishop Zubik appears in the final number on opening night of “Sister Act” at the Byham Theater. Nathan Sudie, a member of his office staff, is also among the cast ... The bishop leads a special Service of Apology at St. Paul Cathedral ... The diocese observes the Easter triduum with a variety of services ... Bishop Zubik is on hand for the dedication of Auberle’s Youth Zone in Downtown Pittsburgh ... The U.S. Supreme Court hears oral arguments in the Zubik v. Burwell case. Bishop Zubik was on hand for the hearing ... A diocesan pilgrimage, led by Bishop Zubik, departs for the Holy Land.

APRIL

Bishop Zubik announces a reshaping of the diocesan General Secretariat ... Father Michael Polak, a priest of the diocese for 58 years, dies at age 83 ... With the recent purchase of the Ark and Dove Retreat Center, the Ark and Dove Inc. hopes to make the site of the 1967 founding of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal movement a rallying point for CCR members worldwide ... The 2016 diocesan Conference for Catholic Women welcomes 750 participants ... Dr. Robert Paserba, retired diocesan secretary for Catholic education, is honored with the Abraham Joshua Heschel Award from the Pittsburgh Area Jewish Committee ... Father William Bovard, founding pastor of St. John Neumann Parish in Franklin Park, dies at age 78 ... McGuire Memorial receives a $4 million gift from Robert and Patricia Pietrandrea ... The Knights of Columbus once again demonstrate their love for St. Anthony School Programs and McGuire Memorial Home with a contribution of $167,000 as part of its 57th Bishop of Pittsburgh Project for Exceptional Children ... The Quigley Catholic High School mock trial team wins the state title.

MAY

St. Paul Seminary in Crafton marks its 50th aniversary ... St. Joseph Parish in Verona celebrates its 150th anniversary ... The U.S. Supreme Court sends the Zubik v. Burwell case, which raises a religious liberty challenge to the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive requirement for employers, back to the lower courts ... Catholic Charities of Pittsburgh presents its Caritas Awards to Mark and Carole Shepherd, St. John Neumann Parish in Franklin Park, the Massaro family, Sacred Heart Parish in Pittsburgh’s Shadyside neighborhood and the Little Sisters of the Poor at its 34th Annual Bishop’s Dinner ... The Ark and the Dove Retreat Center officially opens ... The Diocese of Pittsburgh recognizes 12 outstanding Catholic youths with the St. Timothy Award ... Father Joseph Swierczynski, a priest of the diocese for 52 years and pastor of Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish in Pittsburgh’s Polish Hill neighborhood for 21 years, dies at age 78 ... Dr. Ronald Bowes receives the Paul M. Henkels Award from the REACH Foundation ... Eight educators are honored with the Golden Apple Award.

JUNE

Bishop Zubik announces changes that will affect 10 parishes ... Three men — Jack Demnyan, Adam Potter and Anthony Sciarappa — are ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Zubik at St. Paul Cathedral. During the ceremony, Benjamin Barr, Daniel Waruszewski and David Green are ordained transitional deacons.

JULY

Bishop Zubik delivers the homily at the nationally televised Fortnight for Freedom closing Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. ... A delegation of 36 in two mission teams travel to the diocesan mission in Chimbote, Peru ... Bishop Zubik calls for a new class of permanent deacons ... The bishop celebrates a send-off Mass for pilgrims who will join him at World Youth Day in Krakow, Poland ... Father Henry Szarnicki, a priest of the diocese for 61 years, dies at age 88 ... Father Nicholas Vaskov is appointed to the new position of executive director of communications for the diocese ... Patricia Kammersell, Lori Kusluch, Ellen Mady, Mary Ann Mason, Mary Ann Moser, Dr. Greta Stokes Tucker and Dr. Edward Scheid are named staff members in the new Secretariat for Parish Services ... The Vatican’s highest court upholds Bishop Zubik’s decision to close the St. Anthony Church building in Monongahela.

AUGUST

The 35th Annual Conference of the American Chesterton Society is held at Slippery Rock University ... The Bishop’s Latin School Alumni Association honors Father Joseph Mele, Frank Balestrieri and Joseph Duckett at its annual dinner ... Father Stephen Chervenak, a priest of the diocese for 56 years, dies at age 82 ... Father Joseph Laboon, a priest for 59 years and a native son of the diocese, dies at age 85 ... Father Lawrence DiNardo receives the Good Shepherd Award at the Serra Club of Pittsburgh’s 67th annual reception and dinner. The evening also recognizes the three new priests of the diocese: Fathers Demnyan, Potter and Sciarappa.

SEPTEMBER

Olympic gold medalist Amanda Polk pays a visit to her alma mater Oakland Catholic High School ... Bishop Zubik dedicates the Zupancic Family STEM Center at Central Catholic High School ... Father Eugene Dougherty, a priest of the diocese for 63 years, dies at age 88 ... Bishop Zubik blesses the new St. Kilian Church in Adams/Cranberry townships ... Bishop Zubik commissions more than 1,000 volunteers supporting the On Mission for The Church Alive! planning initiative ... Bishop Zubik recognizes lay ecclesial ministers during a rite of diocesan commissioning and authorization ... Ken Gormley is inaugurated as the 13th president of Duquesne University ... Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Burgettstown marks its 100th anniversary.

OCTOBER

Hundreds of the faithful join Bishop Zubik at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington for a diocesan pilgrimage ... The consultation process for the diocesan-wide On Mission for The Church Alive! begins in local districts and parishes ... Bishop Zubik leads pilgrims from Pittsburgh on a trip to Italy ... St. Patrick Parish in North Fayette Township/Oakdale observes its 150th anniversary with a Mass celebrated by Bishop Zubik ... St. Anthony School Programs honors Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston at its annual dinner, but he is unable to attend due to a death in his family ... More than 500 people attend the 51st Annual Peru Mission Dinner at the Sheraton Station Square Hotel.

NOVEMBER

Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, a native son of the diocese, is elected president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops ... Hundreds gather for the New Evangelization for the New Millennium Conference III in Monroeville ... On behalf of the diocese, Bishop Zubik offers his prayers for President-elect Donald Trump ... The bishop officiates at a Mass closing the Holy Door at St. Paul Cathedral ... Some 800 gather at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center for the 11th Annual Gathering of Catholic Men, sponsored by Catholic Men’s Fellowship of Pittsburgh ... St. Peter Parish on Pittsburgh’s North Side commemorates the 130th anniversary of the devastating fire that destroyed its church ... Marchers take part in the LoveWalk for the Poor in Pittsburgh’s East End ... Deacon James Mickens dies at the age of 66.

DECEMBER

Bishop Zubik approves a proposal for five parishes in southeastern Washington County to merge and form a new one — St. Katharine Drexel ... Pope Francis names Bishop Edward Burns of Juneau, Alaska, a native of Pittsburgh, to be bishop of Dallas ... Father John O’Toole, a priest of the diocese for 49 years, dies at age 81.