Priests of the Archdiocese of Louisville gathered May 17 at the Cathedral of the Assumption to honor 11 fellow priests celebrating jubilees.
The annual liturgy, celebrated by Archbishop Shelton J. Fabre and concelebrated by the jubilarians, honored priests marking 25th, 50th and 60th anniversaries of ordination.
Father Jeffrey P. Leger, celebrating his 25th anniversary as a priest, delivered the homily. Father Leger, who serves as pastor of Guardian Angels Church, was ordained May 24, 1997.
In his homily, he drew the congregation’s attention to the first reading from the Acts of the Apostles, where St. Paul tells Jesus’ disciples that they must undergo many hardships in order to enter the Kingdom of God.
Father Leger said priests face many hardships in their work.
“Any of us who have some experience know there are hardships working in the vineyard. … Yet we are called to have confidence in Christ who says, ‘Do not let your hearts be troubled,’ ” said Father Leger.
“It’s important for us to be willing to do that for the faithful, to not let our hearts be troubled, especially when we see a world that is becoming seemingly more and more evil. … It’s incumbent upon us to draw others to Christ.”
In times of hardship, he said, the Book of Job has been helpful. As Job laments all that’s happened in his life, he realizes that he was able to walk through the darkness with the “light of God.”
“We must be able to do that, to walk through the darkness so that others may see that it’s not you and I who draw all to ourselves, but we are to draw all to Christ Jesus, the light of the world,” said Father Leger.
Reflecting on his 25 years as a priest, Father Leger said there have been many priests who helped him and showed him “the path of light.”
“Many showed us Christ when the world told us to turn away from Christ and to find our own way,” he said.
Father Leger said to his fellow priests that despite dealing with the hardships that it’s up to them to lead the faithful to Christ.
“Whenever we find ourselves engrossed in the darkness of the world or confronting the reality of our own failures and sinfulness, we should recognize that it’s up to us to make certain people know Christ in a world that’s rejecting him more and more,” he said. “If we lose touch with Christ we cannot help the faithful through all the darkness of the world.”
Father Leger served as pastor of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Campbellsville, Our Lady of the Hills in Finley and Holy Redeemer Church in Greensburg. He also served as pastor of Our Lady of Fatima Church in Phillipsburg, St. Catherine Church in New Haven, Immaculate Conception in Culvertown and St. Vincent de Paul in New Hope. He also served as co-chaplain at Assumption High School.
The other jubilarians are:
Father Thomas R. Clark was ordained May 26, 1962. Father Clark was pastor of St. Benedict Church, St. Timothy Church, St. Monica Church in Bardstown, St. Bernard Church in Clementsville and Sacred Heart Church in Liberty. He was also pastor of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church in Campbellsville, Our Lady of the Hills Church in Finley and Our Lady of Fatima Church in Phillipsburg.
Father Clark also served as a chaplain for the Knights of Columbus, Blessed Mother Council; Central State Hospital; and the University of Louisville Hospital. He retired in 2006.
Archbishop Emeritus Joseph E. Kurtz was ordained March 18, 1972, as a priest for the Diocese of Allentown, Pa., where he served as a priest for close to three decades. He retired as the fourth Archbishop of Louisville in February after leading the archdiocese since 2007. He was appointed Bishop of Knoxville, Tenn., in 1999.
Archbishop Emeritus Kurtz served as president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops from 2013 to 2016. In the Diocese of Allentown, he ministered in social services as the director of Catholic Charities and as executive director of the Catholic Social Agency and Family Life Bureau.
Father Bernard J. Breen was ordained May 27, 1972. He was pastor of St. Margaret Mary Church, St. Leonard Church and St. Frances of Rome Church.
He also served as vicar general of the Archdiocese of Louisville from 1990 to 2008 and as vice-chancellor and chancellor of the archdiocese. Father Breen retired in 2017.
Father John R. Burke was ordained May 27, 1972. Father Burke served as pastor of St. Dennis Church, Christ the King Church, St. Cecilia Church, Our Lady Church and Good Shepherd Church. He also served as pastor of St. Peter Church in Monticello and Good Shepherd Chapel in Whitley City. Father Burke served as sacramental moderator of St. William Church.
He served as chaplain of Holy Rosary Academy and Assumption High School. Father Burke retired in 2017 and currently serves as administrator pro-tempore at St. Joseph Church.
Father Ronald J. Domhoff was ordained May 27, 1972. He served as pastor of Our Lady of Consolation Church and St. Peter the Apostle Church. He served as associate pastor of St. Frances of Rome Church.
Father Domhoff also taught at Trinity High School. He retired in 2016.
Father James W. Graf was ordained May 27, 1972. He served as pastor of St. Monica Church and St. Thomas Church, both in Bardstown. He served as sacramental moderator of Epiphany Church, St. Francis Xavier Church in Raywick, St. Francis of Assisi Church in St. Francis and Holy Rosary Church in Springfield. Father Graf also served as administrator of St. Francis Xavier in Raywick, St. Vincent de Paul Church in New Hope, Christ the Healer Church in Edmonton, Christ the King Church in Tompkinsville and St. Charles Church in St. Mary.
He ministered as a counselor at the Center for Family Ministries in Bardstown and as a chaplain at Central State Hospital and a co-chaplain at St. Xavier High School. Father Graf retired in 2016.
Franciscan Father Donald P. Halpin professed final vows as a Conventual Franciscan July 26, 1965 and was ordained July 29, 1972. Father Halpin served for 12 years as a missionary in Zambia in East Africa. He taught at St. Bonaventure College and served as director of a house of prayer at the college in Lusaka, Zambia. Father Halpin currently resides at St. Francis Friary at Incarnation Church. He leads retreats and missions.
Father Joseph Wayne Jenkins was ordained May 27, 1972. Father Jenkins served as pastor of St. Denis Church, St. Barnabas Church and St. Albert the Great Church. He also served as pastor of St. Catharine Church in New Haven. He served on the Priests’ Council from 2017 to 2020. Father Jenkins also served as chaplain at Central State Hospital, the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth campus in Nazareth and at Sacred Heart Academy. He served as director of the Clergy Personnel Office. He also served on the Diaconate Personnel Board.
Father William M. Bowling was ordained May 24, 1997. Father Bowling served as pastor of the Church of the Annunciation in Shelbyville, St. John Chrysostom Church in Eminence, St. Augustine Church in Lebanon and Holy Name of Mary Church in Calvary.
He has served as pastor of Holy Trinity and Holy Name churches since 2018. He was recently appointed pastor of Holy Name and St. Martin de Porres churches to take effect on June 22. Father Bowling serves on the Priests’ Council. He served as co-coordinator of Hispanic Ministry and as director of the Vocation Office.
Father of Mercy Ben Cameron joined the Fathers of Mercy in 1992 and was ordained May 31, 1997. Father Cameron served as pastor of St. Helen Church in Glasgow and Our Lady of the Caves Church in Horse Cave.
He also served the Fathers of Mercy as vocation director, treasurer, mission director and assistant general. He currently ministers as a parish mission preacher and retreat master.
He serves as the spiritual director of the Confraternity of Our Lady of Mercy, which ministers to women and men affected by abortion.