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"Hope for the Future," a talk with Buffalo's young priests

Young priests share why they're hopeful for the future
Posted at 11:40 PM, Oct 24, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-24 23:40:31-04

AMHERST, N.Y. (WKBW) — Three Buffalo priests in their thirties share their hope for the future in a turbulent time for the Buffalo Catholic Diocese. The talk took place at St. Leo the Great Church in Amherst on Thursday night.

Monsignor Robert E. Zapfel is the Pastor at the church where the talk was held. He said the three young men's newly ordained perspectives need to be heard.

"They bring a special unique perspective in a difficult time in our church and in our diocese that they're willing to commit themselves for the rest of their lives as servants of the lord as priests," Zapfel said.

While each took different paths to priesthood, they share the same message. All said that even in tough times people need to trust their faith.

"Young people are the present lets admit to that," said Rev. Peter Santandreau of St. Amelia Church in Tonawanda. "But really all of us too who are the present, we can be those people. I think we're all called to at least journey into that somewhat more. We're all called to be a little bit better."

The other priests echoed that hope for the future rests in the pews not on the pulpit.

Rev. Mr. Denning Achidi, of Christ the King Seminary in East Aurora, said that growing up in Cameroon he was unfamiliar with some of the Catholic Church's past and was shocked to learn about it.

"I was being interviewed once by a vocation director, after going through a list of questions he said 'Denning I'm sorry I have to ask you this question, are you attracted to kids,'" said Achidi.

Achidi said his sense of calling is why he pushes forward, and remains hopeful for the future.

Zapfel said this was not the first time the church did a talk like this.

"A lot of the programs that we've done at St. Leo's in the last year and a half have been about hope," he said. "Sometimes people get discouraged because of what they read in the paper, or sometimes discouragement comes from their own personal suffering, sometimes it's because of the state of the world."

There will likely be another talk similar to this one at St. Leo the Great church in six months, also centered around the theme of hope.