June 11, 2011
Rev. DeLorme retiring after 53 years
Bob Ellis/staff photographer
The Rev. R. Daniel DeLorme, pastor of St. Margaret’s Church in Homer, is retiring after 35 years at the church.
The Rev. R. Daniel DeLorme, a Catholic priest for over half a century, said he wondered whether he was doing the right thing by retiring.
“Within a few weeks, I knew I had done the right thing,” he said. “That’s a lot of years. I have served as a priest 53 years.”
And 35 of them have been at St. Margaret’s Church in Homer.
“It’s lovely. It is. I really love what I do,” said DeLorme, 81. “It’s a wonderful place, wonderful place. People are so cooperative and friendly, God loving people. A very, very special community. That’s why, indeed, I wanted to stay here so long.”
DeLorme’s final day will be June 30 at the 14 Copeland Ave., Homer, church.
People can celebrate DeLorme’s years at the church at two possible receptions in the church hall, either at 5 p.m. June 25 or 10 a.m. June 26. All are welcome.
“I am going to reside at Nottingham Residence in Jamesville,” he said. The Rev. Paul Asciata, who has been serving in Utica, will replace DeLorme.
“I think when I was ordained that it was more of a hierarchical society I was in. Now I think of it more as a collegial society. And in a healthy way, I have learned to rely on the help of co-workers much more than I did early on ... We’re doing things here, not in a unique way but a different way. We are a team here. I always work as a team and have for the last 10 to 11 years.”
DeLorme said he could have retired about 11 years ago, but asked Bishop James Moynihan if he could stay, but work with several others as a team, to fulfill administrative responsibilities. The bishop agreed. “We share responsibilities collegially,” he said.
The other members of the pastoral team are Lana Riley and Michael Martocchio. DeLorme said his role has been to help people to know and love the Lord, to serve him and serve God’s people.
“You do it by teaching, witnessing, helping the sick and infirm, instructing children and supporting lay people in their vocations and I guess I would say, especially parents,” he said.
His favorite role has been presiding over liturgy (mass) with people that love the ceremony. He said a good pastor is: “Someone who loves the Lord, meaning Jesus Christ, OK, and wants to assist people to know the Lord and to follow him. And I guess I don’t want to be self serving about this. You have to be friendly and gracious.”
Those are qualities he’s strived for: “And I am sorry for times that I have not been,” he said.
St. Margaret’s Church parishioners have been worshipping in Homer since Aug. 23, 1908. They had a temporary altar set up in Sherman Hall (a building since torn down that was located on the corner of Cayuga and Main streets), with Rev. Patrick Donohue until their new church was built in 1909, at the site of Cortland Street and Copeland Avenue. A major renovation took place in the ‘70s and then again in the ‘90s and the parish is now completing a $430,000 fundraising drive for another major refurbishment.
“We are doing well. We are half way through,” DeLorme said. “We’re doing a lot of things: brand new windows, brand new boiler, redoing the parking lot, putting a new roof on the church, recarpeting the whole area. The only thing major we have left to do is install stained glass windows. If it is approved by the people. I don’t want (it to sound like) that’s a given. That would cost another $80,000 if we do that.”
Some of the projects have been completed already, DeLorme said.
“This facility is wonderful. It’s kind of brought everything together in one place,” he said.
He remembers when the church used to use a house located near the middle school for religious education. Now, all of its activities take place at the spacious St. Margaret’s.
DeLorme said the church has 400 families as members and between 300 and 400 who come to church. He estimates the same number of people attend as when he started, though he notices less children in Sunday School classes.
“We struggle, but we’re moving on.”
“When I was young, I wanted to serve people as a teacher and as a person who wants to do whatever I can,” he said of his reason for being a priest. “I wanted to help people to be better people, I guess, and in the process, try to become better myself. It seemed to be a calling that I received, nothing mysterious. I did go to seminary for nine years. I did have time to discover this route.”
“I think that life should be fun,” DeLorme said. “And life following the Lord should be fun. If I were to characterize two things I like the best about the Lord — that he wanted to free people. And he wanted to exercise hospitality to people. I learned that. I couldn’t have told you that some years ago. He never (wanted) to shun people. He just wanted to make people better and help people, and that’s an awesome task for someone to do.”
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