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Msgr. Lorenzetti celebrates 100 years of a full rich life

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Msgr. Dino Lorenzetti (left), with Father Michael Parker, pastor of St. John the Baptist Parish in Kenmore, prepares for Communion. He explained that after accepting the Eucharist, Catholics become living tabernacles. The July 18 Mass became a 100th birthday celebration for Msgr. Lorenzetti. Photo by Patrick J. Buechi

(Part 1 of 2)

Every month or so, a couple of ladies from St. Martha Parish treat Msgr. Dino Lorenzetti to breakfast. Along with his jokes, they get to absorb some of the rich history that comes from being a century old.

“He’s a delight to be around because he loves life and truly loves people,” said Charlene Mahony, a parish trustee at the Depew church. “If we have a question about something that is going on in the world or in the Church, it is always very interesting to listen to his feedback and what his thoughts are on whatever the situation may be. He gives a good response and a helpful response based on his experience and worldly view.”

“He’s very worldly,” added Laurie Koerner, youth minister at St. Martha’s.

Msgr. Lorenzetti celebrates his 100th birthday on July 23. Already several parties have been planned by the many people who have been moved by the priest and his gentle caring nature.

Msgr. Dino Lorenzetti celebrates Mass at St. John the Baptist in Kenmore on July 18. The Mass kicked off a series of events commemorating Msgr. Lorenzetti’s 100th birthday. Photo by Patrick J. Buechi

To get an idea of what he has experienced consider this: in 1921, Warren Harding was president. Charlie Chaplain was at the theater. The Great Depression was ending. Insulin was being discovered. Msgr. Lorenzetti is one of the few people to live during the papacies of Pope Benedict XV and XVI.

Not only were history-making events taking place around Msgr. Lorenzetti, he participated. The son of Italian immigrants was born and raised in Buffalo. A stint in the Army Air Corps sent him to Africa and Italy during World War II, where he served as a stenographer with the 312 Depot Repair Squadron.

After the war, he made the easy decision to join the priesthood.

“When I came out of the service I wanted to be like those great guys that I knew who were priests. It was the prayers of the people who prayed for me. I attended Mass daily and was very attracted to it. I think the priesthood is the greatest vocation that any man would want to achieve. So, that’s what I wanted to be,” he said. Specifically, he wanted to be to celebrate Mass, offer the sacrament of reconciliation, and inspire young people to be the best that they could possibly be.

He was ordained May 31, 1953, by Bishop Joseph Burke, the ninth bishop of Buffalo. He would go on to serve under seven bishops, with assignments in several parishes – St. Mark’s in Rushford, Holy Cross, Our Lady of Lourdes, St. Mary of Sorrows, and St. Louis, all in Buffalo, and Christ the King in Snyder. He returned to Holy Cross as pastor in 1968. In 1977, he began his 20 years at Our Lady of the Sacred Heart in Orchard Park. He also directed the Department of Family Life for close to 20 years.

In 1996, Msgr. Lorenzetti retired on his 75th birthday. 

During his long life he has experienced good times and bad. The Hillery Foundation named him Man of the Year in 1987 and the Buffalo Naval & Military Park added his name to their Wall of Fame in 2017. He has also received a diocesan Holy Name Society citation and the Curé of Ars Award, which pays tribute to individuals, groups and organizations which best exemplify St. John Vianney’s character and qualities of Christian dedication, compassion, self-giving and humble service.

Part 2: https://wnycatholic.org/2021/07/23/msgr-lorenzetti-never-let-the-bad-times-get-the-best-of-him/

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