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Catholic Life

Father Biernat, Rick Heist and Pratts to be honored at Curé of Ars

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Father Leon Biernat

The Curé of Ars Award honors those whose lives reflect the qualities of Christian dedication and service that marked the lives of St. John Vianney. The award is presented annually to individuals and organizations committed to healing those in need of God’s reconciling love, a willingness to contribute their gifts towards pastoral care – especially for the needy and poor – and a commitment to our Church as a primary instrument for the divine-human encounter.

This year’s honorees are Father Leon Biernat, Richard Heist and Michael & Maureen Pratt.

Father Leon Biernat, pastor at St. Gregory the Great Parish in Williamsville, has selflessly served the Diocese of Buffalo in a variety of capacities since his ordination in 1992. The main focus of his ministry has been working with youth. Bishop Henry J. Mansell, recognized his joyful enthusiasm and appointed him as the director of Vocations in 1999. In this capacity, he established the St. Joseph Club for high school men to discern a call to the priesthood and to bring about awareness of priestly vocations. Father Leon remains a passionate advocate for the priesthood to this day.

Rick Heist

Rick Heist is being recognized for his endless support of vocations within our Diocese. One of the many examples of his leadership is through his role as treasurer of the Catholic Seminary Alumni Association, formed to support educational programs and advancement of religious objectives of our Formation programs and to foster fellowship and mutual support among the association’s members. Rick has also served at tournament chair of the golf tournament for many years and has advocated for our lay, seminarian and diaconate programs since the closure of Christ the King Seminary.

Mike and Maureen Pratt

Mike and Maureen Pratt are long time supporters of the Foundation as well as the former Christ the King Seminary. Mike was instrumental in his role as seminary board member, in planning the next steps for vocations after the seminary’s closure. Together Mike and Maureen serve as Bishop’s Council of the Laity.

The Curé of Ars Dinner supports the formation of men discerning the priesthood. This year’s dinner will be held Thursday, Sept. 30 at the Atrium at Rich’s. Cocktails will be served at 6 p.m., with dinner beginning at 7 p.m. Tables and Sponsorship opportunities are still available, contact Laura for more information: Ldemizio@buffalodiocese.org or 716-847-8725, ext. 8373, or visit http://www.FRCDB.org.

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