The Holy Name Society of the Diocese of Buffalo will honor three distinguished priests of the diocese at its annual awards banquet which will take place at Kiebzak's Restaurant and Beginning Banquet Facilities in Sloan, on Tuesday, Oct. 19, at 5 p.m. with open bar at 5 p.m. and family-style dinner at 6 p.m., during which the Man of the Year Award and achievement awards will be presented.
This year's honorees are Father David D. Baker, parochial vicar of St. Amelia Parish in the Town of Tonawanda, pastor Father Paul D. Seil of St. Bernadette Parish in Orchard Park and former pastor Msgr. Richard W. Siepka of St Andrew's Parish in Kenmore, now a faculty member of Christ the King Seminary in East Aurora. As of August, the Man of the Year was not yet chosen. Achievement awards will go to Holy Name Society members, and will be selected by parish societies in September.
Holy Name Society executive director Raymond W. Zientara said the awards banquet began with Msgr. Joseph E. Maguire, a former priest and diocesan moderator for 47 years who served from 1924 to 1971 and was appointed by Bishop William Turner, bishop of the Diocese of Buffalo at the time.
"(Msgr. Maguire's) personal thoughts for this awards banquet were to honor various individuals in the diocese who have done an exemplary job in providing community services, as well as being supportive in promoting the Holy Name Society by their actions and participation in the Diocese of Buffalo," Zientara said. "The selection was made by a specific committee, selected by the Monsignor."
This committee, which the spiritual moderator still selects today, is responsible for selecting honorees for the award from individual parishes. These nominees may be clergy, women religious or laypeople of the parishes and, once they were selected, these individuals were notified and asked to submit a brief biography for the banquet, outlining who they are and their achievements.
"As the chairman would introduce these individuals individually, he would read their biography to the people that were in attendance," Zientara said. "Attendance at these functions ranged from almost 600 to 800 people before. Basically now, over the years, it's come down to almost like 300 people."
In past years, the awards banquet has been held at the Statler Hotel ballroom in downtown Buffalo, the Hearthstone Manor in Depew and the former Pellamwood banquet facilities in West Seneca. Individual parishes, particularly those with meeting places large enough to hold several hundred people, have also had the banquet. This year, the facilities are able to hold only about 300 people.
"Last year's honoree was Bishop Richard J. Malone," Zientara said. "Each year, it's different as to our selections. This year, we've selected three very fine honorees."
Once the parishes select the Man of the Year and the achievement award nominations, these individuals will also be notified. In selecting the main honorees, Zientara contacted the recipients and asked if they would like to accept the award. From late August into September, they will submit autobiographies, which will also be published in programs the Holy Name Society will give to the attendees.
For more information about the awards banquet or to order tickets, call the Diocesan Union of Holy Name Societies office at 847-2201, between 9:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.