Msgr. John I. Ducette, known for his longtime work with the Apostleship of the Sea, died April 12, 2016, just eight days before his 80th birthday.
Born in Buffalo to Francis and Florence Ducette on April 20, 1936, he attended Annunciation School in Buffalo and St. John de la Salle School in Niagara Falls before entering Bishop Duffy High School, also in Niagara Falls. He earned a bachelor's degree in philosophy from St. Bonaventure University, then Christ the King Seminary in Olean. He also attended Seton Hall University in South Orange, NJ, the New York Province Priests' Institute and the National Institute for Clergy Formation.
Msgr. Ducette was ordained March 17, 1962, at St. Joseph's New Cathedral in Buffalo, by Bishop Joseph A. Burke.
His parish assignments took him to St. Isidore in East Otto, St. Teresa of the Infant Jesus in Niagara Falls, Blessed Sacrament in Kenmore, and St. John the Baptist in Kenmore, where he served as assistant pastor. In 1979, he received his first pastoral assignment to St. Charles Parish in Niagara Falls, followed by St. Timothy Parish in Tonawanda. He also served as secretary to the Bishop Bernard McLaughlin beginning in 1963.
In 1978, he began his decades-long term as diocesan director of the Apostleship of the Sea. In this role, he prayed for the safety and salvation of all seafarers, as well as blessing sea vessels. He blessed the USS Little Rock and the USS The Sullivans on opening day of the Buffalo and Erie County Naval & Military Park. He also has served as a chaplain for Town of Tonawanda police beginning in 1985. That role allowed him to carry a badge and celebrate an annual Mass for officers.
Msgr. Ducette retired as pastor of St. Timothy Parish in 2008. He left the Apostleship of the Sea in 2013.
Visitation will be held at St. Timothy Church, 565 E. Park Dr., Tonawanda, on Tuesday, April 19, from 2 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m. Visitation will again take place at St. Timothy's on Wednesday, April 20, from 9:30 to 10 a.m. The Mass of Christian Burial, which will be celebrated by Bishop Richard J. Malone, will begin at 10 a.m.