Father Roderic Petrie

Father PetrieFather Petrie grew up on the family farm on Route 5 where Tops now resides. He graduated from Canastota in 1947, 70 years ago, and continued his education at SUNY Albany where he received his teaching degree with a major in Spanish. Sometime during his time at Albany, he decided to enter into a religious vocation and by graduation he was accepted by the Franciscans, given the name Roderic Anthony, studied for the next eight (8) years, and ordained a priest in Washington, D.C. in 1959. Father Rod then taught in Buffalo for one year and in 1960 was sent to Atlanta to help the refugees coming there from Cuba. In 1961, he finished an MA in Spanish and began 8 years of teaching Spanish and English, further becoming Vice Principal at Archbishop Walsh High School in Olean, N.Y. While there he also earned an MA in Education from St. Bonaventure University.

In 1968, Father Rod was asked to go to St. Joseph’s in Callicoon, N.Y. to teach and after three years again, the Province asked him to be Master of Novices at a new place in Brookline, Mass. He spent four years there where he joined a group of five friars living and working amongst the poor in the North End of Boston. Upon further request, he was asked to run the Office of Justice and Peace, in Washington, D.C. His experience in Boston left an indelible mark on Father Rod wanting to become more involved in the poor community, so in 1976 he received permission to go with another friar to Philadelphia where they started a ministry for the poor, homeless, and addicted. It is called the St. Francis Inn and is to this day serving the community and still going strong.

By 1981, Father Rod said he was “worn out”, and needed a break to pray. The Province allowed him a year to go to a hermitage to pray; in his case it was to Assisi, Italy. There he spent a year in solitude. He said “a tough year, but a good year”.

Upon his return to the States, Father Rod was asked to work with the homeless in New YorkPetrie Yearbook City. After a couple of years, what he discovered was that bringing hope and meaning to people in need was as important as food and shelter. So in 1984, he joined with another friar and traveled to many parishes, on missions to preach what he calls the “Good News”. Soon other friars joined in the effort. He has been an itinerant preacher from that time to the present. He has been on mission to St. Agatha’s and many surrounding parishes, inspiring us with the “Good News”.

Father Rod’s teaching and humanitarian accomplishments coupled with his devout spiritual guidance have served countless people from all over the country and beyond in Service to God.