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JULY 2018 PRIEST OF THE MONTH - REV. MSGR. DAVID LEE 

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The gifts and talents each priest receives from God are always taken into account when decisions are made about where and how they will serve the diocese. Monsignor David Lee earned a Master’s Degree in English from Buffalo State College before entering the seminary. His love of reading and talent for teaching led him on a path which would accommodate both.

He grew up in Buffalo and attended Canisius High School and Canisius College. After earning a Master’s in English from Buffalo State College, he entered St. John Vianney Major Seminary (now Christ the King) in East Aurora. Ordained to the priesthood in 1968 he was first assigned to St. Brendan Church in Almond, NY. Of that he said, “It was a very nice assignment and I liked it very, very much but I was only there six months when they called me up to teach at the seminary.”

The seminary at which he first taught was the Diocesan Preparatory Seminary on Dodge Street which was a high school geared towards young men who were considering priesthood. There Msgr. Lee taught English and was eventually asked to teach British and American Literature at St. John Vianney Major Seminary as well.

Monsignor Lee then went on to become the chaplain at Erie Community College, North Campus. While he was there he would often put out religious literature at different events. He recalled that one young man, who was raised without religion, began looking over the material. He then asked Msgr. Lee if he could speak with him about the Catholic Faith and over the course of time Msgr. Lee administered the Sacraments to him bringing that young man into the Catholic Church. Over the years, they lost touch until recently when a letter arrived in the mail from the man. He informed Msgr. Lee that he had become a deacon for the Church. It was very edifying to Msgr. Lee that this man would take the time to write and tell him that not only was he still practicing his Catholic Faith but that his Faith was continuing to grow.

While still chaplain at ECC, Msgr. Lee was asked to become Director of Communications for the Diocese as well. He did that for twenty-two years after which he was assigned as pastor of St. Ambrose. He remained there for sixteen years until he retired.

As a pastor, he found the work load was sometimes overwhelming but the joy of saying Mass was, and still is, uplifting and energizing. He believes that presiding at Mass, “is the whole purpose of the day.” One nice thing about retiring from active ministry as a priest is that you have more time to do the things you really enjoy. Monsignor Lee assists his brother priests by saying Mass at different parishes and he loves to spend time reading, especially history.

Monsignor Lee advises those considering priesthood to, "Pray!  Pray about it and give it lots of time.  Allow it to be lifted up to God in prayer and let that be over a good period of time.  Also, talk to a priest whom you admire, whose opinion you value and whose example you admire.  Get involved in the parish where you are, in whatever way you can help.  This gives you an insight and point of view for what it's all about."

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