A new chapter
Monsignor Eugene Yennock, pastor of St. Daniel's Church in Lyncourt, played an instrumental role in the Rev. Clifford Auth's decision to eventually pursue priesthood.
"He was very happy in his vocation," said Auth, who, as the youngest of six children, was a member of the church with his family. "He was, I think, on fire with what he believed. He was very authentic, so I witnessed that growing up."
But it wasn't until Auth was accepted into a graduate program at Syracuse University's Maxwell School that he decided to reconsider his direction in life.
"I had always had this nagging feeling that priesthood is something that I should really explore," Auth said. "I just realized it's important for me to kind of answer that voice and discern it in a more formal way or I would never know whether or not priesthood was for me."
He enrolled in St. Mary's Seminary School in Baltimore, Md., graduated with a master's in divinity and was ordained on June 5, 1999.
Since then, Auth, 39, served six years as parochial vicar at St. James in Johnson City, near Binghamton. He then completed a degree in Canon Law from Catholic University and returned to Syracuse where he currently serves as chancellor and vicar for administration. He also serves as the weekend associate at St. Mary's and St. Augustine's Church in Baldwinsville.
He said he will begin his post as pastor of St. Ann's Church sometime in the next couple months.
"I've always wanted to transition back to full time parish ministry," said Auth, who was given permission by Bishop Robert Cunningham to apply for the St. Ann's opening after the church's beloved pastor, the Rev. Kevin Hannon died Jan. 19 of stomach cancer.
"Kevin was an outstanding priest," Auth said. "People loved him. I think people loved him because he loved them he accepted people where they were as opposed to where he presumed they should be."