Members of St. James Church only have four more Sundays to experience mass led by Father Peter Worn.
Nearing the completion of his 12 year residency at St. James, Father Peter has begun to prepare to leave the church and welcome the new pastor, Rev. Kevin J. Corcoran, who will join the parish July 1.
Following his departure from St. James, Father Peter will travel to Sydney, Australia, for six months and complete an independent study program at the Broken Bay Institute.
Because he is an ordained priest of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Syracuse, he will return to Central New York and look to obtain a position at parish in the surrounding area.
“I’m definitely sad to leave, but I knew it was coming. I’ve spent more than a third of my priesthood here in Cazenovia. It’s the longest I’ve lived anywhere in my life, it’s a very odd feeling,” Father Peter said. “This being a smaller community, I’ve gotten to know a lot of people and generations of families on an extended level. I am excited about this opportunity, though. How many people are given the chance to take six months off to travel?”
Born in Ireland, Father Peter and his five siblings grew up in a few different areas around the emerald isle. He first arrived in the United States when he was 19 years old and began his journey toward priesthood. Formerly a chaplain at Crouse Hospital in Syracuse, Father Peter spent time at parishes in Liverpool, Fairmount and Utica, received his master’s degree in Spirituality, and acted as the chaplain at SUNY Oswego for seven years before settling in Cazenovia at St. James Church.
In his time with the parish, Father Peter has delivered hundreds of sermons and positively impacted countless Cazenovians. Blending theological principles with personal experience, wisdom and wit, his Sunday masses were highly attended and often a popular topic of discussion.
He is deeply involved with every facet of the church, helping to raise funds for structural improvements to the building’s exterior and parking lot, as well as for replacing the 40 year old boiler. Offering Confession and evening Mass every Saturday, Father Peter also instructs the religious education class for seniors of Cazenovia High School on Wednesday mornings.
Students of St. James’ religious education courses recently purchased Father Peter an iPad as a parting gift. While he admits he has already conquered several versions of “Angry Birds,” he is grateful for the thoughtful gift, which obviously required quite a bit of coordination and fund raising on the children’s part, he said.
“Father Peter has been an important part of the lives of so many over the past 12 years. His spirituality and ability to relate to people of all ages has been a wonderful gift that he has given to St. James. He will be greatly missed. I have been very fortunate to have had the opportunity to work for, and learn from him,” said Youth Ministry Coordinator Julie Hagan. “I will treasure the things he has taught me. My faith and my life are so different because of Father Peter and for that I am very grateful. I wish him the very best as he embarks on his new adventures.”
While Father Peter has been solicited for goodbye dinners from numerous members of the church, St. James parishioners and event organizers have planned an official sendoff party on June 17. He will complete his final week at the parish and deliver his final Sunday Mass on June 26.
July 1 will be the first day of service the new pastor, Kevin J. Corcoran, completes at St. James Church. Corcoran, the current pastor of St. Agatha’s Church in Canastota since 2003, was the parochial vicar at both the Blessed Sacrament Church in Syracuse and Immaculate Conception in Fayetteville. He was raised in Syracuse and is a graduate of Bishop Ludden High School and Bonaventure University. Corcoran completed his theological studies at Christ the King Seminary in East Aurora and was ordained on June 4, 1988.
“As our pastor for the past 12 years, one of the last great things he has done is ready us for the switch over to Kevin Corcoran. He has taken time, care and effort in preparing us for the change,” said St. James parishioner Mike Sullivan. “He has been such an asset to our community and we will all miss him. He has been incredibly positive and optimistic about the change, and I think that is one of the best things a leader can do.”
Currently located at 6 Green St., St James’ Church was founded in 1847. Masses are held throughout the week, with services at 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. on Sundays. For more information on the parish and upcoming events, visit their website at stjamescaz.com. The parish office can be reached at 655-3441 and Father Peter can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.