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Your gift to the Bishop’s Appeal directly assists those who are called to discern a vocation on their journey to the priesthood of Jesus Christ for the Diocese of Albany or in consecrated life as a religious sister or brother.

Fathers Jay Atherton, Rendell Torres and David Hammond not long ago were seminarians, working hard during six years of study and preparation to reach the day when they were ordained to the priesthood.

Where are they now? Today, Fr. Atherton serves as Pastor of St. Theresa of the Child Jesus in Windham and Sacred Heart-Immaculate Conception Church in Haines Falls/Palenville. Fr. Torres serves as Pastor of Our Lady of Hope Church in Whitehall and St. Ann’s Church in Fort Ann. Fr. Hammond serves as a Chaplain in the United States Navy, stationed in Japan.

The future of vocations in the Diocese of Albany is promising. Currently there are 14 seminarians, 5 aspirants and more than 90 men throughout our diocese who are actively discerning a vocation.

We are all given a share in the mission and ministry of Jesus Christ by virtue of our baptismal call. That baptismal call enables us to share in the mission and ministry of Jesus Christ as priest, prophet and king.

“Being a pastor is different from being an associate in many ways, but particularly because a pastor is the shepherd of his people in every good way. He should be patient and merciful, and lead them to eternal life, the way that parents should lead their children to God and to Heaven. As a pastor, I realize even more how profoundly I need God’s grace and mercy to be “another Christ” as a shepherd.

One of the greatest rewards is offering the Holy Mass, but it’s not even a reward but a completely undeserved grace and service, because no one merits or deserves to offer the Body and Blood of Christ to the Father in the place (person) of Christ for the redemption of the universe and the glory of the Most Holy Trinity, which is precisely what an ordained priest does. Another joy is to see how the Holy Spirit clearly and amazingly moves the “unlikeliest” of people to trust in Jesus by contemplating the Crucifix, praying before the Blessed Sacrament, and hearing the truth of God’s merciful love. A third joy is simply to love and be loved amidst one’s parish family.

 Thank you for supporting me and my brother priests and seminarians through the Bishop’s Appeal. Your generosity will be rewarded in this life and the next. I consider myself immeasurably blessed to be a priest of our Albany Diocese.”

Fr. Rendell Torres

“Support from the Bishop's Appeal was essential in funding my formation and education in seminary. As an Albany priest serving in the U.S. Navy Chaplain Corps, I have the privilege of ministering to our men and women in uniform and their families. Many from our diocese are serving our country bravely far from home. I am grateful to be able to meet them, and all our service members during a unique time in their lives, and to offer the support of the sacraments and pastoral care.

Military chaplaincy is a mission field that relies upon the generosity of each diocese or religious community in loaning priests for service. This includes the gift of the resources and support that have helped lead them through discernment into ministry. Thank you for your prayerful support, and know that our diocese continues to support the faith around the world because of you!”

Fr. David Hammond
Lieutenant, Chaplain Corps, United States Navy
Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan

“There is an immense learning curve in being a pastor. There are so many new skills to learn, mostly centered around the area of administration such as leadership skills, accounting and management skills. As a pastor I am able to extend God’s mercy first and foremost through the sacraments, especially the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Beyond that, in preaching, reminding people that they are never beyond God’s mercy and power to save.

I also have a role in fostering relationships within the parish, and as a pastor of multiple churches, among the different communities as well. These relationships are critically important to parish life and ministry. Understanding mercy as that special power of love that heals relationships, this is how I try to extend Christ’s mercy uniquely as a pastor, in the fostering of relationships that make parish life work. I think the greatest reward is when I get to see God working through what we do in the parish to bring people to Himself.”

Fr. Jay Atherton


Office of Development and Stewardship
40 North Main Avenue
Albany, NY 12203
(518) 453-6680