Celebrating 50 Years of Friar Life: Fr. Michael Putich, OFM – Part 2
The following is a continuation of an article on Fr. Michael Putich, OFM, who is commemorating his 50th anniversary of profession in 2013. Part 1 of the article was posted May 14, 2013.
Early Experiences: Education and Parish Ministry
In 1969, Fr. Michael began working at Bishop Timon High School in Buffalo, N.Y., where he stayed until 1986, serving in various roles such as director of development, treasurer, instructor, and moderator of the Franciscan movement. During that time, he earned a master’s in education, with certification in social studies, from Niagara University, completing his degree in 1975.
From 1986 to 1989, Fr. Michael served as parochial vicar of St. Martin of Tours Parish, Buffalo. In 1990, he earned an MBA from Canisius College in Buffalo.
The best part of being a member of Holy Name Province, he says, is celebrating its diversity. “Early on, the diversity in our ministries was good. Now it’s the diversity of people — not just all from the Northeast.”
From 1990 to 1992, Fr. Michael was assistant to the vice president for business and finance, and an adjunct faculty member at St. Bonaventure University in Western New York. Later, he served as director of strategic information and auxiliary services at Walsh University in North Canton, Ohio, and director of finance of St. Francis Chapel in Providence.
In 2002, he returned to St. Martin of Tours Parish, where he served again as parochial vicar until 2006. From 2005 to 2009, he assisted the pastoral care team at Mercy Hospital in Buffalo. This ministry overlapped with his work as parochial vicar of St. Gregory the Great Parish in Williamsville, N.Y., where he served from 2006 to 2008. From 2009 to 2011, he was pastor at St. Clare Parish, Buffalo.
At 70 years of age, Fr. Michael is still on his feet all day at the Veterans Administration Medical Center in Buffalo, N.Y., where he currently serves as chaplain and a member of the palliative care consult team.
He jokes that the walking around keeps him fit. “I’m only 10 pounds overweight,” he says with a smile. He also finds time to read action novels, especially those by Patricia Cornwell or David Baldacci, and to reflect on the scriptures every day. “I like to be quiet and listen to my thoughts and reflect on why I’m thinking what I’m thinking.”
He said he would like to be remembered as someone who was flexible but not wishy-washy. “I’d like people to know that I was available, approachable, accessible.”
Fr. Michael also likes to keep in touch with family, especially a sister and nieces and nephews in the area, and siblings in Las Vegas and New Jersey.
He lists as his “heroes, helpers and rabbis” the late Joel Campbell, OFM, Salvator Fink, OFM, and Pascal Foley, OFM, along with former friar Marc Fernandez. He also admires books by former friar Daniel Sulmasy, MD, a well-known medical ethicist.
The best part of being a member of Holy Name Province, Fr. Michael says, is celebrating its diversity. “Early on, the diversity in our ministries was good. Now it’s the diversity of people — not just all from the Northeast.”
- Wendy Healy is a Connecticut-based freelance writer and frequent contributor to HNP Today.
This article is adapted from “Jubilarian Profile: Michael Putich Marks 50 Years as a Friar,” which appeared in the May 8, 2013 issue of HNP Today, the Province’s bi-weekly e-newsletter.