Priests Mark Silver Jubilee

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Three Slovakia natives are celebrating the 25th anniversary of ordination as priests of the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown. 

The Very Reverend Lubomir Strecok, VF, Father Jozef Kovacik, and Father Frantisek Halka were ordained on May 30, 1998, at the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament in Altoona. 

Father Strecok is the Pastor of Sacred Heart Parish in Altoona, Administrator of Saint Mary Parish in Altoona, and Dean of the Altoona Deanery. After his ordination in 1998, he was appointed Secretary to the Bishop and Episcopal Master of Ceremonies, a position he held until 2006. He was then assigned as Pastor of Queen of Archangels Parish in Clarence until 2012. He then served as Administrator of Saint Catherine of Siena Parish in Mount Union until his appointment as Pastor of Sacred Heart in 2014. The assignment of Administrator of Saint Mary was added in 2018. 

Father Kovacik’s early assignments included Parochial Vicar at the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament in Altoona and Parochial Vicar at Saint Benedict Parish in Johnstown. In 2005, he was named Pastor of Saint Agnes Parish in Lock Haven. He was appointed Pastor of Saint Matthew Parish in Tyrone in 2010. In addition to his pastorate in Tyrone, he was named Administrator of Saint Joseph Parish in Bellwood in 2019. Father Kovacik carried out both the Tyrone and Bellwood assignments until his appointment as Pastor of Good Shepherd Parish in Port Matilda this past January. 

Father Halka has served as a chaplain in the Archdiocese for Military Services since 2003. Prior to that, he was Parochial Vicar at the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament and Parochial Vicar at Our Lady of Victory Parish in State College. 

“This 25th anniversary milestone for these three priests is truly a time for celebration,” said Tony DeGol, Director of Communications for the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown. “They willingly left their family and country behind to serve as priests in our diocese. Despite not knowing American culture and the English language, they persevered in their seminary formation and have gone on to serve God’s people in countless ways over the past quarter century. The Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown is blessed by their presence and ministry. May the Lord grant them many more healthy and happy years of service.”