September Spotlight
Father John Bucki

Mercy Center would like to recognize and observe the 5th anniversary of Father John Bucki's passing. Fr. Bucki championed Mercy Center’s work and happily introduced many to it over the years. Scores of Canisius and LeMoyne College alumni received their introduction to Mercy Center through a Week of Winter Service each January, a social justice program that Fr. Bucki created and ran during his years as Campus Minister at both schools.

 

A native of Buffalo, a Fordham University graduate, and a graduate of the Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley, California, Fr. Bucki was ordained a priest on June 9, 1979. Several of Fr. Bucki's earliest ministries were in the field of education. He taught mathematics at Regis High School and at Xavier High School, both in New York City, and at McQuaid Jesuit High School in Rochester. In working with students and youth, he fostered a commitment to justice and peace through an approach of hope and joy toward life and our world.

 

During the 1980's, he accepted assignments to Nigeria and the Philippines. Upon returning to the United States, he served for twelve years as an Associate Pastor of St. Francis Xavier Church in Manhattan.

 

The Father John Bucki Youth Fund at Mercy Center was created in 2018 to honor his memory and the impact he had on children and youth. To date, $33,531 has been raised in support of Mercy Center Youth Programs. Contributions to the Father John Bucki Youth Fund are still being accepted by Mercy Center today.

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John’s spiritual gifts arose from his formidable intelligence, and the fundamental of his intelligence was his loving heart. He was always very astute and even pragmatic, but his natural (almost preternatural) patience and his even-tempered generosity were what led so many to trust and cherish him.

 

On the other hand, there was something child-like about John, even with grey whiskers. He was like a big kid who had been given the keys to the candy store, and been told that he had to give everything away by the end of the week… Many there were who, encountering John at the Xavier Welcome Table, left with three sandwiches, a can of ginger ale, and the implication that their sins were forgiven.

Ralph Martin,

Mercy Center Supporter

John, who had just said Mass upstairs, was down in Larkin Hall having a long and intimate conversation with a small, furry man who was clearly unkempt, but with whom he seemed familiar. Then, a few minutes later, I saw John having a similarly earnest, attentive conversation with a larger, cleaner man who was wearing a distinctive wristwatch, indicative of his social milieu; as it turned out the man was a vice-president of CitiBank. Of course, what struck me was John’s complete equanimity and the generosity of his patient attention to both of them. John’s spirit changed my life.

Michael Costello

Friend of Father John Bucki

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Over many years my wife Peggy and I would join the college students that we hosted at Fr. Bucki’s homemade opening communal feast. At the “sending forth” ceremony that followed, Fr. Bucki would lavishly bless each service group headed to a different site. Each blessing ended with a triple round of his signature “and let the People say” to which all shouted “Amen!” in resounding unison. By the third repetition, no one present was left untouched by the abundant joy and goodness flowing from this beautiful man.

 

Tim O’Connor,

Former Mercy Center Board Member

 and ESOL Instructor

John was exceptional in inspiring the Mercy Center children in the winter camp and the college student counselors. Mercy Center campers came to believe that they could go to college and they did. John changed lives and no one smiled more broadly than John at their college graduation.

 

Mary Galeone, RSM,

Former Mercy Center Executive Director

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