Six Priests Celebrate 40 Years of Priestly Ministry
Congratulations to all of our priests who are celebrating milestone anniversaries this year! These six priests are amongst the 21 who will be recognized at the Chrism Mass on Tuesday, March 30, 2021, at 11:30 a.m. The Chrism Mass is not open to the public due to social distancing requirements, but will be available to watch via livestream on our website, Facebook page or YouTube channel.
40 Years of Priestly Ministry
Rev. Msgr. Ronald B. Aubin, J.C.L. was 7 years old when his family moved from Massachusetts to Miami. He was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Rapid City on April 23, 1981. In 1986, Father Aubin came to the Diocese of St. Petersburg, where he was incardinated in 1990. He has served as a Tribunal Judge and later as Judicial Vicar for the Diocese. For the past 27 years, he has faithfully shepherded the parish community of Our Lady of the Rosary, in Land O’ Lakes, which has experienced tremendous growth under his leadership. In 2016, he was appointed as Chaplain of His Holiness by Pope Francis, having been granted to honorary title of Monsignor.
Rev. Francis H. Dionne was born in Springfield, Massachusetts. An Army veteran, he worked for 13 years in banking and real estate, during which he discerned a vocation to the priesthood. Father Dionne was ordained for the Diocese of Charlotte on February 21, 1981. The following year, he transferred to the Diocese of St. Petersburg, where he was incardinated in 1990. Prior to his retirement in 2003, he served as Parochial Vicar of the following parishes: Holy Family, St. Petersburg; Nativity, Brandon; St. Patrick, Largo; Most Holy Name of Jesus, Gulfport; St. Michael the Archangel, Clearwater; and St. Thomas Aquinas, New Port Richey. Since his retirement, Father Dionne has provided assistance to parishes in Pinellas County, as needed.
Rev. William R. Fickel, S.S.S. is a native of Cleveland, Ohio. Following his profession with the Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament, he was ordained on August 1, 1981 in his hometown. Following ordination, he taught in high schools in Cleveland and in Texas (1981-2003). He was later appointed director of the Center for Eucharistic Evangelization (2004-2013). In November 2013, Father Fickel was appointed as Pastor of St. Vincent de Paul Parish, Holiday, where he continues to serve.
Rev. Msgr. Robert C. Gibbons, J.C.L. is a native of Tampa and a product of Sacred Heart Academy and Jesuit High School. He was ordained for the Diocese of St. Petersburg by Bishop W. Thomas Larkin on May 23, 1981. In 1987, he received his Licentiate in Canon Law from The Catholic University of America. He has served as parochial vicar of St. Raphael, St. Petersburg, St. Catherine of Siena, Clearwater and St. John Vianney, St. Pete Beach. Following seven years on faculty at St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary, Boynton Beach, he was assigned as parochial vicar of Christ the King, Tampa. Since June 1996, he has faithfully shepherded the community of St. Paul Parish, St. Petersburg. He has served on numerous diocesan boards and committees during these 40 years of ministry. In 2008, he was honored by his brother priests with the Father Luis de Cancer Award for Distinguished Priestly Service. That same year, he was appointed by Pope John Paul II as Chaplain of His Holiness, with the title of Monsignor.
Rev. Thomas L. Madden originally came from South Weymouth, Massachusetts. As a child, his family moved to the Clearwater area, where he graduated from Clearwater Central Catholic High School. He was ordained a priest of the Diocese of St. Petersburg by Bishop W. Thomas Larkin on May 23, 1981. As a young priest, Father Madden served for five years as Master of Ceremonies for Bishop Larkin, and assisted as parochial vicar of St. Cecelia, Clearwater; Our Lady Queen of Peace, New Port Richey; St. Michael the Archangel, Clearwater, and St. Mary, Tampa. He has served as pastor of Good Shepherd, Tampa (now Mary Help of Christians), Our Lady of Lourdes, Dunedin. Father Madden is currently pastor of St. Mary Our Lady of Sorrows Parish, Masaryktown. Additionally, he been a member of the diocesan Liturgical Commission, the Presbyteral Council, and the Board of Trustees for Catholic Charities, in addition to his service as director of the Permanent Diaconate and Chaplain for the Knights of Columbus.
Rev. Robert J. Schneider was born in Salina, Kansas. Upon graduation from Kenrick-Glennon Seminary, in St. Louis, he was ordained for the Diocese of Salina on June 6, 1981. He came to the Diocese of St. Petersburg in 1989 and worked as parochial vicar of the following parishes: Holy Cross, St. Petersburg; Nativity, Brandon; and St. Paul, Tampa. He was incardinated into our Diocese in 1993. Since 1996, Father Schneider has served as pastor of Holy Family, St. Petersburg; Espiritu Santo, Safety Harbor; St. Stephen, Riverview; and currently, as pastor of St. Cecelia, Clearwater. Father Schneider also served as the first president of Faith in Action for Strength Together (FAST) in Pinellas County.