Special to The Hays Daily News

Father Gervase Degenhardt, son of the late Martin Degenhardt and Pauline Leiker, is celebrating his 50th anniversary of ordination to the priesthood July 19 at St. Joseph Catholic Church. It was in this church that he celebrated his first solemn Mass.

He was ordained by the Most Rev. Bishop Frederick Freking in Salina on May 24, 1958. He had previously entered the Capuchin Franciscan Order, making profession in 1953.

He began his ministry in the priesthood teaching theology at St. Francis Capuchin College in Washington immediately after receiving his degree from Catholic University in Washington. In 1965, he was appointed vice president and dean of men at St. Fidelis College and Seminary. He taught English and scripture after receiving his English degree from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pa.

After teaching for 14 years, he requested to serve in a parish. He was assigned to St. Joseph Parish in York, Pa., in 1979.

It was in 1986 that Degenhardt was elected to be Vicar Provincial of the Province of St. Augustine headquartered in Pittsburgh. He served in that administrative capacity for two terms of three years each. He then was appointed as guardian (superior) of the friary of St. Augustine, likewise in Pittsburgh.

After a three-year term as guardian he was again appointed to a parish. In this parish, Our Lady of the Angels in Pittsburgh, he served for seven years. After that he became the chaplain of the Sisters of St. Francis in Millvale, Pa., the ministry in which he has served for six years.

"I believe that my life as a Capuchin Franciscan influenced all of my ministries more than any other single factor," Degenhardt said. "As a Capuchin Franciscan I was happy in all that I was asked to do.

"My present ministry as chaplain to the Franciscan Sisters is a pleasant capstone to my life as a happy Capuchin Franciscan Friar. I give thanks to all people, especially my family, who have aided me in my ministry. Finally I give praise and glory to God for all that he has done for me," he said.