Fr. William Hritsko, Pastor
Father William A. Hritsko was born in Akron, Ohio in May of 1963 and attended St. John the Baptist, Goodrich Junior High, and Garfield High School in Akron. He received a BS degree in Industrial Management in 1987 from the University of Akron with additional studies in Voice, Music, Theatrical Performance, and Accounting. In 1994 he received a BA in Philosophical Studies, and the Master of Divinity in 1998 from the Pontifical College Josephinum with additional studies in Scripture, Greek, Spanish, Stained Glass, Liturgical Music, Art & Environment, Gregorian Chant, and Spiritual Direction. He was ordained to the Diaconate in 1997 and to the Priesthood in 1998.
While in high school and college Fr. Bill was a member of the Croatian Kolo Club (folk dancing) the Akron Junior Tamburitizans, and active with the Cleveland Chapter of the National Association of Pastoral Musicians. He had the opportunity to play with a variety of composers including David Haas, Marty Haugen, Fr. Michael Joncas, Bernadette Farrel, Christopher Walker, and Kevin Kyle. Prior to becoming a Priest, Fr. Bill worked as a Director of Music/Liturgy, and as an Academic Research Secretary. He directed the Free Spirits, a free-lance choir that often sang for the televised Mass when it was broadcast through the Diocese of Columbus, is well connected to the Croatian Fraternal Union of America, and a member of the Tamburitza Association of America.
While studying to be a Priest, he had internships at St. Philip the Apostle, JOIN and St. Joseph Cathedral, St. Andrew’s Columbus, St. Mary’s in Marion, St. Michael’s in Worthington, and at St. Edward the Confessor in Granville. Prior in coming to the cluster of St. Leonard Church and Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, his Priest assignments included: The Associate Pastor at St. Francis de Sales of Newark(1998-2002), Parochial Vicar at St. Paul the Apostle(2002-2006), Westerville, Pastor at Sacred Heart Church in Coshocton (2006-2014), and Priest Administrator at St. Francis de Sales in Newcomerstown, Ohio(2013-2014).
As the Pastor of Sacred Heart, he directed the Sacred Heart Children’s Choir and Ensembles from 2007-2014. The children learned to sing in up to seven languages, play a variety of instruments including dulcimers, ukuleles, autoharps, and bells. They were member of the American Federation of Pueri Cantores and participated in three choral festivals singing and playing in Pittsburgh, PA, Cincinnati & Youngstown, Ohio.
In addition to music, Fr. Bill makes many of his own vestments and has done several commissioned pieces as well. His sewing, baking and other artistic endeavors have accorded him numerous awards at fairs. His sporting interests include wrestling, gymnastics, track & field, ice skating, swimming and several other Olympic sports.
Deacon Larry Wilson
Deacon Larry Wilson was born and raised in Newark, Ohio. He attended St. Francis de Sales as a child. Deacon Wilson graduated from Kent State University in March 1976 with a degree in broadcasting with minors in photography, theatre and film. He is married to wife Shelley and has two grown children, Holly and Matthew. Deacon Wilson was in the Air National Guard for 31 years. He spent the last 20 years active duty, stationed in Mansfield. He worked as the Visual Information Manager of the 179th Airlift wing where he provided photographic, video, and graphic support for the Airlift Wing. He was also in charge of all photography, public affairs, training and information. He was ordained in Toledo during May 2003 and assigned to St. Peter’s Parish located in Mansfield. While living in Mansfield, Deacon Wilson served 15 years as an assistant Boy Scout master for developmentally handicapped children. He was also involved in prison ministry for three years. Deacon Wilson came to St. Leonard in June 2005. He also teaches general computer use at Blessed Sacrament in Newark. Deacon Larry enjoys hiking and sailing and spending time at Lake Erie during the summer.