Father John J. Mitka will observe his 50th anniversary of ordination to the priesthood at St. Gabriel Parish in Elma where he has served as senior parochial vicar since 2006.
Father Mitka, son of the late John J. and Stella Mitka, is a native of Salamanca, where he attended Holy Cross Grammar School. He is a graduate of the Diocesan Preparatory Seminary in Buffalo, and St. John Vianney Seminary in East Aurora. He also did graduate work at Catholic University Washington D.C., and Christ the King Seminary in East Aurora.
He was ordained to the priesthood on May 21, 1966, at Our Lady of Victory Basilica in Lackawanna by Bishop James McNulty.
Since ordination, Father Mitka has served as associate pastor at St. John Fisher Parish, South Dayton; Coronation of the Blessed Virgin Mary Parish, Buffalo; and Mother of Divine Grace Parish, Cheektowaga. He also served as senior associate at St. Barnabas Parish, Cheektowaga, and presently at St. Gabriel. He taught at Note Dame High School in Batavia from 1968 to 1975, and from 1975 to 1978 served as chairperson of Religious Education at Archbishop Walsh High School in Olean.
Father Mitka's pastorates include St. Isaac Jogues Parish in Sherman, and St. Thomas More Parish in Ripley; Immaculate Conception Parish in Wellsville; Holy Trinity Parish in Niagara Falls; St. James Parish in Westfield; SS. Peter and Paul Parish in Jamestown; Our
Lady of Mount Carmel Parish in Silver Creek; and St. Teresa Parish in Buffalo.
Father Mitka has been involved in several educational and ecumenical organizations. He is a member of the Jesus Caritas Fraternity of Priests, St. Gabriel Holy Name Society and is a third degree member of the Msgr. O'Connor Knights of Columbus Council in Silver Creek, and a fourth degree member of Dunkirk Knights of Columbus Assembly.
A parish Mass of Thanksgiving will be celebrated at noon on Sunday, April 17, at St. Gabriel Church, with a reception to follow in the parish hall from 1 to 4 p.m. Parishioners and friends are cordially invited to attend.