St. Mary's Seminary & University

Fr. Prior (Class of 2001) Receives Leavitt Award

November 1, 2023 | St. Mary's News

Diocese of Syracuse Priest Honored by his Alma Mater with Annual Alumni Award

Father Richard P. Prior received the Robert F. Leavitt Award for Leadership in Pastoral Excellence from his alma mater, St. Mary’s Seminary & University in Baltimore, Maryland. Fr. Prior graduated from St. Mary’s in 2001 and was ordained in June, 2001. The award is named for Fr. Robert Leavitt, former President Rector of St. Mary’s from 1980 -2007. Fr. Prior received the award at St. Mary’s annual Alumni Day celebration from Fr. Phillip J. Brown, P.S.S., President Rector, on October 19th, 2023.

Fr. Brown noted that the special award was established in honor of Fr. Leavitt and his outstanding leadership, particularly in pastoral leadership and excellence. The programs established under Fr. Leavitt’s long-time leadership are a true hallmark of St. Mary’s Seminary & University. Fr. Prior is the sixth recipient of this special honor and Fr. Leavitt was in attendance to congratulate his former student!

Fr. Prior is currently the Pastor of Our Lady of Good Counsel (Endicott, NY) and Our Lady of Sorrows (Vestal, NY). Previously he was the Pastor of Sacred Heart in Cicero (2015-2022) and Holy Family in Syracuse (2003-2015). Fr. Prior also served as Parochial Vicar for the Diocese of Syracuse from 2001 – 2003.

Bishop Douglas J. Lucia remarked “ I am most grateful for the generous ministry that Rev. Richard Prior has provided the people of God in his role as pastor in the Diocese of Syracuse. He is a gifted shepherd with a heart for sharing the Good News.”

In accepting the honor Fr. Prior remarked on the three most important things he learned while at St. Mary’s: (1) that learning never ends, (2) how to foster a living relationship with Jesus Christ, and (3) the importance of human formation, enabling a priest to “accept the brokenness” (cf. 1 Corinthians 1:27).

St. Mary’s Seminary & University is very proud to honor Fr. Prior as an outstanding alumnus.

Below: (Left) Fr. Prior with Fr. Leavitt, his former teacher for whom the award is named; (Right) Fr. Prior expresses his thanks at the alumni luncheon.

(Left) Fr. Prior with Fr. Leavitt, his former teacher for whom the award is named; (Right) Fr. Prior expresses his thanks at the alumni luncheon.


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