The Most Reverend Gregory J. HARTMAYER, Archbishop of Atlanta, Georgia, USA, ordained Friar Emmanuel WENKE, OFM Conv., to the priesthood on Tuesday, August 15, 2023, the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The ordination took place at Our Lady of Victory Basilica and National Shrine in Lackawanna, New York, USA.

Archbishop HARTMAYER, who served as the main celebrant for the Mass of Ordination to the Priesthood, opened his homily saying, “Pax et Bonum. Peace and all good. It is truly a great joy and privilege to be with you, my Franciscan Family, to ordain our brother, Emmanuel, together as a people of God to welcome into our Church Universal a new priest, a priest of Jesus Christ.”
He addressed Friar Emmanuel, saying: “Ordination changes your being into the likeness of Christ the priest, Christ the teacher, Christ the shepherd. Allow this interior change to expand your friendship with Christ. Through the daily celebration of the Mass, this bond of friendship will be strengthened.”
Friar Emmanuel was born on July 9, 1993, in Jamestown, New York. In 2001, he moved to Olean, New York, where his family were members of the St. John the Evangelist Parish. He was also extensively involved in youth ministry at the Basilica of St. Mary of the Angels Parish in Olean. He was homeschooled through high school and completed a year and a half of study at Jamestown Community College. In 2012, he joined the Conventual Franciscan Province of Our Lady of the Angels in the USA (OLA).
Friar Emmanuel is the son of Deacon Matt and Mary WENKE of Olean. Deacon Matt served as the assisting deacon at his son’s ordination. Friar Emmanuel’s five siblings are: Sister Frances Marie (Nora) WENKE, CP; Jude; Abram; Air Force Sgt. Samuel WENKE; and Mathew. His late grandparents, Robert and Kathleen WENKE, were also parishioners at the Basilica of St. Mary of the Angels in Olean.
“I am very humbled at the opportunity to share God’s merciful love with the world as a friar-priest,” said Friar Emmanuel. “I have experienced so many blessings in my life through the example, prayers, teaching, and sacramental ministry of many good priests. I begin my own priestly journey full of gratitude and with a deep desire to share with others the same blessings I have received through Christ’s gift of the priesthood.”
On Wednesday, August 16, Friar Emmanuel celebrated a Mass of Thanksgiving at St. Francis of Assisi Church in Athol Springs. On Sunday, August 20, he celebrated a second Mass of Thanksgiving at the Basilica of St. Mary of the Angels in Olean.
Friar Emmanuel’s next assignment will be at Archbishop Curley High School in Baltimore, Maryland, USA, where he will teach religion and be part of the campus ministry team.

Kevin A. KEENAN, Director of Communications