Pastoral Leadership

Reverend Robert L. Gebhard, Jr.


Father Bob

Fr. Bob was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Buffalo on July 3, 1987. He has served in a diversity of ministries and assignments as a transitional deacon, parochial vicar, pastor and Episcopal Vicar. Assignments have included parishes in the inner city (St. James, Buffalo), suburbs (St. Amelia, Tonawanda; St. Philip the Apostle, Cheektowaga; St. Mary, Swormville), campus ministry (University of Buffalo), and the formation faculty of Christ the King Seminary, East Aurora. He, formerly, assisted with weekend masses at St. Barnabas Parish, Depew, and Ss. Peter & Paul Parish, Hamburg. He has served as a Catholic Chaplain for individuals with developmental disabilities for almost 25 years and continues to celebrate a weekly mass, with this community, on Saturday evenings at St. John Vianney Church.

Fr. Bob was officially appointed pastor of St. John Vianney Parish in May, 2012. In addition, he remains a part-time member of the seminary formation faculty, a member of the Board of Directors for Peaceprints™ Prison Ministries, and a member of the Catholic Urban Outreach Network.

Recent involvements: chairperson of the Board of Directors for Peaceprints™ Prison Ministries, coordinator of the Catholic Urban Outreach Network, and a member of the Clinical Pastoral Education Professional Advisory Committee, Sisters Hospital.

Fr. Bob has a brother and 2 sisters of whom he is the eldest. He boasts of 2 nieces and 5 nephews. His father and mother reside, happy and healthy, in Niagara County. He attended 14 Holy Helpers Elementary School (Gardenville), St. Mary’s High School (Lancaster). Canisius College (BA Biology), the University at Buffalo –Roswell Park Division (MA Natural Sciences) and Christ the King Seminary (MDiv).


Father Lukasz

The road to the priesthood took Transitional Deacon Lukasz Kopala from Poland to the United States four years ago where he spent a pastoral year at St. Vincent de Paul Parish in Niagara Falls and was ordained by Bishop Richard J. Malone at St. Joseph Cathedral in Buffalo on June 6th.

Father Kopala, recently celebrated his 35th birthday, taught religious education to sixth-grade students at Catholic Academy of Niagara Falls, where he shared stories of his life in Poland, talked about the importance of vocations and was involved with youth ministry. He participated in St. Vincent de Paul's RCIA program for adults interested in becoming new members of the Catholic Church. He also preached at daily Masses, gave homilies at weekend Masses once a month and participated in weddings, baptisms and funeral arrangements.

Learn more about Father Lukasz from the WNY Catholic articles...  

                     Father Lukasz in NF                                                        Ordination         

               Catholic Academy of Niagara Falls                                                       Ordination 2015


Deacon Don

Official notification from Bishop Malone was received that Deacon Don Weigel has been assigned to our Parish as a permanent deacon!  We will begin tsee Deacon Don at weekend Masses beginning on Sunday, September 6th.  As he and his wife become members of the parish, please give them a warm welcome.   We are certainly blessed to have Deacon Don join us in service and ministry with the many gifts and talents that he brings with him.

Deacon Don Weigel was ordained to the Permanent Diaconate on May 29, 2010. He has been married to his wife Kathy for 40 years, and they have three grown children and two grandsons.  He received his Masters degree in Theology in 2009 from Christ the King Seminary as part of his preparation for the Diaconate.  Deacon Don is currently assigned to the Public Policy department of Catholic Charities, where, among other responsibilities, he publishes the “Justice Update” newsletter. He has recently been named a “Global Fellow” by Catholic Relief Services, being commissioned to preach the CRS vision of a just world to help end global poverty. He currently writes a monthly column in the Western New York Catholic called “Justice Perspective” and has given numerous presentations on social justice, ministry and spirituality issues.

Deacon Don’s most recent assignment was to Immaculate Conception Parish in East Aurora, NY where he coordinated the Adult Faith Formation program as well as participated in the Salt & Light Ministry in the parish, a ministry to coordinate the social outreach of the parish.  He is also an instructor in the Continuing Education Program at Christ the King Seminary. He regularly gives talks, presentations and retreats to a wide variety of audiences. Deacon Don is also active in prison ministry at Collins Correctional Facility.