In October 2013, the Most Reverend Richard J. Malone, bishop of Buffalo, ordained two seminarians as transitional deacons. On Saturday, June 7, Bishop Malone will ordain these men to the priesthood. The ordination of Rev. Mr. John W. Adams (right) and Rev. Mr. Bryan J. Zielenieski (left) will take place at 10 a.m. at St. Joseph Cathedral, 50 Franklin St., Buffalo. Both men earned a master’s degree in divinity and graduated from Christ the King Seminary, on May 9.
Both Deacon Adams and Deacon Zielenieski came to the priesthood after having a career in the secular world. Deacon Adams spent decades working with families and individuals with special needs or teaching and/or counseling in several colleges. He has been a school psychologist, college professor, psychological consultant and a psychologist counseling primarily families with members who were deaf or developmentally disabled.
A Pennsylvania native, Deacon Adams also holds a bachelor’s degree in special education from Pennsylvania State University and both a master’s degree and doctorate in counseling psychology from the University of California, Los Angeles. He loved the work he did before entering the seminary, but he felt something was lacking in his life. “I felt a strong need to bring people closer to God and live my life in faith.”
For Deacon Zielenieski, the idea of becoming a priest first came to light when he was an altar boy serving at Mass. “I remember watching the priest at the altar and saying to myself, ‘I could do that!’ Then I pretty much forgot about priesthood until I went to college and became active in the local parish there.” After college, Deacon Zielenieski became more active in his home parish.
The Arcade native is a graduate of the State University of New York at Cobleskill where he earned an associate’s degree in dairy management and a bachelor’s degree in agricultural business and has a teaching certificate in agricultural education from Buffalo State College. He has worked on the family farm and as an agricultural teacher as well as in various positions in parishes, from music director to pastoral associate to confirmation coordinator.