A funeral Mass was offered Aug. 16 at St. Michael's Church, Cohoes, for Rev. Richard Dybas, who died Aug. 12. He was 81 and had been a priest of the Albany Diocese for 55 years.

A native of Amsterdam, he served as associate pastor at St. John the Baptist parish in Chestertown while he was director of Camp Jogues on Brant Lake. Then he became associate pastor at St. Paul the Apostle in Troy, St. Michael's in Cohoes and St. Peter's in Troy, each while teaching at Catholic Central High School in Troy. He served at St. Thomas parish in Schenectady and then St. Stanislaus in Amsterdam and, in 1974, was appointed pastor of St. Michael's parish in Cohoes, where he served until his retirement in 2005.

At St. Michael's, then a Polish parish and still strongly rooted in the culture, Father Dybas was a strong supporter of the parish's ethnic flavor. He celebrated Polish Masses and even performed baptisms, weddings and funerals in Polish by request, although he would recommend that English be used instead so more attendees could actively participate in the sacraments.

"It's a challenge, but it's one that I enjoy doing," he said of the bilingual responsibilities. "I love the music and the singing and the Polish traditions that go along with it." In May of this year, he visited St. Michael's again for a Polish Heritage Day.

It's no surprise that, after retirement, Father Dybas continued in ministry, serving as chaplain to the Veterans Administration Medical Center in Albany. "Being a priest has filled my life with joy and satisfaction. I would heartily encourage young men to consider serving God and His people as a priest," he had told The Evangelist in an interview for his 40th ordination anniversary.

His service over, may he be welcomed into God's heavenly kingdom and granted eternal life and peace. Interment was in St. Stanislaus Cemetery, Amsterdam.