Father Ronald W. Sams, SJ, pastor emeritus of St. Michael Parish in Buffalo, New York, died June 27, 2017, in Kenmore Mercy Hospital. He was 88.
He was born Dec. 29, 1928, in Buffalo, New York, to William and Loretta Sams. After graduating from Canisius High School in Buffalo, New York, in 1946, he entered St. Andrew on Hudson in Poughkeepsie and attended St. Louis University in Missouri. He also majored in theology at Woodstock College in Maryland.
Fr. Sams was ordained in 1959 at Fordham University Chapel in the Bronx, completed his tertianship in 1961 and professed final vows in 1963.
Father Sams served as school vocational promoter for the New York Province of the Jesuits from 1961-65, as well as assistant director and director of the Jesuit Seminary and Mission Bureau. In 1965, he began serving at Canisius High School, where he continued serving as provincial school vocational promoter and director of external missions for the local province of the Jesuits. From 1970-74, he served as director of spirituality in Guam at the Jesuits’ pre-novitiate house on the South Pacific island.
After returning to New York in 1974, he returned to Canisius High School to serve as the school’s director of development. He went on sabbatical from 1982-83 before serving in the Caroline Islands from 1983-95, where he served as a secretary and assistant for financial development for the Jesuit bishop there.
That year, he returned to his alma mater to serve as chaplain to parents and alumni at the high school, as well as subminister for a brief period in 1998, until 2001.
In 2001, Father Sams became a minister and chaplain to parents and alumni for the Canisius Jesuit community, and continued serving as advisor for the Gambit auction at Canisius High School. He remained there until 2003, when he began serving as superior and later pastor for St. Michael Church in Buffalo until 2013, when he was named pastor emeritus. He remained in residence there with the faculties of a parochial vicar.
Father Sams served on the Presbyteral Council, a primary consultative body to the diocesan bishop, and served as a member of the College of Consultors since 2000.