St. Brendan's Episcopal Church vestry confirmed The Reverend Regis J. Smolko as Priest-in-Charge to serve the church after the conclusion of our appreciative inquiry and through the finalization of our Rector Search.
Father Regis was ordained deacon in June of 1980 and Roman Catholic priest the following June by the Right Reverend Vincent Leonard, Bishop of Pittsburgh. Regis did a Hospital Chaplaincy at Sacred Heart Hospital, Cumberland, MD while completing his MA in Sacred Theology at the Washington Theological Union in Washington, DC. In addition, Regis earned an MA in English before ordination. Prior to and concurrent with his priesthood and as a Capuchin Franciscan friar, Regis served as Dean of Students at St. Fidelis College in Butler County, PA. He was a college professor at the seminary and adjunct professor at Duquesne University, the University of Pittsburgh, Seton Hill College and Penn State University. He served three parishes as parochial vicar and priest-in-charge after ordination: St. Anthony’s Catholic Church, Charleston, WV; St. Patrick’s, Bancroft, WV and St. Augustine’s, Pittsburgh, PA. He assisted at the start-up of Hospice in Kanawha County, WV.
Regis left the Roman Catholic priesthood after several years of active ministry. In addition to starting a family, he secured an MA in Community Counseling and worked as Family Therapist at a local health care facility. As a Certified Addictions’ Counselor, Regis worked In Employee Assistance Programs throughout Western Pennsylvania. He was Director of Outpatient Services and eventually Director of Clinical Services for Greenbriar Treatment Center for many years. Sensing a call to go beyond, Regis developed a training/consultancy business focusing on business leadership. RJJS Quality Consults, Inc. started nationally and gained international status in September of 1998. The company trained and consulted businesses in every state in the union as well as Europe and Australia.
Regis never felt deep down that he left ordained ministry—only his life choices did not afford him the opportunity to officially minister as priest within the structures of the Roman Catholic Church. When the Episcopal Church opened the doors to inclusiveness, Regis and Ken, his partner, learned about this church and eventually were received as Episcopalians. Shortly afterwards, Regis was admitted into the Priestly Discernment of the Episcopal Church.
During this four-year process the State of Pennsylvania legalized same sex marriage. Fearing this might be repealed by the opposing governor at the time, Regis and Ken legalized their 30+ year life together by civilly marrying each other on June 3, 2014. Their marriage was blessed in the Episcopal Church of the Redeemer in Pittsburgh that same year on September 13th. The Reception Process continued and culminated in full Reception to Episcopal Priesthood on December 17, 2016 by the Right Reverend Dorsey McConnell. Ordained Roman Catholic priests do not need to be re-ordained in the Episcopal Church—only officially received after an extensive process. Regis’ sponsoring Episcopal Church is Church of the Redeemer in Squirrel Hill; he spent nearly a year’s internship at St. David’s Episcopal Church in Peters Township, PA; and since June of 2016, he both interned at St. Brendan’s, and until his appointment as priest-in-charge, served as assistant rector at St. Brendan’s.