Diocesan News

20 Years a Bishop

Deacon Franklin Munoz and his wife, Ana Maria, from Incarnation parish, Queens Village, congratulate the bishop.
Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio is seated in the sanctuary at the Immaculate Conception Center, Douglaston, surrounded by priests, deacons and seminarians.
He concelebrates a Mass of thanksgiving for his 20 years as a bishop.
From left, are Auxiliary Bishops Witold Mroziewski, Octavio Cisneros, James Massa, Bishop DiMarzio, Auxiliary Bishop Raymond Chappetto, visiting Archbishop Paul Pei from China, Auxiliary Bishops Neil Tiedemann, C.P., and Paul Sanchez.

By Ed Wilkinson

To mark the 20th anniversary of his ordination as a bishop, Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio celebrated a Mass of thanksgiving Oct. 30 in the chapel at Immaculate Conception Center, Douglaston.

About 200 priests, deacons, seminarians and diocesan employees attended.

Bishop DiMarzio said that he did not want any special commemoration but, at the urging of some bishops and priests, he decided to quietly observe the occasion. A reception was held following the liturgy.

The bishop called it a celebration of the episcopacy that unites us in faith.

He also said that for the next three years – before he reaches the mandatory retirement age of 75 – he wishes to emphasize recruitment of future priests as a priority in the diocese.

“When my mother was still alive and living in the Camden Diocese, I took her to the first priestly ordination I performed there,” he said. “After the ordination, we were alone going home in the car and she turned to me and said, ‘Now I know what bishops are supposed to do. Make other priests.’ I have never forgotten her words.

“Whatever the Holy Father says is one thing, but what my mother said truly has remained with me since that time. One of the most important roles of a bishop is his mission to bring new priests to birth to serve the Church.”

He added that he has been asked several times what he would like as a gift for his anniversary.

Fill the Ranks

“Truly I do not need anything,” he said. “What I do need to fulfill my episcopal ministry here among you in Brooklyn and Queens is to fill the ranks of those preparing for the priesthood for our diocese.”

He asked for the prayers of the faithful to assist him in continuing the success he has had so far.

“We have been fortunate for the last several years with the number of men ordained to the priesthood, but as we look down the road to the future, we truly are in need of more vocations,” he said.

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Then-Archbishop Theodore McCarrick ordained Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio to the episcopacy on Oct. 31, 1996 at Sacred Heart Cathedral, Newark, N.J. Photo by Frank Wood

The bishop is congratulated by his mother, Grace, upon being named an auxiliary bishop of Newark and Titular Bishop of Mauriana.

Bishop DiMarzio, who has a special devotion to Our Lady of Mount Carmel, was pastor of the parish named in her honor in the Ironbound section of Newark, from 1996 to 1999.

As Bishop of Camden, Bishop DiMarzio was a frequent visitor to the schools in the diocese. Here he helps students at Holy Name School light an Advent Wreath.

During his tenure in Camden, Bishop DiMarzio had a tradition of celebrating a Field Mass with immigrants who served as seasonal workers in the area. Here he is surrounded by workers and their families.

On Oct. 3, 2003, Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio was installed as the seventh Bishop of Brooklyn at a Mass at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Basilica, Sunset Park. At bottom right is Bishop Thomas V. Daily, who served as the sixth Bishop of Brooklyn from 1990 to 2003.

Recognized as an expert on migration issues, Bishop DiMarzio has represented the U.S. Bishops on several fact-finding missions around the world. On a trip to the Middle East in July, 2007, he met Iraqi refugees who fled Baghdad for Beirut, Lebanon, to escape bombing by insurgents.

Bishop DiMarzio greets Pope John Paul II during his 2004 ad limina visit to the Vatican.

He welcomed Pope Francis to New York at Kennedy Airport in October, 2015.

After Mass, Auxiliary Bishop Raymond Chappetto, who serves as vicar general, presented the bishop, on behalf of the priests of the diocese, with a gift certificate to one of his favorite restaurants.

Bishop DiMarzio also said that he was surprised when he received the call 20 years ago from the Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Agostino Cacciavillan, informing him of the Holy Father’s desire to appoint him as an auxiliary bishop of Newark, N.J., his home diocese.

“He began speaking in Italian and said, ‘Chiedere niente e rifiutare niente,’ which I later realized were the words of St. Francis deSales, ‘Ask for nothing and refuse nothing.’ Truly, the then-Archbishop Cacciavillan meant that he wanted me to answer ‘Yes.’ Well, I did answer ‘Yes,’ not knowing what lay before me.”

Bishop DiMarzio explained that being a bishop has been rewarding as well as challenging. “As soon as one thinks you have it all in order, something new happens,” he said. “Every day here in the Diocese in Brooklyn and Queens some new problem has presented itself over these 13 years of my episcopal ministry. These years have never been boring, but they have been challenging.”

Concluding his remarks, the bishop called for a renewed effort at vocation recruitment.

“If you wish to contribute to my episcopal ministry, please give more effort, the best effort that you can, to the identification and recruitment of young men to the priesthood and religious life for Brooklyn and Queens.”

Among the concelebrants for the Mass were all the active auxiliary bishops – Octavio Cisneros, Raymond Chappetto, Paul Sanchez, James Massa, Witold Mroziewski, and Neil Tiedemann, C.P., as well as visiting Archbishop Paul Pei from China.