Editor’s Note: This is the fourth article in the Tablet’s series “Before They Were Priests,” a look at the interesting and diverse professions priests held before they answered God’s call to the priesthood.
PARK SLOPE — An interest in finance and an ability to speak Japanese got Father Frank Tumino started in a banking career that he devoted himself to before he answered God’s call to the priesthood.
Fresh from graduating from St. John’s University in 1989, where he majored in finance and minored in economics and Japanese, he got a job at the Bank of Japan.
“I jumped at the opportunity,” recalled Father Tumino, the pastor of St. Francis Xavier Church in Park Slope. “I had worked all through high school and college for banks in lower Manhattan.”
After a few months, he left the Bank of Japan and moved on to Chase Manhattan Bank (now Chase Bank), where he secured a position as a collateral analyst for the international private banking division.
In that role, he worked with money managers (the bank called them relationship managers) who handled clients who were U.S. non-citizens and had accounts with the bank worth millions of dollars.
“I would work with the relationship managers to ensure the safety of our financial position at Chase and also allow the clients the liquidity to do the various things they wanted to do with their money,” he explained.
There were complications, however. Because of exchange rates between countries, the value of currency fluctuates. “You had to explain to the client that the money they had with the company was not always worth what they thought,” Father Tumino explained.
He decided to move out of that role while remaining at Chase Manhattan Bank and applied for a position with the bank’s management development program. He was accepted, which was quite a coup, since the program was filled with Ivy League graduates. “I was one of the few existing employees they let into the program,” he said.
Father Tumino enjoyed a variety of experiences in the program. “I went down to Florida and was the manager of the student loan division in Tampa. I came back to New York for more classes in the development program and ended up in the Penn Station bank branch in retail banking,” he recalled.
At the Penn Station branch, he became friendly with two co-workers who returned from lunch one day and told him they had talked about him, wondering what he was doing working in a bank when he would have made such a great priest.
That was something he had been thinking about but he decided to stick with banking for the time being. He left the branch and was assigned to private banking at Chase, where he once again handled clients with big money portfolios.
But the idea of entering the priesthood started to dominate his thoughts. Because he was a St. John’s University graduate and had taken several theology and philosophy courses, he would have needed only nine additional credits in philosophy for the Diocese of Brooklyn to consider his application to attend the seminary.
He took the nine necessary credits at a college in Indiana over the course of a single summer. He enrolled in the Seminary of the Immaculate Conception in Huntington in 1992 and was ordained in 1998.
After Mass one day at Our Lady Queen of Martyrs Church in Forest Hills, where he was assigned at the time, he was approached by one of his two former co-workers from the Penn Station bank branch.
“She came up to me and said, ‘We were right, weren’t we?’ That made me smile,” he said.
Father Bryan Patterson
Father Bryan Patterson worked in a series of jobs before his ordination that gave him the chance to perfect his organizational skills — skills he uses today in his role as rector of Cathedral Basilica of St. James in Downtown Brooklyn.
“My first job was at American Express. I was in the accounts payable department and I was responsible for the invoices for the expense accounts for the executives. So I had to do all that, plus answer phones and do various other things. I didn’t really know accounting but I ended up doing a lot of accounting,” he recalled.
Father Patterson, who left college to work for American Express, returned to school for a while, attending Pace University. But he soon found himself back at work, taking a job at a company called Eastern Temporaries. “And because of that job, I got a job at L’Oreal. And then I ended up at Orion Pictures. I just did a lot of clerical work,” he said.
No matter the job he was doing, he always displayed a strong work ethic and as a result, was offered jobs. “I was never trained for any job I had. And I never had a job that I actually studied for,” he said.
Father Patterson landed a job at Kasuga Limited, a Japanese-owned company, working in the firm’s American division as a customer service and distribution manager. “It was a leading tabletop company. We did dinnerware, glassware, and flatware. We had big accounts: JCPenney, Target, Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s,” he said.
His boss was tough on him, but looking back, he is grateful. “He pushed me to the limit. But he truly believed in my capacity and he would not take no for an answer. He pushed and pushed and pushed until he got me to do what needed to be done. And to this day, I keep that with me,” Father Patterson admitted.
However, throughout his working life, “it always seemed that I was destined for something different,” Father Patterson recalled.
His co-workers seemed to sense it too. “Even though I think people found me personable, they always seemed to be looking at me as if they were asking ‘Why are you here?’ ” he remembered.
He was right and so were they. He realized that God was calling him to the priesthood.
Father Patterson had grown up with no religion and became a Lutheran as an adult. However, while working in Midtown, he began attending a Catholic church on Lexington Avenue.
There, he met a nun who asked him a question that forced him to articulate what he had been feeling in his heart. “The idea of a calling kept coming over me, and she asked me if I had ever thought of becoming a priest,” he said.
“I remember thinking ‘Why in the world would you ask me that?’ But of course, on a certain level, I knew why she was asking me that,” he explained.
Father Patterson became Catholic and eventually enrolled in a seminary. He was ordained in 1998.
Msgr. Edward Doran
There are men who came to the priesthood after serving the Church as religious brothers. Msgr. Edward Doran, the special assistant to the vicar for clergy and consecrated life for the Diocese of Brooklyn, is one of those men.
He served as a Marist Brother for 22 years before he was ordained a priest in 1984.
Throughout his adult life, the ever-busy Msgr. Doran also counseled students and served as a campus minister at several schools, including St. John’s University.
Born into a family of eight children, he grew up in Glen Cove and attended St. Mary’s Boys High School. “I was educated by the Marist Brothers, a phenomenal group of men. Having been so impressed with them, I chose to go to Marist College in Poughkeepsie,” he recalled
Shortly after graduating, he took his vows as a Marist brother. His first assignment was at Archbishop Molloy High School in 1966 teaching biology. Before long, he earned a master’s degree in counseling at St. John’s University and became a guidance counselor at Archbishop Molloy.
In the early 1970s, he was awarded a grant that enabled him to study for a Ph.D. in psychology at St. John’s University. “I was working at Archbishop Molloy during the day and going to school at night to get a Ph.D.,” he recalled.
With the Ph.D. in hand in 1973, he pursued a second doctorate in theology at Fordham University.
“I’m what you call an obsessive, compulsive, neurotic, educated person,” he joked.
But his life was about to take a turn, one that would have him leaving New York. “Having achieved the doctorate, St. John’s University submitted my name for what was called the distinguished visiting professor at St. Francis University in Fort Wayne. So in 1977, I flew to Fort Wayne, Indiana, and became the chairman and professor of counseling at St. Francis University,” he explained.
At one point during his years there, he was asked by the bishop of the Fort Wayne-South Bend Diocese to take over the chaplaincy of the St. Francis campus.
It turned out to be more than a new job. “What happened was, the students at the university began to regard me as a priest. They didn’t make any distinction whatsoever. They knew to call me brother but they didn’t know the distinction between the brother or priest,” he explained.
“In 1983 I wrote to Bishop (Francis) Mugavero, the bishop of Brooklyn, saying that I was prayerfully considering priesthood and would like to speak to him about it. One year later, he ordained me a priest for the diocese,” he said.
Because of his theological background, Msgr. Doran did not have to attend seminary. Over the years, he served as pastor of three churches — St. Francis Xavier in Park Slope, St. Charles Borromeo in Brooklyn Heights and St. Gerard Majella in Hollis.
However, Msgr. Doran didn’t leave academia behind. He also served as an adjunct professor at St. John’s University.
Msgr. Doran is currently a member of the health and wellness committee of the diocese. “I am available for priests who would like some assistance and some spiritual direction,” he said.
He sums up his life this way: “I have spent 39 years as a priest and 20 years as a Marist brother, both of which were in the service of the Church, and have been a source of profound blessings. happiness, and joy,” he said.