Five priests were ordained by Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio on Saturday, June 30, at St. Joseph Co-Cathedral, Prospect Heights. Four were ordained to serve the Diocese of Brooklyn and Queens while a fifth will minister here temporarily as he awaits return to his home diocese in Vietnam.
The new priests are Fathers Jose Diaz, Patrick Dorelus, Joseph Dutan, Hung Xuan Cao and Alessandro Linardi.
Fathers Diaz and Dutan were born here of Hispanic parents. Father Dorelus was born in Haiti, Father Cao in Vietnam and Father Linardi in Germany of Italian parents.
In his address to the newly ordained, Bishop DiMarzio told them, “By the gift of yourself, you will bring others to Christ. Understand what you do and imitate what you celebrate.”
On the day prior to ordination, the Bishop spent a day of prayer and recollection with the five men.
Joining Bishop DiMarzio at the ordination Mass were Auxiliary Bishops Raymond Chappetto, James Massa, Octavio Cisneros, Paul Sanchez and Neil Tiedemann as well as Archbishop Bernardito Auza, papal nuncio to the United Nations.
More than 150 priests participated in the ceremony that is steeped in tradition and history. After Bishop DiMarzio placed his hands on the head of each new priest, signifying the passing on of the priestly ministry, each priest in attendance came forward and did likewise as the newest members of the presbyterate knelt at the altar rail.
The new priests all pledged loyalty and obedience to their Bishop who in turn anointed each one’s hands with holy oils that had been blessed at the annual Mass of Chrism during Holy Week.
Several men said they were particularly moved when they lied prostrate in the sanctuary and the entire congregation chanted the litany of the saints.
“My whole life just flew by me,” said Father Dutan. “I was thinking how much the Lord has been working in my life.”
Father Dorelus added that while lying in the sanctuary he was “telling God to take me to serve you and to do Your will.”
“Service is in my DNA,” said the Haitian-born priest. “This is who I am.”
Father Diaz said he also was moved by the imposition of hands by the priests.
“I was just saying ‘Come Holy Spirit.’ I was just feeling complete surrender and allowing the Lord to fill me up,” said Father Diaz.
Jose Diaz, Sr., the father of the newly-ordained, said that he “was feeling things I never felt before. It was like my body wasn’t here. I felt like I was being born again.
“The moment the Bishop put his hands on his head was something special. I knew he was a priest then.”
Irisa Diaz, mother of Father Jose, exclaimed, “It’s a gift for the Church and for the family. We are giving thanks to God. I hope that he will be the same, giving his best to the people and showing that he cares and loves them.”
Mrs. Dutan, speaking in Spanish, told Currents TV News that the event was emotional for her. She was overwhelmed that this new priest had come from her womb.
Mr. Dutan added that he was certain his son will do well as a priest. “He’s a good kid. He’s a great guy,” he said. “I give thanks to God. I am very proud of him.”
Angela Linardi, mother of Father Alessandro, explained to Currents in Italian how emotional the whole day had been for her.
“I am so thankful to Almighty God,” said Father Linardi, who has a special devotion to Padre Pio. The new priest attributes his vocation to the Italian saint who is well loved in the Brooklyn Diocese.
About 1,000 people filled St. Joseph’s Co-Cathedral. Among them was a large number of Vietnamese who now live in the United States.
Father Cao’s family could not travel from Vietnam because of the unavailability of visas. He said he was particularly happy that so many people of Vietnamese descent were able to be with him on this day.
“I feel I have been lifted up by God,” said Father Cao. “I am a fragile being but God has done everything for me. I believe in His grace so that I can do whatever He wants me to do.”
Reflecting the nationalities of the new priests, the readings at the Mass were done in Haitian-Creole, Spanish and English. Bishop DiMarzio also briefly addressed the congregation in each of those languages as well as in Italian and Vietnamese.
At the end of the two hours-plus liturgy, the new priests blessed the bishops individually. Following the recessional, they returned to the sanctuary to bestow first blessings on members of their families and friends.
On the following days, the newly ordained celebrated their First Masses: Father Cao at Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Astoria; Father Diaz, Blessed Sacrament, Jackson Heights; Father Dorelus, American Martyrs, Bayside; Father Dutan, St. Teresa, Woodside; and Father Linardi, Immaculate Conception, Astoria.