Bishop-elect Edward B. Scharfenberger was a member of a class that saw many changes and shifts in seminary education.
When he began high school at Cathedral Preparatory Seminary, it was located at 555 Washington Avenue, on the corner of Atlantic Avenue, in Brooklyn. In his junior year, the class was split when the Elmhurst campus of Cathedral Prep was built, and he was assigned to the Queens branch.
When he enrolled at Cathedral College, it was back to the Brooklyn site, where the first two years of college were located. Normally, the junior year of college would have been taught at Immaculate Conception Seminary campus in Huntington, L.I. But when the future bishop was set to begin his third year, the diocese opened the Douglaston campus of Cathedral College as a four-year college-seminary. He became a member of the first graduating class from Douglaston in 1969.
He completed his studies for the priesthood at the North American College in Rome, where he was ordained on July 2, 1973 in St. Peter’s Basilica by then-Bishop James Hickey.
Members of his Cathedral class – both ordained and laymen – had this to say about their classmate:
“He is a good and talented priest – not bad qualities to make a good bishop! He goes with the prayers of his brother-priests of Brooklyn, which he will need to face the challenges that might come his way.”
Msgr. Otto L. Garcia
Pastor, St. Joan of Arc,
“I was privileged to study with Ed for seven years, four at Cathedral Prep and three at the seminary college. I remember Ed as a rather quiet, reserved, soft-spoken and very smart gentleman with a profound, inner strength of character. As a realist grounded in the spiritual, he will serve as an excellent bishop for the Church at Albany. God bless you, Ed!”
John F. Janowski
New Hyde Park, L.I.
“Ed Scharfenberger was a student at Cathedral College in Douglaston when I entered the Brooklyn Diocese. He was a very smart student and was very talented in many areas. Then he was sent to Rome for his theology studies, and we lost touch.
“However, his priesthood back home was filled with great and important experiences. He is an excellent canon lawyer because he has the discipline and focus to learn to love the law. As a pastor, he blossomed into a dedicated missionary for his parish. He made a point to learn and speak the languages of his people and was not afraid to use them.
“He was a creative pastor who managed a multi-ethnic parish with great skill and know-how. I am not surprised that he was chosen to be a bishop. I am very proud of him, and I am sure he will be a great gift to the Diocese of Albany.”
Msgr. Ronald Marino
Pastor, Regina Pacis-St. Rosalia, Bensonhurst
Vicar for Migrant and Ethnic Apostolates
“When one of the students at our high school died in a tragic automobile accident, Edward accepted our invitation to preside at her funeral. He preached with a sensitivity and faith that touched her classmates and consoled her family.
“He masterfully wove together anecdotes from her life, images from her favorite musical ‘The Little Mermaid’ and the message of the Gospel. The transparency of his faith brought us through profound grief to renewed hope.”
“Even as a teen, young Eddie exhibited the traits that would make him a marvelous pastor and now shepherd. In the classrooms, he was a sponge soaking up everything there was to learn and yet never flaunting his intelligence.
“In extracurricular activities, he immersed himself totally. In the hallways, his kindness, his attentiveness and his listening skills impressed even those who went on to great achievements in their worlds. In the chapel, Ed’s holiness and sanctity was evident in a most quiet, unassuming manner. The People of God in Albany are blessed to share our friend from our youth.”
Michael (Mickey) Carr
Cape May, N.J.
“It is with great joy and enthusiasm that my family and I celebrate the choice of my good friend and classmate, Msgr. Scharfenberger, to be the new bishop of Albany.
“Many of us, his classmates, truly believe he will make a good bishop due to his deep spirituality, excellent critical thinking skills, inspirational sermons and pastoral and legal experiences. When we were in our mid-20s, Ed and I traveled cross-country, and I can affirm from this unique experience that he is a man of patience, generosity, kindness and sensitivity. Albany, you are truly blessed. Ad multos annos.”
“I have fond memories of Cathedral H.S. and College classmate Eddie Scharfenberger, always affable and with a smile. Ed was so smart but never threw it around. I just remember him always there with a willingness to help and ready for any bit of fun we might conjure up.
“Make no mistake, though, Bishop-elect Ed Scharfenberger’s deep spirituality, love of Christ and the priesthood and care for all, go way back. The people of the Albany Diocese are so blessed to have him as their new shepherd.”
“I recall one night spending some time in the music room (in Douglaston). I was meeting with a couple of guys, and there in the corner was Ed relaxing while playing Bach on the piano. I walked over to see what he was playing as his fingers were flying over the keyboard. To music aficionados, it might have been a non-event. But to this kid with minimal music training, think choir, I could not believe all of the notes he was digesting and playing. How could this guy master Latin, Greek, philosophy, etc. and still have time to climb this music mountain? And I don’t know if he missed a note, but it sure sounded beautiful.”
Boca Raton, Fla.