Diocesan News

Diocese Announces New Vicar General, Other Top Positions

PROSPECT HEIGHTS — Bishop Robert Brennan announced Wednesday several prominent changes to his Chancery administration. 

Msgr. Joseph R. Grimaldi of St. Bernard of Clairvaux Church was named the new vicar general for the diocese, taking over for Auxiliary Bishop Emeritus Raymond Chappetto, whose retirement was accepted by Pope Francis on March 7.

Msgr. Joseph Grimaldi

“Msgr. Joseph Grimaldi has been a part of the Diocese of Brooklyn his entire life, from his days as a Catholic school student to his pastoral leadership,” Bishop Brennan said. “His knowledge of the people and the parishes of the diocese, as well as Church law, make him the ideal person to serve as the next vicar general.” 

Msgr. Grimaldi said he is “humbled and honored” by the appointment. 

“[Bishop Brennan’s] kind and compassionate leadership has, in just a few short months, given a new sense of hope to so many in our diocese, especially as we attempt to re-establish the bonds of mutual love and support so fractured by the coronavirus pandemic,” Msgr. Grimaldi said. 

“The generous service of so many in our diocese — laity, religious, and clergy —  working together in building up the body of Christ has always been the hallmark of this great diocese; one I have been privileged to serve as a priest for 38 years,” he continued. 

Msgr. Grimaldi was born in Astoria, Queens. He is a graduate of Msgr. McClancy High School and St. John’s University. He entered the Immaculate Conception Seminary in Huntington in 1978 and was ordained into the priesthood by Bishop Francis Mugavero in 1983.

Msgr. Grimaldi has served in several Brooklyn parishes. He has led St. Bernard’s in Mill Basin since 2017. He previously served as pastor of St. Mark’s Church in Sheepshead Bay and as parochial vicar of St. John the Evangelist in Sunset Park and St. Ephrem in Dyker Heights. 

Then-Father Grimaldi received a Canon Law degree from the Catholic University of America in Washington D.C. in 1992. He then returned to the Diocese of Brooklyn and served as adjunct judicial vicar for the diocesan tribunal from 1992-2000. 

Msgr. Grimaldi was named a monsignor by Pope Benedict XVI in 2012. He then served as the territorial episcopal vicar for Brooklyn from 2012 to 2020. 

Bishop Brennan also announced the filing of other key positions in the Chancery: Father Patrick J. Keating, Esq., as Moderator of the Curia and Msgr. Steven Aguggia, J.C.L., as Vicar for Canonical Affairs. 

Father Patrick J. Keating, Esq.

Father Keating also serves as econome, vicar for financial administration, and general counsel for the diocese. He also serves as the deputy CEO of Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens. He was ordained to the priesthood on June 4, 2005. 

Msgr. Aguggia has served as the chancellor of the diocese since January 2020, and as pastor of St. Pancras Church in Glendale since September 2020. He was ordained to the priesthood on May 22, 1993. 

The positions of moderator of the curia and vicar for canonical affairs were previously held by Msgr. Anthony M. Hernandez, J.C.L., who was also chancellor from 2009 to 2020. He will remain pastor of Transfiguration Church in Williamsburg. 

Msgr. Steven Aguggia, J.C.L.

“I appreciate the work he has done in service to diocesan administration for more than a decade,” Bishop Brennan said of Msgr. Hernandez. “He will now be able to devote all his energies to his pastoral work.”

Bishop Brennan also announced that Maryellen Quinn, currently the coordinator of the diocesan safe environment office, was appointed director of the Office of Protection of Children and Young People and temporary victim assistance coordinator. She has worked as the diocese’s safe environment coordinator for the last 12 years. 

Bishop Brennan called Quinn “a valuable member of the team on the frontlines that responds in times of crisis.”

Quinn takes over for Jasmine Salazar, who resigned as director of the Office for Protection of Children and Young People, victim assistance coordinator, and vice chancellor for the diocese. 

Maryellen Quinn

“Her departure is a real loss for us, but I know that some of the processes she put in place will live on,” Bishop Brennan said. 

During her time as victim assistance coordinator, Salazar provided outreach and support for victims and their families, created the Victim’s Advisory Board to make recommendations to the bishop on behalf of victims, streamlined the reporting process, formed a relationship with the NYPD Special Victims Unit to make sure that victims receive a proper response, and helped organize the Masses of Hope and Healing.

“The Diocese of Brooklyn is a model around the country for its work with survivors of clergy sexual abuse,” Bishop Brennan said. “I credit Jasmine Salazar with all that and am grateful for her 13 years of service to the diocese.”