by Ed Wilkinson
The eight men ordained to the priesthood June 29 at St. James Cathedral-Basilica reflect the multi-ethnic diversity of Brooklyn and Queens. They come from Haitian, Filipino, Korean, West Indian and European backgrounds, but for the first time, the ordination class includes a second generation Korean and Filipino born in the U.S.
“We acknowledge in a special way the diverse ethnic backgrounds that you represent here today,” Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio told the ordinands.
Speaking in Tagalog, Korean and French-Creole, he thanked those communities for nurturing the vocations to the priesthood.
The Mass readings were done in Korean, French-Creole and English.
In attendance were Auxiliary Bishops Octavio Cisneros, a native of Cuba; Auxiliary Bishops Raymond Chappetto and Paul Sanchez; and retired Auxiliary Bishop Guy Sansaricq, who was born in Haiti. Close to 150 priests also joined in the concelebration.
Msgr. Robert Thelen, rector of Cathedral House of Formation, Douglaston, called the names of the ordinands. Bishop Chappetto, Vicar for Clergy, then made a formal request of ordination to Bishop DiMarzio, who announced his intention to confer the sacrament. The congregation showed its approval by applause.
In his homily, Bishop DiMarzio told the new priests that “You will make Christ present to the faithful.”
And he reminded them that “It was Christ, Himself, Our High priest, who chose certain disciples to carry out publicly in His name on behalf of mankind a priestly office in the Church.”
But he also warned that the road ahead could be dangerous.
“You are ordained at this time in the history of the world, in this time in the history of our country, when we see severe attacks on what religious freedom is all about, even though the freedom of worship is protected by our Constitution,” explained Bishop DiMarzio.
“Freedom of conscience is at stake today. There are many, many issues of government intervention into the life of our Church and into the lives of faithful individual Catholics.
“You have a great work ahead of you, to teach the world the truth about God and about man.
“These are no small tasks but having looked on you for many years in your training, I know you are up to the task.”
Following the homily, the candidates knelt before the bishop and promised fidelity to him and his successors. They then prostrated themselves in the sanctuary as the community invoked the Litany of the Saints.
The bishop then laid hands on the heads of each ordinand symbolizing the unbroken chain of priesthood from the Apostles and the actual moment of ordination.
Bishop DiMarzio also anointed the hands of each priest and presented each a chalice and paten. A sign of peace completed the ceremony which then moved to the Liturgy of the Eucharist.
The new priests were assigned to the following parishes: Father Dwayne D. Davis, St. Thomas Aquinas, Flatlands; Father Raymond K. Flores, Divine Mercy, Williamsburg; Father Stephen Michael Giulietti, St. Bernadette, Dyker Heights; Father Paul Young Kim, St. Kevin, Flushing; Father Jun Hee Lee, summer at Incarnation, Queens Village, returning to complete studies in Rome in the fall; Father Michael Pierre Louis, SS. Joachim and Anne, Queens Village; Father Killick Pierrilus, St. Teresa of Avila, Crown Heights; and Father Lucon Rigaud, St. Jerome, East Flatbush.
The ceremony was not without its drama. Father Lucon Rigaud momentarily lost consciousness while the priests of the diocese were imposing hands on the heads of the new priests. He was taken to the sacristy for treatment by EMS but returned to the altar at the close of the ceremony to deliver his first blessing to Bishop DiMarzio and the auxiliary bishops.
First blessings were administered to the faithful by the new priests in St. James Pavilion across from the cathedral after the Mass.
First Masses in the new priests’ home parishes were scheduled for the following day.