For Father Daniel O. Kingsley, 26, the journey to priesthood began with one simple question: “Have you ever considered Cathedral Preparatory Seminary?”
The oldest of four children born to Daniella and the late Idowu Kingsley, Haitian and Nigerian immigrants, respectively, he was raised in St. Vincent Ferrer parish, East Flatbush.
Both of his parents worked five days a week so he and his siblings could have a good life. “Everything they had was for us,” he said.
Through their sacrifices, he attended his parish school, where classmates said they could see him as a priest one day. And when the time came, his teacher, Mary Anne Muller, asked him to think about attending the high school seminary.
“I thought, ‘If she sees something in me, why not give Cathedral Prep a chance?’”
At Cathedral Prep Seminary, Elmhurst, he was inspired by the example of the priests on faculty, particularly Father John Cush.
“He told me that if I felt called or believed myself called to the priesthood, I had a responsibility to answer, to discern if God is really calling me to the lifelong commitment of the priesthood,” he said.
Sustained by God
After four years, he went onto Cathedral Seminary Residence, Douglaston, with the idea that: “If God’s calling me, He’ll sustain me. If not, He’ll lead me elsewhere.”
Not only did he receive sustenance, but also affirmation as he continued his formation at Immaculate Conception Seminary, Huntington, L.I., and St. Joseph Seminary, Yonkers.
He holds a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and political science from St. John’s University, Jamaica; a master’s in theology and a master of divinity degree from St. Joseph Seminary; and a bachelor of sacred theology degree from the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas, Rome.
His pastoral preparation included experiences serving at Our Lady of the Snows parish, N. Floral Park, for two summers; attending World Youth Days in Australia and Madrid; and completing his diaconate year at St. Martin de Porres parish, Bedford-Stuyvesant.
He has also become a familiar face at several parishes, including Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, Astoria; St. Mary’s, Winfield, and St. Gerard Majella, Hollis, where Father Josephjude Gannon, the pastor, has taken him under his wing.
“Father Gannon showed me that God calls ordinary men to extraordinary things, and when we do things for God, especially at the expense of ourselves, it bears much fruit.
“Certain things are hard – like learning a second language, but if it helps to bring people closer to God and build up the Kingdom, it’s all worth it,” he said.
In his priesthood, Father Kinsgley looks forward to celebrating the sacraments, particularly offering Mass and hearing confessions, as well as preaching, fostering devotions and visiting the sick.
“I want to be the best typical parish priest I can be,” he said.
Inspired by Bishop-elect James Massa, who taught a seminary-level class on ecumenism, he also has an interest in “how we as Catholics dialogue with other Christian churches, communities and traditions.”
Father Kingsley has a devotion to the Blessed Mother and tries to pray the rosary every day. He draws inspiration from Mary’s example as the first disciple.
“In her humility, we learn something,” he said. “In surrendering our will to God as she did, we learn to participate in His plan for us.”
His mother and siblings, David, Joshua and Faimie, will attend his ordination. His former pastor, Msgr. Joseph Nugent, and Father James Reynolds, a senior priest friend he came to know while studying at Douglaston, will vest him.
Father Kingsley will offer his first Mass of thanksgiving at his home parish of St. Vincent Ferrer Church on Sunday, June 28 at 11 a.m.