By Daniel Esparza
With a Mass celebrated by Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio, at St. Brigid’s in Bushwick, Father Jorge Ortiz-Garay was installed as the parish’s new pastor.
He succeeds Msgr. James J. Kelly, who had served the parish since 1977. Msgr. Kelly will continue to serve the St. Brigid’s community as in-residence pastor emeritus.
Prior to his installment, Father Ortiz-Garay was already working as the administrator of the parish, and had assumed some of Msgr. Kelly’s pastoral functions.
Born in Mexico City, Father Ortiz-Garay was influenced by Benedictine monks during his childhood. He joined the community of the Neocatechumenal Way at the age of 18, and later studied law under the leadership and direction of the Legion of Christ.
He discerned his priestly vocation during the first years of his professional practice, and in 1996 began his formation in Italy. He was later sent to study concurrently at the Redemptoris Mater seminary and Seton Hall in New Jersey.
In 2004 he was ordained a priest in by the Archbishop of Newark, John Joseph Myers.
In 2009, Archbishop Myers sent Father Ortiz-Garay to Brooklyn to participate in a mission Bishop DiMarzio had started: working as a vicar for the Co-Cathedral of St. Joseph, and as a chaplain for the ‘missio ad gentes’ in Brooklyn.
Addressing the whole community in a bilingual Mass, Bishop DiMarzio commented on the gospel of the day in both English and Spanish, comparing Brigid with the inn the Good Samaritan takes the injured man to after finding him half-dead alongside the road.
“The parish,” DiMarzio explained, “should be the place where we meet, serve, receive, and care for those who apparently are not like us; here, we receive those who are injured, who need our help. The parish must always reach out to all those who need it, regardless of who that person is.”
Bishop DiMarzio proceeded to appoint Father Ortiz-Garay as the new pastor to the applause of the entire congregation.
The Mass was attended by several priests, fellow students with Father Ortiz-Garay’s in the seminary, members of the clergy of the Diocese of Newark, and even the priest’s mother, who traveled from Mexico to accompany him in the celebration.
At the end of the Mass, Father Ortiz-Garay publicly thanked all those attending the Mass, friends and family included, but also all the members of the parish staff who support the multiple apostolates the parish serves.