Three of the five diocesan priests celebrating their 60th anniversaries as priests were ordained June 2, 1956, at St. James Pro-Cathedral in Downtown Brooklyn, by Archbishop Thomas E. Molloy.
Msgr. Matthew F. Foley, pastor emeritus of Epiphany parish, Williamsburg, lives upstate and will celebrate privately.
Born in South Ozone Park, he was baptized in South Ozone Park and attended Cathedral College, Brooklyn, and Immaculate Conception Seminary, Huntington, L.I.
He served as an assistant at Sacred Heart, Adelphi St., Fort Greene, 1956-59, and then as co-director of Catholic Charities’ Family Service until 1965. He was administrator at Epiphany parish, 1960-79, and was named pastor there, where he served until 2003.
Msgr. Foley, who earned his Ed.D. from New York University, was the founding director of Epiphany Youth Center, 1960-2003, and the Windhover Farm summer program, Bethel, N.Y., for children from Epiphany parish, 1965-2003. He also directed Epiphany Youth Hostel, 1984-89, and the Epiphany Early Learning Center, 1963-84.
He received the Association of the Holy Child Award for his work with street children in 1986, the same year he was named a monsignor.
He retired in 2003 and has been working with Mexican migrant workers in upstate New York.
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Father Eugene McGovern, a senior priest who lives at the Bishop Mugavero Residence, Douglaston, will celebrate a Mass of thanksgiving at Immaculate Heart of Mary Church, Windsor Terrace, on June 5 at 11:45 a.m.
Born in Brooklyn, he attended Immaculate Heart of Mary School; St. Michael’s Diocesan H.S., Sunset Park; St. Francis College, Brooklyn Heights; and Immaculate Conception Seminary in Huntington, L.I.
He served at Blessed Sacrament, Jackson Heights, 1956-62; Our Lady of Angels, Bay Ridge, 1962-67; and then was assigned as a spiritual director at Cathedral College, Douglaston, 1967-85.
He was appointed pastor of St. Aloysius, Ridgewood, in 1985 and served there until retirement in 2000.
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Bishop Rene Valero, retired auxiliary bishop of Brooklyn, lives at the Bishop Mugavero Residence for retired priests in Douglaston.
Born in Manhattan, he attended St. Joseph of the Holy Family School, Manhattan; Sacred Heart Mission House H.S., Girard, Penn.; Cathedral College, Brooklyn; and the Immaculate Conception Seminary, Huntington, L.I.
He served as an assistant at St. Michael-St. Edward, Fort Greene, 1956-57; and St. Agatha, Sunset Park, 1957-60.
From 1960 to 1962, he studied for a master’s in social work at Fordham University.
He was then assigned to the staff of Catholic Charities where he was associate director of Family Life until 1979. During that time, he served as director of Family Life, 1964-69, founding director for the Office for the Aging, 1969-74, and coordinator of the Diocesan Hispanic Apostolate, 1974-79.
In 1979, he was appointed as pastor of Blessed Sacrament, Jackson Heights, a position he held until 1982.
On Nov. 4, 1980, he was ordained an auxiliary bishop at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Basilica, Sunset Park.
From 1983 to 1990, he was director of the Diocesan Office of Migration, and from 1990 to 1993 he served as Regional Bishop of Queens.
He also has been chairman of the Diocesan Committee on Racial Harmony, and chairman of the Diocesan Committee on the Elderly.
In 2005, he retired and moved from the Blessed Sacrament Rectory to Bishop Mugavero Residence in 2010.
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Msgr. Perfecto Vazquez, spiritual director for the Spanish Cursillo movement in the diocese, is a native of Galicia, Spain. He attended high school and college in the Benedictine Monastery of Samos in Galicia and studied theology in the Monastery of Montserrat, Catalonia, Spain.
He was ordained a Benedictine monk in Lugo, Spain on July 29, 1956. He was assigned as master of ceremonies in the monastery and for three years was assigned to the minor seminary there.
He came to the U.S. in 1961 and received a master’s in mathematics from St. John’s University, Jamaica. From 1967 to 1970, he was administrator of a private Catholic school in Puerto Rico, where he also taught mathematics. He also was superior of the monastery there.
He came to Brooklyn in 1970 and worked as an assistant at St. Agnes parish, Boerum Hill, 1970-75.
He was incardinated in 1975 and was named pastor of Visitation B.V.M., Red Hook, where he served until 1986. He also served as pastor of St. Agnes, 1986-94, and Guardian Angel, Brighton Beach, 1995-2008.
He was named a monsignor in 1982.
When he retired in 2008, he moved to St. Teresa’s rectory, Woodside. He also serves as a member of the Presbyteral Council.
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Msgr. Leo J. White, who retired in 2000, resides in England.
Born in Chatham, Malta, he studied at St. Joseph’s College, England; St. Bonaventure College; and St. Laurence of Brundisi Seminary, Rome. He was ordained a Capuchin for Malta on July 29, 1956.
After teaching for five years, he served as a missionary in Colombia, South America, 1963-68; chaplain in the British Royal Navy, 1968-73; and Prefect Apostolic of Garissa, Kenya, 1973-84.
In 1984, he came to the Brooklyn Diocese and served as an assistant at Most Precious Blood, Bath Beach, 1984-87, and St. Leo, Corona, 1987-95.
He was incardinated into the Brooklyn Diocese in 1990.
He returned to England and volunteered to be chaplain to Hispanic Refugees in London, 1995-2000, working at St. George’s Cathedral and St. Bede’s Church.