For Father Patrick Keating, a man of many titles and high positions in the Church, one moniker stands out: diocesan priest.
“I am just a priest of the Diocese. First and foremost, before the degrees and titles, I am a priest of Brooklyn—and at the end of the day, to be the most important thing is that I’m a priest of Jesus Christ.”
Effective June 1st, Father Keating has been appointed by Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio as the new Economo of the Brooklyn Diocese.
“As Economo and Vicar of Finance, you’re a caretaker of the treasures,” Father Keating shared of his new position. “The role is to care for something not your own, working with others to allow the church and the Diocese in Brooklyn and Queens to fulfill its role; first and foremost evangelization, and from there, education, charitable work, administrative duties of the diocesan chancery and all of the parishes that compose our diocese.”
With various experiences in public administration, law, and serving as a priest, Father Keating will assist with the diocesan finances and budgeting plans.
“Fortunately, some of the gifts I have is understanding budgets,” he laughed. “Budgets only make sense if there’s a mission. No money, no mission—the mission is the most important thing.”
A native New Yorker, Patrick Keating growing up at Queen of Angels parish in Sunnyside, Queens. He credits his spiritual call to the priesthood due to the strong priest figures in his life.
“I’ve been fortunate to have been around so many priests who are simply there for the other,” he recalls. “It’s what makes the priests of Brooklyn so great—they are always there to serve, echoing [Jesus Christ’s] washing of the feet.”
Ordained in June 2005, Father Keating served his first six years as a parochial vicar of St. Bartholomew in Elmhurst. After he was ordained, he obtained a master’s degree in public administration from Baruch College, as well as degrees in theology and divinity while in seminary. In 2017, Father Keating also graduated from Brooklyn Law School with a Juris Doctor degree.
In 2011, he became the head of Catholic Migration Services, first founded by Father Francis Mugavero in 1971 as the first diocesan agency in the U.S. to provides both legal and pastoral services to immigrants in Brooklyn and Queens.
Among other titles, he served as Associate Vicar for Human Services for the Diocese of Brooklyn and Chaplain to the Catholic Lawyers Guild for Kings County.
In 2016, Father Keating was named deputy CEO of Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens, serving alongside Monsignor Alfred LoPinto to help restructure Catholic Charities, to make it a more viable global organization. The Brooklyn and Queens chapter (founded 1899) is the second largest Catholic Charities in the U.S., and has been providing aid–from affordable housing to workers’ rights–to those in need for over 120 years.
“As the ‘diocese of immigrants,’ we are always looking at the needs of the times, emphasizing hope, and seeing where the church can have more impact,” he says of his work with Msgr. LoPinto. “It’s a wonderful working collaboration.”
“Tapestry of diversity, oneness in faith”
Father Keating says his favorite part about working in the Brooklyn Diocese is being among its “diversity, uniqueness and flavor,” from celebrating Masses and attending cultural celebrations, to working directly with needy families. He shared the joy of being welcomed, no matter where he serves.
“When you look at the church of Brooklyn and Queens, I think you see a tapestry of diversity, but a oneness in faith. As different people and communities are, we’re the same…it’s beautiful to see that particular universality of the church. You don’t always have to speak a particular language, because we are all united by our faith. One parish, united in faith.”
Father Keating will not be stepping down from his leadership roles at both Catholic Migration Services and Catholic Charities Brooklyn in Queens; but rather, he says, building upon them and choosing “to work in the greater ministry of the church.”
“My role is not all that different from the average pastor,” he added. “It’s to journey with people. We are not a legal service corporation; we are a ministry of the church. We partner with people of good will, but the idea is that we’re driven by our Catholic faith.”
As the new canonical economo and a chief administrator of the diocese, Father Keating replaces Monsignor Michael J. Reid, who has held the title for two terms (a service of 10 years).
The position within the Diocesan Office of Fiscal Management was also held by the late Monsignor Austin P. Bennett.
“You build on the legacy of the people before you,” says Father Keating. “It’s not just about what you do; it’s about your presence. When you go to a parish, it’s not your parish, it’s the people’s parish. I see my role as a caretaker, with the help of God; that’s been the greatest joy and my identity. The most important title I have is Fr. Keating. I am a priest with a mission.”