My dear brothers and sisters in the Lord,
As we celebrate our Priesthood Ordinations today, I am pleased to take this opportunity to provide you with a review of our efforts for recruiting seminarians during this Year of Vocations and speak about our newly ordained.
In September of 2017, the Diocese in Brooklyn and Queens began the year with 38 seminarians, four of whom left their studies either permanently or temporarily. As we come into September of 2018, we will have 51 seminarians studying for the priesthood for our diocese.
The seminarians study for the priesthood in various locations. Most of the theologians are at St. Joseph’s Seminary in Dunwoodie. We do have one man studying at the Pontifical North American College (NAC) who will be ordained today. Also, we utilize Holy Apostles Seminary in Connecticut as well as Pope St. John XXIII Seminary in Massachusetts for the vocations of older men. This September, we will begin our own Redemptoris Mater Seminary at Douglaston with 11 seminarians for the Neocatecumenal Way, some on the college level and some already in Theology. Previously, we had our seminarians in the Neocatecumenal Way studying at the Redemptoris Mater Seminary located in the Archdiocese of Newark.
I must take this time to especially express my sincere thanks for the efforts made by so many during this Year of Vocations that has produced a good number of additions to our seminary population. Special thanks must be made to Father Sean Suckiel, Diocesan Vocations Director, for the extraordinary work he has done in making this Year of Vocations successful.
Today, I will ordain five men to the priesthood. Perhaps it will be helpful to you if I give my personal insight into some of their characteristics. First of all, two of our seminarians are of Hispanic origin, born here in the Diocese of Brooklyn – one of Dominican parents and the second of Ecuadorian parents. Jose Diaz and Joseph Dutan represent the first generations of Hispanic origin who are now ordained and are completely bi-lingual and bi-cultural. They are certainly a sign of hope for the future because of the great number of Spanish-speaking people in Brooklyn and Queens. We now experience the beginning for children of new Spanish-speaking immigrants finding vocations to the priesthood.
Also, we have co-sponsored, with the Diocese of Vinh in Vietnam, two seminarians. Hung Cao began his theological studies in Vietnam and has completed them with us. Father Cao will be serving the Diocese of Brooklyn for several years until his bishop can find a permanent assignment in Vietnam. As you may know, the Church in Vietnam is limited by the number of ordinations it can have each year.
We are also fortunate to have Patrick Dorelus, a seminarian from Haiti with ties to our diocese. Patrick completed his theological studies at the NAC in Rome, where he attended the Gregorian University and is pursuing his graduate degree in Canon Law. He will return to Rome to complete his studies. Patrick’s knowledge of French enabled him to master Italian quickly and he was even nominated by his fellow seminarians to be the “note taker” for classes that are taught in Italian. He comes with a great background in computer science and will be a great asset for our Diocese.
Finally, another addition to our diocese comes to us from Italy. Alessandro Linardi was born in Germany to an Italian immigrant family and attended high school there too. He is very talented with languages as he also spent two years as a missionary in Latin America, so Alessandro comes with a good knowledge of four languages. This is certainly very necessary in this multi-cultural Diocese in Brooklyn and Queens.
As it has been my custom, I spend the day before Ordination with the men to be ordained at a day of recollection and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. Prior to the day, I ask them to present to me a “priesthood paper” so that I may prepare myself for our recollection. I request that each give me some idea of their feeling as they come to Ordination – what dreams they have for their priesthood and what they hope to accomplish as priests. As their bishop, it is always heartening for me to read their sincere expressions at the completion of their seminary studies as they end their journey to the priesthood.
Anyone pursuing the priesthood truly begins a long journey of putting out into the deep. The priesthood always seems to be beyond the reach of those who aspire to it, especially those who humbly enter into the formation programs that are so important to the life of the priest. As these seminarians journey to their day of Ordination, one can sense the joy that they experience as well as the joy of the Diocese and the Presbyterate that welcome these newly ordained into our ranks.
Join me in praying for all our seminarians and those to be Ordained.
Editor’s Note: You can watch the priest ordination ceremony live on NET-TV beginning at 11 a.m., Saturday, June 30. It will also be streamed live at https://netny.tv/