Diocesan News

Four New Priests Ordained to Serve Brooklyn and Queens

A scene of the newly ordained following the ordination day Mass held St. Joseph’s Co-Cathedral. (Photo: Katie Engesser)

By Ed Wilkinson and Katie Engesser

Taken from among men, “you must be men of prayer,” said Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio to the four new priests he ordained June 1 at St. Joseph’s Co-Cathedral, Prospect Heights.

“We are well aware of the present crisis in the Church. We need stable priests who will restore the reputation of the Church.”

The new priests are Father Michael F. Falce, Pedro Angucho Lopez, JohnPaul Obiaeri and Edwin A. Ortiz.

During the two-hour liturgy in front of a full church, the four men pledged obedience to the Bishop and his successors as they proclaimed that they were ready to serve the people of Brooklyn and Queens.

As a sign of their humility, they lied prostrate in the sanctuary as the entire congregation intoned the Litany of the Saints. When they arose from the marble floor, one-by-one they approached the Bishop who placed his hands on their heads as a sign of passing on the priestly office.

The Bishop anointed the hands of each new priest with Holy Oil that he had blessed at the Chrism Mass during Holy Week.

The newly ordained were vested in a priest’s chasuble by two priests of their choice.

“The ordination ceremony is one of the most beautiful ones we have,” Bishop DiMarzio explained.

Following Mass, the four new priests returned to the church where they bestowed first blessings on families and friends.

As he paused between blessings, Father Falce said, “It still has to hit me. I think I have to get in the car and let it really just settle in a bit.”

Father Obiaeri said, “I thank God for this wonderful day.”

The newly ordained were struck by the great fraternity of the priesthood as more than 100 priests of the diocese were in attendance. At one point in the ceremony, all the priests present offered a sign of peace and an embrace to each of their new associates.

“To have them say congratulations, welcome to the priesthood, welcome to the brotherhood… It’s a beautiful thing,” Father Falce said.

Father Obidaeri added, “They’re praying for you and I actually feel those prayers.”

Father Ortiz was impressed by the power of the moment. “You know being up here as a seminarian serving Mass is one thing, but actually participating, saying the words along with the priests and the bishops…it’s a wow moment,” he remarked.

“I’m pretty lost for words right now… I don’t know what to say.”

Father Obiaeri echoed that sentiment. “I’m so happy, I don’t have the right words to explain how I feel inside,” he said.

Family’s Emotion

That joy also extended to family, who were filled with their own emotions.

Father Falce’s father, Joseph, said with tears in his eyes, “These are tears of joy, I’m just so proud of him.”

Father Obiaeri’s mother, who travelled from Nigeria for her son’s ordination, said through an interpreter, “This is the day the Lord has made and that’s why I thank God.”

At the close of the service, Bishop DiMarzio presented the new priests to the pastors of the parishes in which they will serve.

“That is the key,” Father Obiaeri explained. “That is the bottom line – getting into the ministry and then helping the people.”

“I’m so happy. You know the people of God are always with me and I will try to do my best for the people of God,” Father Angucho.