Father Timothy Hirten, a Brooklyn priest serving as a United States Air Force chaplain, died Aug. 15 in Texas. At the time of his death, he was assigned to Sheppard Air Force base in Texas and held the rank of Major. He was 66.
Born in Mercy Hospital, Rockville Centre, Father Hirten attended Holy Spirit School, New Hyde Park; Holy Name of Mary School, Valley Stream; St. Barnabas School, Bellmore; St. John the Baptist H.S., West Islip; Franciscan University, Steubenville, Pa.; North American College, and the Pontifical University of St. Thomas, both in Rome, Italy.
He was ordained Oct. 9, 1993 by Bishop Thomas V. Daily at St. James Cathedral-Basilica, Downtown Brooklyn.
Prior to entering the seminary, he was a professional basketball player, travelling the world with the Washington Generals, the opponents of the Harlem Globetrotters.
Father Hirten also served as National Chaplain for the Ancient Order of Hibernians, Division 15, and for the Knights of Columbus. He was the founder of the Catholic Sports Camp, a member of the Jones Beach Lifeguard Corps, and a lead dancer in the Hirten Family Irish Step Dancers Troupe.
He served as an assistant at St. Joan of Arc, Jackson Heights, 1993-97, and Sacred Heart, Bayside, before entering the Air Force. He served in Europe and was activated following the Sept. 11 attacks on America.
In 2006, he was assigned to McGuire Air Force Base in New Jersey. He did several tours in the Mideast while assigned to bases in Oklahoma and Delaware.
He also held a degree in social work from Fordham University, specializing in alcohol abuse prevention.
“It is hard for me to imagine that this usually exuberant, gregarious man and former professional basketball player is no longer with us. Father Hirten will be sorely missed by me and by many,” said Father Steven A. Schaick, Maj. Gen., Chief of Chaplains.
Father Patrick Longalong, pastor of Our Lady of Lourdes parish, Queens Village, who was born in the Philippines, recalls, “Father Hirten was a professional player for the Philippine Basketball Association.
“He was one of the imports in the first Tanduay Basketball Team (1976). When I was in the seminary, he organized basketball games and created a team called the ‘Running Revs.’ ”
“He will always be remembered as a good priest and a good athlete,” Father Longalong added.
A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated Wednesday, Aug. 26, at St. Barnabas Church, Bellmore.
Auxiliary Bishop Raymond Chappetto was the principal celebrant. Special concelebrants were Msgrs. John A. McGuirl and Peter Vaccari, and Fathers Thomas Cardone, and James K. Cunningham. Msgr. James Pareda preached the homily.
Burial was in Long Island National Cemetery.
Father Hirten is survived by his brothers Michael, Robert, and Terrence, and his sisters, Maureen Agostinacchio, and Nancy McAtasney.
Mrs. Consuelo Hernandez, mother of Msgr. Anthony Hernandez, a priest of the Diocese of Brooklyn, who is presently ministering as Moderator of the Curia, Vicar for Canonical Affairs and Pastor of Transfiguration Church, Williamsburg, died on Aug. 19, in Moca, Puerto Rico, where arrangements are taking place. A Memorial Mass will be celebrated at a later date.
If you wish to send condolences, please mail to Msgr. Anthony Hernandez, Transfiguration R.C. Church, 263 Marcy Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11211.