Father Jun Hee Lee
Born in Seoul, South Korea, Father Jun Hee (Peter) Lee, 26, spent his early years in Asuncion, Paraguay, before immigrating to the U.S. at age nine.
After spending a year in New Jersey, his family settled in Marine Park and found their spiritual home among the Korean community at St. Athanasius parish, Bensonhurst.
He attended P.S. 207, Marine Park J.H.S. and Edward R. Murrow H.S., Midwood, before entering Cathedral Seminary Residence, Douglaston.
He earned his bachelor’s degree in philosophy from St. John’s University, Jamaica, and earned his bachelor’s in sacred theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome. Currently enrolled at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas, Rome, he will complete his licentiate degree in dogmatic studies next year.
“I was always close to the Church,” said Father Lee, “and since I was little I knew I wanted to be a priest.”
His earliest model of priesthood was the late Father Rafael Min, a Korean-speaking Salesian priest in his home parish in Paraguay, who served with “care and love.” His first experience of the sacrament of reconciliation was with Father Min, and he recalls it was “one of the greatest moments I felt Christ’s love.”
The seeds planted by Father Min were further nurtured on a high school retreat for Korean youth, where his eyes were opened to the loving example of his parents. Devout Catholics, they left their motherland and spent nine years securing the proper paperwork to give their children a better life in the U.S.
“I realized I was experiencing the personal love of the Lord through my parents,” said Father Lee, who has continued to grow in his desire to share the personal love of God with others through priestly service.
Over the last two summers, Father Lee has experienced the practical aspects of that service on a day-to-day basis at Queen of Angels parish, Sunnyside, and witnessed that service firsthand thanks to the example of Father Brian Dowd, pastor.
Though his studies and pastoral experiences, Father Lee feels his priestly vocation has been affirmed, enhanced and clarified.
“My dream is to be a parish priest, to serve the people, to be with them,” said Father Lee, who is fluent in Korean, Spanish and English and can converse in Italian. “My main goal is to give of myself … to be the mediator, to be like a pane of glass, so people see Christ through me.”
He says he will look to the examples of Father Dowd, Msgr. Thomas Casserta and Father Francis Shannon as he strives to be a humble, prayerful and simple servant of God.
Father Lee will also heed the words of Pope Francis, whom he met during a recent general audience in St. Peter’s Square. The Vicar of Christ blessed the future priest’s chalice and told him, “Always remember to celebrate every Mass … as if it was your very first.”
His parents, Sang Bog (Joseph) and Chun Hee (Juliana); older sister Da Kyung (Catherine); and relatives from Korea will attend his ordination.
Father Lee will celebrate his First Masses of thanksgiving in English and Korean at St. Athanasius Church, June 30, at 3 p.m., and in Korean at Holy Spirit Church, Borough Park, July 7, at 10 a.m.
Father Luçon Rigaud
When Haitian-born Father Luçon Rigaud was in the fifth grade in Notre Dame de Lourdes School, Haiti, his teacher, a religious sister, gave his class an assignment that would change the course of his life. On the Friday before Good Shepherd Sunday, she asked the students to write down where they could see themselves in 10 years.
Father Rigaud wrote that he wanted to be a lawyer, like his brother, or a priest, because to him a priest served at the altar. The nun told the pastor about her student’s ambition, and the priest talked to the boy’s parents to allow him to enroll as an altar boy.
The future priest thrived in the program and soon became the head of the altar servers. This path also led him to enroll in a seminary prep school, Seminary College de Mazenon, and then the Grand Seminary Notre Dame, both in Haiti.
However in 1999, he decided to pursue his interest in law by enrolling in Polyvalent University of Haiti to study environmental science, a path his parents preferred.
“Though I liked it, I felt something was missing,” he said. “The Lord never let me alone. He never gave up on me.”
When Father Rigaud decided to return to the seminary, his rector learned of his dream to be a missionary priest, like the priests that taught him in middle school. The rector put him in touch with Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio, who was visiting Haiti. The bishop invited Rigaud to the Brooklyn Diocese.
He said he now is eager to help God’s children in his adopted home.
“There is no greater joy for me as a human being than to be God’s collaborator in the salvation of souls,” he said. “It is an honor to be chosen by God to work in His vineyard.”
Twenty-five years after he felt his first pull toward the priesthood, Father Rigaud will celebrate his First Mass of thanksgiving on Sunday, June 30, at 1:30 p.m., at Holy Innocents Church, Flatbush.
Father Paul Kim
Father Paul Kim will become the first U.S.-born priest of a Korean immigrant family to be ordained in the Brooklyn Diocese.
He said it was the parishioners at St. Paul Chong Ha-Sang parish in Flushing who first encouraged him to be a priest by telling him he looked good serving as an altar boy.
He attended P.S. 21, Flushing; St. Mel School, Flushing; Cathedral Prep, Elmhurst and Benjamin Cardozo H.S., Bayside.
Father Kim explains that he was unsure of his religious vocation as a youth.
“Even as a child, I felt that God put me here to help people,” he said. “But I felt God was calling me to be a police officer.”
He also considered marriage. “In high school, I dated,” he said. “I was happy with my girlfriend, but there was this void. And Christ filled it by asking me to become one of his priests.”
Eventually, the pull toward the priesthood was one he could not ignore, and he realized a desire to serve people not with a badge but with a collar.
He is especially looking forward to administering the sacraments.
“Confession always played a huge part in my life as a lay person,” he said. “And now I want to bring that to the people.”
In order to better help the growing Korean population in Brooklyn and Queens, Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio sent him to Korea to brush up on the language while in the seminary.
During his pastoral year, Father Kim served in St. Athanasius, Bensonhurst, under the leadership of the pastor, Msgr. David Cassato, who is also a police chaplain to New York’s Finest.
In anticipation of the priesthood, Father Kim said his goal is to “serve souls, to bring people closer to God.”
He will celebrate a Mass of thanksgiving at St. Paul Chong Ha-Sang Church, Flushing, on Sunday, June 30, at 11 a.m.
Father Stephen Giulietti
Father Stephen Giulietti was born in Rockville Centre, L.I., and attended Our Lady of the Snows Elementary School after his family moved to the Queens side of Floral Park. He remained there until fifth grade and was homeschooled his final three years before high school.
Father Giulietti, 27, attended Cathedral Prep, Elmhurst. From a young age, he took an interest in the priesthood, serving as an altar boy at the parish.
“As a kid going to Mass, I always wanted to be a priest,” he explained. “I saw concretely how the priests would help and attend to the needs of people. That’s something that was always very attractive to me.”
He was inspired to become a priest by Father Fred Marano, rector principal at Cathedral Prep, and then-Msgr. Raymond Chappetto, who became pastor at Our Lady of the Snows at the same time Father Giulietti entered high school.
“In everything that they did, they just brought the joy of their priesthood,” he recalled. “Not only did they go out of their way to help people, but they loved doing it. There was a great zeal. That made a very deep impression on me.”
He went to the Cathedral Seminary Residence, Douglaston, studying for two years at St. John’s University, Jamaica. He then accepted a philosophy fellowship at Catholic University, Washington, D.C., where he earned a bachelor’s degree in 2007, and a licentiate in philosophy in 2008.
Father Giulietti studied for two years at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, before serving his pastoral year at St. Andrew Avellino parish, Flushing. He petitioned Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio to continue his studies in New York and thus entered the Seminary of the Immaculate Conception, Huntington, L.I. He completed his theology training at St. Joseph’s Seminary, Yonkers, N.Y.
His pastoral preparation included teaching catechesis at St. Mary Star of the Sea, Carroll Gardens; working at Blessed Sacrament, Cypress Hills; and teaching religious education at St. Joseph’s on Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C.
Father Giulietti will celebrate his First Mass of thanksgiving Sunday, June 30, at 12:30 p.m. at Our Lady of the Snows, North Floral Park.
Father Michel Pierre Louis
Father Michel Pierre Louis, 45, is a native of Plaisance, Haiti.
Born and raised in St. Michael the Archangel parish, Plaisance, he attended Ecole Pere Perard, Plaisance; Brevet Elementaire Ecole Nationale des Garcons, Plaisance; and Lycee Alexandre Petion, Port-au-Prince.
He felt the call to religious life in his teenage years and stayed close to God through church activities.
He was a high school religion teacher for nine years and a Montfort Brother for five years before coming to the Brooklyn Diocese at the invitation of Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio in 2007.
He studied for the diocesan priesthood at the Cathedral Seminary House of Formation, Douglaston; St. John’s University, Jamaica; and Immaculate Conception Seminary, Huntington, L.I.
During his course of studies, he also served summer and weekend assignments at Our Lady of Refuge, Flatbush, and St. Catherine of Sienna and St. Pascal Baylon churches, which make up Our Lady of Light parish, St. Albans.
He credits Father William G. Smith, pastor of Our Lady of Light, with helping him improve his English language skills and teaching him “how to administer a parish, how to embrace the people and how to be family with everyone.”
Fluent in Creole and French, he has been completing his final theological preparation for priestly ordination at the Inter-Institute Center for Religious Formation (CIFOR) in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.
In his future ministry, he said, “I want to serve God, the Church and my brothers and sisters.”
Father Pierre Louis will celebrate his First Mass of thanksgiving at the St. Pascal Baylon worship site of Our Lady of Light parish on Sunday, June 30, at 10 a.m.
Father Killick Pierrilus
Father Killick Pierrilus, 27, was born in Saint-Marc in northern Haiti. He attended primary school at École Frère Hervé, Saint-Marc, and then secondary school at Petit Séminaire Saint-Martial, Port-au-Prince, Haiti.
His attraction to the priesthood began on his Confirmation day, when he attentively listened to the powerful voice of the bishop of his diocese.
“I said in my heart that I would like to talk like him (the bishop),” Father Pierrilus said. “I would like to be like him. I was excited when I saw him, and I was excited to listen to his voice.”
While in secondary school, he was invited by the Sisters of the Holy Cross order to be part of their religious community, which included brothers as well. He began his spiritual formation in college by studying philosophy for two years at Grand Séminaire Notre-Dame de Cazeau, Port-au-Prince.
In 2007, he spent a pastoral year serving as a dean of Collège Sainte-Eugène de Mazenod, Fort-Liberté, Haiti. But by that time, all of his siblings – three brothers and two sisters – had immigrated to the States.
Without even knowing English, he came to New York to study the language at St. John’s University, Jamaica. In 2009, he entered the Seminary of the Immaculate Conception, Huntington, L.I., and completed his studies at St. Joseph’s Seminary, Yonkers, N.Y.
For his pastoral year, he served at Holy Cross parish, Flatbush. He said it was a great coincidence that he was part of the Holy Cross order in Haiti and then served at a parish named Holy Cross in the Diocese of Brooklyn.
“It was a wonderful experience for me,” Father Pierrilus said. “I learned different cultures from this parish. In this parish, we are three communities: English, Spanish and Creole. Each culture worshipped God differently.”
He enjoyed working with the youth of the parish and said he’d like to continue doing that in his first priestly assignment. His desire is to serve the people, be flexible with them and listen to them.
Father Pierrilus will celebrate his First Mass of thanksgiving Sunday, June 30, at 2 p.m. at St. Pius X Church, Rosedale.
Father Dwayne Davis
A convert to Catholicism, Father Dwayne D. Davis, 26, was born in Kingston, Jamaica, West Indies, and immigrated to Jamaica, Queens, when he was 12 years old.
He attended Rock Hall All Age School, St. Andrew Parish, Jamaica, W.I.; and continued his studies in Queens at Elizabeth Blackwell J.H.S. and Hillcrest H.S., both Jamaica, before entering Cathedral Seminary Residence, Douglaston.
He earned his bachelor’s degree in philosophy from St. John’s University, Jamaica, and master’s degrees in both theology and divinity from the Seminary of the Immaculate Conception, Huntington, L.I.
He was introduced to the Catholic Church at age nine after a chance encounter in his native Kingston.
On his way to the store one Sunday morning to buy milk for breakfast, he met a woman who invited him to go to Mass with her.
The following Sunday, he accompanied the woman to Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church, where the Blue Sisters of Jamaica taught him the faith. He was soon baptized and received First Holy Communion. By age 11, he was a leader in the parish youth group.
Raised in the Pentecostal amd Church of God traditions, his conversion surprised both his mother, who is Pentecostal, and father, a deacon in the Church of God, but they supported their son’s decision.
He become more active in the Church and grew in admiration for his pastor, Jesuit Father Louis Grenier.
Yet, the future priest never considered the priesthood until Father Grenier preached a homily on Matthew 25: 30-46, a passage about the Last Judgment in which Jesus separates the sheep from the goats.
Father Grenier asked the congregation: “If God was to come today, on which side would you find yourself?”
“That question changed my life,” said Father Davis. “It was the first time I realized I want to build God’s kingdom. I want to make sure there are more sheep than goats.”
Six months later, he moved to Queens and joined St. Joseph Church, Jamaica, where he was a founding member of the youth ministry. He continued his faith formation at the neighboring parish of St. Bonaventure, where he received the sacrament of confirmation, taking the name Joseph.
As a priest, Father Davis said, he will look to the example of St. Joseph whom he considers “a model for all priests because he’s a spiritual father and teaches us to go to God.”
Father Davis said relatives and friends thought his calling to the priesthood was a passing phase. He even tried to talk himself out of his vocation.
“Even when I went out of my way to do otherwise, He would show me how much He delights in me,” he said.
“My vocational journey has been a journey of conversion. I think that’s crucial to any vocation, to realize God’s plan for you and to move closer to Him each day.”
Father Davis credits retired Auxiliary Bishop Guy Sansaricq, Father Caleb Buchanan and Father Paul Palmiotto with helping him to discern that plan and serve as models of priestly service.
As a seminarian, he worked with the diocesan Vicariate of Black Catholic Concerns (VBCC), serving as founding project director of the Youth Leadership Ambassador Program and coordinator of the Kujenga Youth Leadership Program.
On a national level, he has served as president of the National Black Catholic Seminarian Association, member of the board of trustees for the National Black Catholic Congress (NBCC), board member of the National Black Catholic Clergy Caucus and a member of the National Black Catholics for Life.
In 2012, he was the first seminarian and youngest recipient of the NBCC’s National Black Catholic Servant of Christ Award. He also received the diocese’s Catholic Migration Services’ Shining Star Award.
Father Davis completed his pastoral year at Our Lady of Grace, Gravesend, and his diaconate year at St. Joseph Co-Cathedral, Prospect Heights.
Father Davis will celebrate his First Mass of Thanksgiving at St. Joseph’s Church, Jamaica, on Sunday, June 30 at 3 p.m.
Father Ray Flores
Father Ray Flores, 27, was born in the Bronx to parents of Filipino descent. He grew up in Elmhurst as a member of St. Bartholomew’s parish. He attended public elementary school and Brooklyn Technical H.S., Fort Greene.
Originally a pre-medical undergraduate student at Stony Brook University, L.I., he was involved in campus ministry. A crucial retreat during his junior year helped him discern his vocation.
“I asked God if this is where He was calling me,” Father Flores said. “In prayer, it wasn’t where He was calling me. I felt it was to the ministry of priesthood. That’s been confirmed, especially in entering the seminary and feeling a sense of peace that this is the vocation that God is calling me to be in.”
After graduating Stony Brook, he studied pre-theology for one year at the Cathedral Seminary Residence, Douglaston. He then went on to Immaculate Conception Seminary, Huntington, L.I., and St. Joseph’s Seminary, Yonkers, N.Y.
As part of his formation, he spent a pastoral year on diaconate assignment at Mary’s Nativity-St. Ann, Flushing. He assisted at baptisms and weddings and also routinely served at Masses.
He was then assigned for a year at SS. Peter and Paul church, Williamsburg. His ministry involved interacting with the Puerto Rican and Dominican communities in the parish. He learned the Spanish language in high school but said the language was a barrier at first. However, the experience has prepared him for the challenges he will now face as a priest.
He’s looking forward to working with the youth groups and serving his parish to the best of his abilities.
“My hope is just to be of service to the people of God wherever I am and whatever ministry,” Father Flores said.
Father Flores will celebrate his First Mass of thanksgiving on Sunday, June 30, at 2 p.m. at his current home parish, Mary’s Nativity-St. Ann.