by Ed Wilkinson
At six-feet-four-and-a-half inches, Christopher Heanue is usually the tallest guy in the room. But last Saturday, June 2, he stood out for a different reason. He stood tall in the center aisle at St. Michael’s Church, Sunset Park, before stepping forward and being ordained a deacon on the way to priesthood.
Heanue, a native of St. Mary’s parish, Woodside, is completing his theology studies at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Overbrook, Pa., as he prepares for priesthood for the Diocese of Brooklyn. He received the sacrament of Holy Orders as a deacon through the laying on of hands by Auxiliary Bishop Octavio Cisneros.
For the past two summers, Heanue has been serving in pastoral roles at St. Michael’s, which is why the church was chosen for the ceremony. He will spend most of the next year ministering as a deacon at the same parish, under the guidance of Father Kevin Sweeney, pastor and former Vocations Director of the diocese. He is scheduled to be ordained a priest next spring.
“The people at St. Michael’s have been so generous in teaching me Spanish,” explains Heanue. “Last summer I had three tutors, each of whom I met with on a different evening.”
To receive a total immersion in the Spanish language and culture, Heanue will spend most of this summer in Madrid, Spain, where he will assist as a deacon at a parish. In the fall, he will return to St. Charles for classes during the week while spending weekends at St. Michael’s.
He’s looking forward to doing his first baptisms at St. Michael’s, where he says “we have more Spanish baptisms than we do in English.” He also will assist at the altar.
Not being a person who sits around waiting to get started, Deacon Heanue preached in his home parish of St. Mary’s on the day after his ordination. On Monday, he preached at a Mass celebrated by Bishop Cisneros for the cloistered Carmelite Sisters in Cypress Hills.
Following priestly ordinations later this month, he will be serving as a deacon on the altar for several newly-ordaineds’ First Masses.
In attendance at the ordination service were his parents, Martin and Kathleen, along with his brothers, Martin and Gerald and sister, Christine, and about 200 friends and parishioners. Father Noel Moynihan, pastor of St. Mary’s, represented St. Heanue graduated from P.S. 229 Maspeth, before moving on to I.S. 73; Cathedral Prep, Elmhurst; and St. John’s University while living at the Cathedral House of Formation in Douglaston.
He spent one year at the Gregorian Institute in Rome before continuing studies at St. Charles.