Recently The Tablet featured stories on what some diocesan priests in Brooklyn and Queens did before they entered the seminary and were ordained to the priesthood. From the fascinating life of Msgr. Jamie Gigantiello as a chef in some of the most exclusive restaurants in the New York City area to Father Bryan Carney’s career in the military, our priests in Brooklyn and Queens have had all sorts of jobs.
Did you know that Father Robert Mucci, pastor of St. Mark’s in Sheepshead Bay, was an actuary? Or that Father Robert Adamo, pastor of St. Ephrem, was working in banking? Father Bryan Patterson, rector of the Cathedral Basilica of St. James, worked in international business. Father Larry Ryan, pastor of Holy Name in Windsor Terrace, worked in homeland security.
Many of our priests are graduates of Cathedral Prep School and Seminary in Elmhurst, Queens, and first began truly discerning a priestly vocation there, like the more recently ordained Fathers Michael Falce, Daniel Kingsley, Chris Bethge, Carlos Velázquez, Jeremy Canna, Ralph Edel, Christopher Heanue, and Sean Suckiel. The list of Cathedral Prep graduates who are priests gets even larger as we look into ordination classes before 2012!
Some of our priests in Brooklyn and Queens entered the seminary later in life; some entered right from high school or college, or from working for a few years. Regardless, each of these men heard the call from the Lord Jesus to come and follow him. Each of these men were open, attentive, loving, and honest before the face of the Lord and allowed the Lord Jesus Christ and his Church to form them into the priests we know and who serve us today.
Soon, our seminaries will be reopening for a new year of priestly formation, instructing our seminarians of the Diocese of Brooklyn in the human, spiritual, intellectual, and pastoral dimensions of the priestly life. Pray for them! Pray for Father Chris Bethge, our diocesan director of vocations and Father Joseph Holcomb, the diocesan director of seminarians, and their team, not just for more vocations to the priesthood, but happy, healthy, holy vocations who will truly be open to being “alter Christi,” other Christs, and who will have the courage and perseverance to pour out their lives for their brothers and sisters in the people of God, the Church. The Project Andrew, Project Jeremiah, and Fraternitas programs are beginning to demonstrate results in the lives of some young men in our Diocese of Brooklyn.
Pray for Father James Kuroly, rector-president, and his faculty at Cathedral Prep School and Seminary that many of the young men in that fine school will not just get an excellent education, but also be open to a priestly vocation.
Pray for our diocesan priests who teach at our seminaries. At St. Joseph’s Seminary in Dunwoodie (our main seminary, shared with the Archdiocese of New York and the Diocese of Rockville Centre), please pray for Bishop James Massa, the rector, and the Brooklyn diocesan priests serving as professors there: Father Michael Bruno, Father Charles Caccavale, Father John Cush, Father Miguel Angel Cervantes, and Father Joseph Holcomb (director of the newly established propaedeutic stage there). Pray for Father Joseph Zwosta, who teaches at Pope St. John XXIII National Seminary in Weston, Massachusetts. Pray for Father Julio César Sánchez and Father Cervantes who form the seminarians at the Brooklyn Diocesan Missionary House of Formation Redemptoris Mater in Whitestone.
God is calling, at every age. Pray for our families and our parishes, Catholic academies, and high schools, where priestly vocations begin to be formed.