Prospect Heights

Ten new priests ordained for Diocese of Brooklyn

June 30, 2015 By Francesca Norsen Tate, Religion Editor Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Fr. Rafael Perez (kneeling) accepts a chalice from Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio during the ordination liturgy. Brooklyn Eagle Photo by Francesca N. Tate

The Most Reverend Nicholas DiMarzio, Bishop of Brooklyn, ordained ten men to the priesthood for the Diocese of Brooklyn last Saturday, June 27, at the Co-Cathedral of St. Joseph, in Prospect Heights.

“You come to us from individual different backgrounds, from different ethnicities and cultures, from different families. You mirror clearly today what is the Diocese of Brooklyn,” said Bishop DiMarzio to the new priests during the ordination homily. “So today we recognize that all of us come with one language, the language of the Holy Spirit.”

Bishop DiMarzio had written in his weekly column “Put Out Into the Deep” that he had preached a day of recollection and prayer to the candidates, on the day prior to the ordinations. “In order to prepare for this day of prayer, I ask each man to present to me a short paper on their concept of the priesthood and what they wish to accomplish as priests.” He shared some of the comments in his column and at the liturgy.

During the ceremony, Bishop DiMarzio spoke in English, Spanish, Italian and Polish to thank the family members of the ordinands for supporting their call to the priesthood. Face down, the candidates humbly lay prostrate on the floor of the Co-Cathedral, seeking intercession and grace for their new ministry. Bishop DiMarzio, auxiliary bishops and diocesan priests then laid hands on the head of each candidate, blessing the new shepherds of the Church.

Focusing on the priest’s role as shepherd, Bishop DiMarzio reminded the ordinands that “Jesus sent the disciples out like sheep among wolves.” He told the new priests that they will be tested in their resolve and battles by the social norms of the day, referring specifically to the two U.S. Supreme Court decisions handed down that week, particularly the ruling on same-sex marriage.

Declaring that the ruling legalizing same-sex marriage in all 50 states runs contrary to Church teaching on the sacrament of marriage, Bishop DiMarzio told the new priests they will have to face difficult pastoral decisions because of this ruling, and he charged them to stay true to their faith.

At the conclusion of the mass, some of the newly ordained received their parochial assignments to serve the faithful of Brooklyn, which were effective immediately after the ordination: Rev. Daniel O. Kingsley to parochial vicar of St. Martin de Porres, Bedford-Stuyvesant; Rev. Rafael J. Perez to parochial vicar of Divine Mercy, Williamsburg; and Rev. Jose A. Henriquez to parochial vicar of Blessed Sacrament, New Lots. The other priests were assigned to parishes in Queens, which is also part of the diocese: Rev. Christopher J. Bethge to parochial vicar of Incarnation, Queens Village; Rev. Nicholas M. Colalella to summer ministry at St. Margaret, Middle Village; Rev. John Gribowich to parochial vicar of St. Nicholas of Tolentine, Jamaica; Rev. Christopher R. Heanue to parochial vicar of Holy Child Jesus, Richmond Hill; Rev. Rev. Lucasz Lech to parochial vicar of St. Luke, Whitestone; Rev. Mark A. Matthias to parochial vicar of Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament, Bayside; and Rev. Alexander Piñacué to parochial vicar of St. Joan of Arc, Jackson Heights.

The Diocese of Brooklyn, the eighth-largest diocese in the United States and the only entirely urban diocese in the Nation, serves the boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens. The combined population of the boroughs stands at 4.8 million residents, of which more than 1.5 million identify themselves as Catholics.

This year, nearly 600 Catholic men will be ordained priests for the United States. The nationwide numbers reflect an increase of 25 percent from 2014, with 100 more ordinands from last year, for a total of 595 new priests, according to a report from the U.S. Catholic Conference of Bishops.