Photo: From left, Father Brandon O’Brien, Bishop William Murphy and Father Jason Grisafi
On the Feast Day of Saints Thomas More and John Fisher, Saturday, June 22, at 11 a.m., Bishop William Murphy ordained two men to the priesthood for the Diocese of Rockville Centre. Jason Grisafi and Brandon O’Brien, both 27, have been in formation at the Saint Joseph Seminary, Dunwoodie, NY, and the Immaculate Conception Seminary, Huntington.
Father O’Brien has been assigned to St. Christopher’s parish, Baldwin. Father Grisafi to St. Brigid, Westbury.
Click on arrows below for a slideshow from the day.
All photos by Gregory A. Shemitz
Deacon Jason Grisafi, 27
Home parish: Church of Notre Dame, New Hyde Park
Pastoral year: Church of Maria Regina, Seaford
Deacon Jason U. Grisafi was born in Astoria, Queens, and was baptized in Saint Francis of Assisi parish. He has been a parishioner of Notre Dame since 1990, when his family moved to New Hyde Park. He attended the Herricks public school district, graduating from Herricks High School in 2004. He went through religious education at Notre Dame, and was a student leader in the parish youth ministry. In 2003, he was commissioned as an extraordinary minister of Holy Communion.
Though he began discerning a call to priesthood at the end of ninth grade, Deacon Grisafi went to study mathematics at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. He graduated with honors in 2008, with a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics, with a concentration in Discrete Math and Logic, and a second major in Philosophy.
His college years at Carnegie Mellon afforded opportunities to deepen both his faith and his commitment to service. The school is situated within the archdiocesan Cathedral parish of Saint Paul’s, “an architectural masterpiece,” Deacon Grisafi said, that “brings you straight into the mystery of God.” He also got involved with the college’s Newman Club, participating in regular prayer and discussion activities. “I attribute a lot to that group,” he said, “the strong friendships it created, but also because it gave me the time to continue to reflect on what God wanted me to do.”
The subsequent fall, he began theological studies and seminary formation, entering Immaculate Conception Seminary, Huntington. As part of his formation, he spent a “pastoral year” serving at Maria Regina parish in Seaford. On September 2, 2012 he was ordained a deacon by Bishop Murphy at Saint Agnes Cathedral. Deacon Grisafi has served at the Parish of Saint Anne, Garden City. On May 21st, 2013, he received his Master of Divinity degree from Immaculate Conception Seminary, and was awarded the James Newcomb award for his achievements in the study of Sacred Scripture.
Deacon Jason’s family includes his father, Peter, who served 16 years on the Herricks School Board, his mother, Marie, who is a member of the Notre Dame Pastoral Council, and his younger brother, Peter.
Deacon Brandon O’Brien, 27
Home parish: Church of the Sacred Heart, North Merrick
Pastoral year: Church of Saint Mary, East Islip
Deacon Brandon O’Brien attended Sacred Heart Elementary School, North Merrick and then in 2004 graduated from Chaminade High School, Mineola. “I received an excellent education from the Marianists,” said Deacon O’Brien. “They instilled in me a stronger faith and a deep devotion to the Blessed Mother.”
It wasn’t until his college years at Hofstra University (2004-2008) that he began to think seriously about the priesthood. “Early in my sophomore year, I began to take my faith more seriously,” he said, “attending daily Mass, frequent confession, Eucharistic adoration; I started attending the Bishop’s Lenten retreats,” and he began speaking with then-diocesan vocations director Father Tom Coogan. Still, after graduating Cum Laude with a B.A. degree in English from Hofstra, he planned to attend law school.
But he felt “uneasy” about the decision, and in mid-July 2008 – weeks away from starting law school- he inquired about entering the Seminary of the Immaculate Conception that August. “It felt like that was the right thing to do, to go right into the seminary. Within his first weeks there, that feeling was affirmed, he never had “a second thought“about his decision.
“I have asked him, and he has shared with me, that he is happier now than he has ever been in his life,” said his mother, Jeanne O’Brien. “He has been blessed with the gift of a vocation and has followed the path that will lead him to a life of service to others. We can ask nothing more than this.”
Deacon O’Brien looks forward to serving parishioners – “celebrating Mass for the people every day, hearing confessions, celebrating all the sacraments, visiting the sick and the dying and just bringing Christ to all the people of the parish, in whatever way the might need it at a particular time.”