On June 22, I had the privilege to ordain two men to serve as priests in our diocese. Father Jason Grisafi from Notre Dame Parish in New Hyde Park has been assigned to St. Brigid Parish, Westbury where he will serve that community under the leadership of their new pastor, Father Tony Stanganelli who previously was pastor at Sts. Philip and James in St. James. Father Brandon O’Brien from Sacred Heart, North Merrick has been assigned to St. Christopher Parish in Baldwin which community he will serve under the leadership of their pastor, Msgr. Steven Camp. Both men were prepared at Immaculate Conception Seminary in Huntington and this past year at St. Joseph Seminary in Dunwoodie.
I ask you please to pray for them and to pray for all our priests.
Msgr. Peter Pflomm serves as the diocesan Vicar for Clergy. Among his many tasks is to be my principal colleague working with the Priest Personnel Assignment Board to review and make recommendations to me about the appointment of pastors, associate pastors and chaplains of various diocesan institutions and apostolic works. While I reject the term “priest shortage,” a term with which Blessed John Paul II told me he too did not accept, it is always true, as the Holy Father once wrote, “there will never be sufficient priests for the preaching of the Gospel and the pastoral care of the People of God.” It took a great deal of time and effort to do our best to provide priests for all the various needs of the diocese. I am very grateful to the 125 international priests who augment the priests born and raised in this diocese, all of them together serving you with great devotion and generosity.
I do, however, want to share this with you for a very specific purpose. We need to have the lay faithful be active participants in encouraging vocations to the priesthood. This takes two forms. First and foremost, please make prayer for vocations an integral part of your daily prayer. Second, please encourage young men to consider a vocation to priesthood. From time to time, one of the good lay faithful will write to me asking for more priests for this parish or that apostolate. There have even been some who write to say they would not encourage a young man to consider this wondrous vocation of service to Christ and His Church. We need to be one in prayer and in voice to support vocations. I promise I will do my best and I know that the good hearts that animate the lives of you, the People of God, will surely be heard by a generous God whose Son is our eternal high priest.