Photos by Gregory A. Shemitz


Bishop William Murphy will ordain four men to the priesthood for the diocese of Rockville Centre on Saturday, June 14.

The Mass of Ordination at 11 a.m. at St. Agnes Cathedral, Rockville Centre, will be broadcast live on Telecare, the diocesan television station (Cablevision, Channel 29/Verizon FiOS 296).

David Atanasio of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish, West Islip;  Christopher Mirabal of Our Lady Queen of Martyrs, Inwood;  Joseph Scolaro of Church of Saint Dominic, Oyster Bay and James Shelton of Saint Edward the Confessor, Syosset, have been in formation at St. Joseph Seminary, Dunwoodie, NY.

Deacon David Atanasio, 32, was born to David and Michele Atanasio in Bay Shore on July 16, 1981. The oldest of eight, David graduated from Brentwood High School. His home parish is Our Lady of Lourdes, West Islip. After atanasiograduation, David worked with his father, delivering bread for Freihofer’s bread company. David was heavily involved in the Life Teen youth ministry program at Our Lady of Perpetual Help parish, Lindenhurst. It was there that he first heard the call to become a priest.

The moment he knew he wanted to become a priest was during a young adult retreat he attended at Kellenberg Memorial High School. “After hearing a priest give a talk, I felt compelled to go to confession to him,” said Deacon Atanasio. “He heard my confession. It was at that moment he asked me if I had ever thought about becoming a priest. I said ‘no’ and I began to cry because I couldn’t believe that the Lord could possibly be calling me to the priesthood with all my brokenness. But He did and He has.” David loves all sports but basketball is by far his favorite. He spent his diaconate  year at the Church of Saint Barnabas, Bellmore.

Deacon Christopher Mirabal was born and raised in the Inwood section of Manhattan. His home parish is  Our Lady Queen of Martyrs there. Both of his parents are from the Dominican Republic. Thanks to the formation  he mirabelreceived from his mother and religious family members and priests, Christopher began to discern his vocation to the priesthood at the age of 14.  He learned of the need for Hispanic priests in the Diocese of Rockville Centre during his third year in Manhattan College, where he studied Philosophy and Religious Studies. He entered the Douglaston Seminary Residence in 2009. After graduating from Manhattan College, he entered the Seminary of the Immaculate Conception  in 2010. He graduated with an MA in Theology in 2013 and a M. Div. in 2014.

“I am excited to serve selflessly the communities that form the Diocese of Rockville Centre as a priest with the heart of the Shepherd, Jesus Christ,” said Deacon Mirabal. “My ministerial goal is to be like Christ: bridge communities together into one diverse family, that is, the Church.”

First Mass: Church of Saint Ladislaus, Hempstead – June 15th at 11:45 a.m.

Deacon Joseph Scolaro is 25 and grew up in Bayville with his parents, Antonette and Charles, and his older sister, scolaroTheresa. Though baptized at Saint Gertrude, Bayville, his home parish is Saint Dominic, Oyster Bay, where he attended elementary school. He then went on to Chaminade High School, Mineola, and subsequently studied biology and philosophy at The University of Notre Dame, graduating in 2010.

He entered the Seminary of the Immaculate Conception the following fall to begin formation. As a seminarian, he has spent time at Saint Gertrude parish, Bayville; Saint Patrick and Saint Rocco parishes, Glen Cove; and SS. Cyril and Methodius parish in Deer Park. He served as a transitional deacon at Saint Aidan parish, Williston Park. In his spare time he enjoys reading, playing the piano, running and spending time with family and friends.

First Mass: Church of Saint Dominic, Oyster Bay — June 15, 2014 at 11:30 a.m.


Deacon James Shelton, 31, is from St. Edward the Confessor parish, Syossett. He grew up in  St. Thomas the Apostle parish, Woodhaven, Queens and  is a graduate of Archbishop Molloy High School. His family moved to Syosett when was in his junior year of High school.  He attended Saint John’s University and earned a Bachelors of Science degree in sheltonComputer Science. During his years at Saint John’s, he was the school mascot for the athletic department, suiting up in costume for all the basketball games on campus and in Madison Square Garden.  Deacon Jim was also a restaurant waiter and manager.

He went to the college seminary in Douglaston, Queens, before entering the seminary for the diocese, then in Huntington,  in January 2008. On Sept. 1, 2013, Deacon Jim was ordained a Deacon at Saint Agnes Cathedral. Since that time he was assigned to SS. Cyril and Methodius parish, Deer Park.

First Mass: Church of Saint Edward the Confessor – June 15th at 2 p.m.

Read the upcoming issue of The Long Island Catholic magazine for interviews with our newest priests.