3 June 2008
Largest Class in 20 years
- Career U.S. Naval Officer
- Naval Reservist Who Served Aboard USS Theodore Roosevelt
- U.S. Marine
ROCKVILLE CENTRE, New York – On Saturday, June 14, the Most Reverend William Murphy, bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rockville Centre will ordain nine new priests for the Diocese of Rockville Centre, the largest group since he was ordained bishop in 2001. It is also the largest class to be ordained for the diocese in the past 20 years. There were also nine priests ordained in 1991. In addition to the nine men from the Diocese of Rockville Centre, two men will be ordained for the Diocese of Brooklyn. The 11:00 a.m. Mass at St. Agnes Cathedral will be broadcast live on Telecare, the diocesan television station (Cablevision Channel 29/Verizon channel 271).
“I’m very happy to be ordaining nine men of the quality and caliber as these future priests,” Bishop Murphy said.
“Our diocese has never had a sufficient number of priests for the work of evangelization and pastoral care of the people of God. I pray daily that this number be doubled or trebled in the years ahead because I know that there are many young men with great generosity. We all need to pray for vocations and encourage vocations in our own families,” Bishop Murphy said.
“They are all very fine candidates for the priesthood,” Rev. Msgr. James McDonald, rector of the
Immaculate Conception Seminary, Huntington said. “Some are gifted intellectually, others musically. They all bring something. They each have strong, definite personalities, good preaching abilities and enthusiasm. They are anxious to get out and do the work of the Church,” Msgr. McDonald added.
Men to be ordained are:
Deacon Allan Arneaud
Home Parish: Holy Family parish, Hicksville
Pastoral Year: Blessed Sacrament parish, Valley Stream
Diaconate Year: Our Lady of Perpetual Help parish, Lindenhurst
Deacon Allan Arneaud was born in Trinidad on January 23, 1970. He has two brothers and two sisters and graduated from St. Thomas Aquinas College, Sparkill, N.Y. Deacon Arneaud was hearing the call to the priesthood ever since his teen years. “It (the calling) was always there. I prayed about it,” Deacon Arneaud said. Father Charles Mangano, pastor of Cure of Ars parish, Merrick invited Deacon Arneaud to join him on a pilgrimage he was leading to Medjugorje. The group consisted of men discerning their vocations. This pilgrimage helped Deacon Arneaud answer God’s call. “I knew that I was running from God. Out of nowhere, God still called. When I was not even thinking of Him, God kept knocking. God pursued me,” he said.
Deacon Lachlan Thomas Cameron
Home Parish: Holy Spirit parish, New Hyde Park
Pastoral Year: St. Joseph parish, Ronkonkoma
Diaconate Year: Notre Dame parish, New Hyde Park
Deacon Lachlan Cameron was born in Glasgow, Scotland on February 4, 1981. He has two brothers and one sister and is a product of Catholic school education; Deacon Cameron attended Holy Spirit Elementary School, New Hyde Park, Chaminade High School, Mineola and St. John’s University, Queens. He entered the seminary after graduating St. John’s in 2003. “My parents always made sure you were aware of the possibility that God might be calling you,” Deacon Cameron said. As a student at Chaminade, he was influenced by the Marianist brothers. Deacon Cameron plays the bagpipes and performs in competitions and parades. He also enjoys cooking. He looks forward to the opportunity to serve as a parish priest to “be around God’s people, leading them closer to God.”
Deacon Christopher Michael Costigan
Home Parish: St. Christopher’s parish, Baldwin
Pastoral Year: St. Edward the Confessor parish, Syosset
Diaconate Year: St. James parish, Setauket
Deacon Christopher Costigan was born on April 27, 1980 in Mineola, N.Y. He has three brothers and is a fourth generation member of the Oceanside Fire Department where he has been a firefighter and EMT. Deacon Costigan graduated from St. Christopher Elementary School, Baldwin, Chaminade High School, Mineola and Notre Dame University, South Bend, IN. Deacon Costigan was involved in coordinating the liturgies at Notre Dame. His getting to know the Holy Cross fathers and seminarians at the school influenced his answering God’s call to a religious vocation. Deacon Costigan says his experience as a firefighter and EMT should help him in his priesthood. I “learned to deal with people going through stressful situations. I have to be prepared to get thrown in to different situations and deal with them. I am adaptable, easy going. Wherever I’m assigned, it will be easy to fit in.”
Deacon Robert Andrew Holz
Home Parish: St. Martin of Tours parish, Bethpage
Pastoral Year: St. Frances de Chantal parish, Wantagh
Diaconate Year: St. Dominic parish, Oyster Bay
Deacon Robert Holz was born August 2, 1960 in Queens. His home parish is St. Martin of Tours, Bethpage. Deacon Holz has four brothers and graduated from Commack High School and St. John’s University. Deacon Holz was a successful accountant who owned his own home in Bethpage. “I was treated well by generous bosses. I had gotten to a stage in life where I looked like I should be very happy, and I was, but there was something missing,” Deacon Holz said. He added that his business career helps him relate to people. “Being a homeowner, working full time, I know the stresses of the railroad, the fear of paying your mortgage when the utilities rise faster than your salary. They don’t sound like spiritual issues but at some point, they become spiritual questions.” For fun, Deacon Holz likes to ride his Harley-Davidson motorcycle.
Deacon Gonzalo Ojaca-Lopez
Home Parish: Our Holy Redeemer parish, Freeport
Pastoral Year: St. Brigid parish, Westbury
Diaconate Year: St. Brigid parish, Westbury
Deacon Gonzalo Ojaca-Lopez was born on November 26, 1965 in El Rico Los Amates Izabal, Guatemala. He was born and raised in a very small town where the priest came to his parish twice a month. Deacon Ojaca-Lopez has three brothers and two sisters. “When I was 13 or 14, I remember that once, during the moment of consecration, at the elevation of the Eucharist, I thought maybe someday, I could do that same thing,” he said. He left Guatemala to study in Spain, where he worked as a nurse with poor elderly and the developmentally disabled. He studied theology in Rome and philosophy in Thornwood, N.Y. One day he joined friends for Mass at Our Holy Redeemer Church, Freeport. He met then-pastor, Rev. Msgr. Richard Figliozzi (currently, director of the Office for The New Evangelization). One day, Msgr. Figliozzi asked Deacon Oajaca-Lopez if he had ever considered the priesthood. “I hope to fulfill my calling to be holy, to try to carry more souls to Christ. Every time I baptize someone, I feel that it is such a great gift,” Deacon Oajaca-Lopez said.
Deacon Robert William Ketcham
Home Parish: St. John the Evangelist, Center Moriches
Pastoral Year: St. Bernard parish, Levittown
Diaconate Year: Our Lady of Victory parish, Floral Park
Deacon Robert Ketcham was born on January 11, 1978 in Southampton. “My parents had the courage to bring the faith into the home,” Deacon Ketcham said. His father, a convert from the Methodist faith, and his mother are both devoted to the Blessed Mother. Deacon Ketcham has one sister and said the family would always pray the rosary at home. Deacon Ketcham likes to sing and play the guitar and as a teenager he played in a rock band. Deacon Ketcham graduated from SUNY Oswego with a degree in Elementary Education and English. After college, he began to pray for guidance about where his life was going. At this time, he was invited to join the LifeTeen group at St. John the Evangelist. “It felt like home,” Deacon Ketcham said. He then took part in the St. Louis de Montfort Way of Total Consecration to Jesus through Mary. “We came together for 33 nights and prayed in front of the tabernacle. By the end of the consecration, I knew I was being called to the priesthood. It became very clear,” Deacon Ketcham said.
Deacon John David McCarthy
Home Parish: St. James parish, Seaford
Pastoral Year: St. Anthony of Padua parish, East Northport
Diaconate Year: Holy Spirit parish, New Hyde Park
Deacon John McCarthy was born on October 15, 1960 in Brooklyn. He has two brothers and one sister. While he thought about being a priest as a boy, he had a greater pull to military service. “My father was a Marine in World War II, and I Iooked up to a cousin who served in Vietnam. I used to go to recruiting stations and hang out,” said Deacon McCarthy. After graduating from Holy Trinity H.S., Deacon McCarthy enlisted in the U.S. Navy. “I just loved what I was doing,” he said. Deacon McCarthy said he was greatly influenced by the Navy chaplains and then after ten years in the Navy, he felt “a profound calling again.” He remembered asking God to let him finish out 20 years of service in then Navy. After 20 years of service, he retired from the U.S. Navy with the rank of Senior Chief Petty Officer.
Deacon Allan Sikorski
Home Parish: Sacred Heart parish, Island Park
Pastoral Year: St. Patrick parish, Smithtown
Diaconate Year: St. Paul parish, Brookville
Deacon Allan Sikorski was born in Brooklyn on June 26, 1970. He has one brother and is a former Marine with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from the University of Michigan. His previous field was mergers and acquisitions. It was not until after the age of 30 that he began to think about a vocation to the priesthood. He began to hear the call when he was volunteering in the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal’s Youth for Christ program in the South Bronx. Deacon Sikorski’s home parish is Church of the Sacred Heart, Island Park. He served his pastoral year at the Church of St. Patrick, Smithtown and as a deacon at St. Paul’s parish in Brookville. “I want to be in the image of the good shepherd, to bring people to the sacraments and help increase their faith.”
Deacon Thomas William Tassone
Home Parish: St. Martin of Tours parish, Amityville
Pastoral Year: Christ the King parish, Commack
Diaconate Year: Corpus Christi parish, Mineola
Deacon Thomas Tassone was born in Copiague on April 13, 1966. He has three brothers and is a musician who attended Westminster Choir College, Princeton. He later served as the director of music at Our Lady of the Assumption parish and director of music and liturgy at St. Martha’s Church in Uniondale. He is currently a chaplain with the U.S. Navy Reserve and served as an enlisted petty officer. In the summer of 2006, Deacon Tassone was stationed aboard an aircraft carrier, the USS Theodore Roosevelt.
About The Diocese of Rockville Centre
The Diocese of Rockville Centre (www.drvc.org) was formed in 1957 and covers 1,198 square miles in Nassau and Suffolk Counties. The diocese serves approximately 1.4 million Catholics (total population in both counties is approximately 2.8 million). There are 134 parishes in 115 towns. Last year over 18,000 baptisms, 18,000 confirmations, 19,000 first communions and 4,000 marriages took place in the diocese. There are approximately 22,000 students in Catholic elementary schools; 13,000 in secondary schools and 3,300 in higher institutions. There are 69 Catholic elementary and high schools and one Catholic college in the diocese. There are also 120,189 total students in religious education. Catholic Health Services of Long Island consists of five hospitals, three nursing homes, a community-based home for those with special needs and a hospice. Last year, Catholic Charities assisted more than 59,000 individuals who are poor, vulnerable and disadvantaged on Long Island. (4/20/07)
Contact, Diocese of Rockville Centre
Sean P. Dolan,
516-678-5800, ext. 625