U.S. Olympian and IBM Executive Among those to be Ordained
ROCKVILLE CENTRE, NEW YORK, June 4, 2007 – The Most Reverend William Murphy, Bishop, Diocese of Rockville Centre, will ordain three men into the priesthood for the Diocese of Rockville Centre on Saturday, June 9, 2007, at 11:00 a.m. in St. Agnes Cathedral.
They are Deacon Lee Roger Descoteaux, 36; Deacon Joseph Henry Fitzgerald, 35; and Deacon Edward Michael Sheridan, 53.
At a Mass of priestly ordination, the ordaining bishop examines the candidate, asking if he is willing to serve Christ and his Church as a faithful priest. When the candidate promises obedience, the bishop and all those present kneel and pray for him. The ordinands prostrate themselves before the altar during the prayers of the Litany. The bishop ordains the candidate by laying his hands on the candidate’s head and praying silently as he invokes the Holy Spirit upon the new priest.
The newly ordained priest is vested with a priestly stole and chasuble. The bishop anoints the palms of the new priest with the oil of chrism and wraps the priest’s hands with a linen cloth. The new priest is presented with the paten and the chalice after the gifts of bread and wine are brought to the altar. The Mass is then concelebrated by the bishop, the newly ordained priests and all priests present. Traditionally, the ordaining bishop receives the first blessing of the new priest.
Deacon Descoteaux was born in Biddeford, Maine. He attended St. Joseph’s Grammar School, Biddeford, Maine, and Biddeford High School, Biddeford, Maine. He received a bachelor’s degree from Lyndon State College, Lyndonville, Vt., in 1993 and a master’s degree from Adelphi University, Garden City, N.Y., in 2002. He worked in the admissions office at Adelphi before entering the Seminary of the Immaculate Conception, Huntington, N.Y., in 2002. His pastoral year—2004 to 2005—was spent at St. Joseph parish, Ronkonkoma, N.Y.
“I can’t imagine doing anything but being a priest,” Deacon Descoteaux said. “I felt I always had it in me. I identified with a particular priest and spent time discussing the priesthood with him. I saw that priests are normal guys.”
He said he aims to “…help people know the mercy of God and to understand truly that He loves them, to help them experience the love of God, the love of Christ.”
Deacon Fitzgerald was born in Brooklyn, N.Y. and attended Deer Park Avenue Public School, Deer Park, N.Y., and then St. Joseph’s Grammar School, Babylon, N.Y. After he graduated from North Babylon High School, North Babylon, N.Y., he earned a bachelor’s degree in social studies from Ithaca College, Ithaca, N.Y., where he played football and baseball.
In 1996, he helped the USA Team Handball Men’s National Team win their championship game at the Olympics in Atlanta.
Before entering the Seminary of the Immaculate Conception in 2002, he served as a youth minister at Our Lady of Perpetual Help parish, Lindenhurst, N.Y. His pastoral year—2004 to 2005—was spent at Our Lady of Loretto parish, Hempstead, N.Y.
“God has blessed us with many different gifts,” Deacon Fitzgerald said. “I would like to work with the youth and young adults, but most importantly, to serve and to be a good server.”
He said being an altar server and receiving support from his family influenced his decision to become a priest.
Deacon Sheridan is a Queens, N.Y. native who was educated at SS. Joachim and Anne Church, Queens Village, N.Y., and Archbishop Molloy High School, Jamaica, N.Y. He attended Queens College, Flushing, N.Y. and earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Cathedral College, Douglaston, N.Y. in 1975. He went to the Seminary of the Immaculate Conception from 1976 to 1978, and earned his master’s degree in theology there in 2006. He was an IBM Client Executive for 25 years.
“I’ve been feeling the call for a long time,” Deacon Sheridan said. “I want to help people work on their faith journey, help make the mysteries of the faith understandable to the person in the pew.”
He said his business background has made him skillful in collaboration.
“I’d love to bring that experience to the priesthood.”
Deacon Sheridan served this past year at St. Mary parish, Manhasset, N.Y.
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About The Diocese of Rockville Centre
Celebrating its Golden Jubilee, 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)
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Sean P. Dolan
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