Ordination of 10 New Priests for the Diocese of Brooklyn

On Saturday, June 4th, the Diocese of Brooklyn will rank among the top dioceses in the nation in terms of new priests when 10 men are ordained to the priesthood for service in the diocese. The ordination will take place beginning at 11 a.m. at the Co-Cathedral of St. Joseph, 856 Pacific Street in Brooklyn. The Most Reverend Nicholas DiMarzio, Bishop of Brooklyn, will be the celebrant.

Adding to the already rich diversity of the Diocese of Brooklyn, our new priests come from all over the world.  Seven were born outside the United States – in Haiti, Poland, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Poland, and Nigeria. Three were born in the diocese, all of them with Brooklyn roots.

Our new priests join the diocese with degrees ranging from Theology and Divinity to Social and Economic Studies and with experience ranging from philosophy to banking to carpentry. In discerning God’s call to serve the Church as priests, the men found inspiration in prayer, pilgrimage, family, pastoral role models, and from Pope Francis.

“We are truly blessed that these ten newly Ordained have answered God’s call to the priesthood” Bishop DiMarzio said. “Each will enrich our vibrant and multicultural diocese with their deep faith and unique backgrounds. We thank their family and friends for the support they have given to them on the road to the priesthood.”

The Diocese of Brooklyn, the eighth largest diocese in the United States and the only entirely urban diocese in the Nation, serves the boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens. The combined population of the boroughs stands at 4.8 million residents, of which more than 1.5 million identify themselves as Catholics.

The diocesan network New Evangelization Television (NET TV) will provide live coverage of the Priests’ Ordination, which will also be live streamed on www.netny.tv. The encore presentation is on Saturday, June 18 at 9 p.m. NET TV is a cable network featuring news and information with a Catholic point of view, and is available in the New York area on Time Warner Cable, Channel 97; Cablevision, Channel 30; Verizon FiOS, Ch. 48; and nationally on Verizon FiOS On Demand.

Because of this event at the Co-Cathedral, both Pacific Street and Dean Street, between Underhill Street and Vanderbilt Avenue, will be closed to traffic.

For photos and full bios, please visit this week’s Tablet article, “2016 Ordinations to the Priesthood.” The men who will be ordained are:

Father Ambiorix Osorio

Father Osorio, 32, a native of the Dominican Republic, moved to New York in 1998. He began his university studies at the Technology Learning Institute in Harrison, NY. During his formation, he also served summer assignments at St. Mary Mother of Jesus parish in Bensonhurst. His second assignment was at Incarnation Church in Queens Village. There he saw the example of a priest who “gives his life to the service of the parish and the people” and the mutual love between pastor and parishioners.

Father Yvon Hector Aurelien

Father. Aurelien, 40, is a native of Haiti. He attended World Youth Day in Canada in 2002 as the diocesan assistant vocation director of a diocese in Haiti. Not yet a priest, the diocese hoped that his vocation would inspire other young people. After Canada, Father Aurelien entered the Grand Seminaire Notre Dame in Haiti. He spent two years studying philosophy and three years studying theology. He came to New York five years ago, where he entered at Cathedral Seminary House of Formation in Douglaston.  Now that his 12-year path to the priesthood has ended, his relatives are looking forward to see him begin his priestly ministry.

Father Victor Manuel Bolaños

Father Bolaños, 48, born in Colombia and raised in the Sagrada Familia Church in Quito, Ecuador.  He came to Long Island on a work visa. He had been working as an engineer for 15 years and was contracted by a New York company. He graduated from Redemptoris Mater Seminary in Kearny, N.J., and completed his studies at the Seminary of the Immaculate Conception at Seton Hall University in South Orange, N.J., where he earned a Master of Divinity degree.  Father Bolaños had never thought about becoming a priest until World Youth Day in Sydney, Australia, in 2008 when he felt a vocational call so powerful that he could not resist.

Father Ralph Edel

Father Edel, 26, born in Marine Park, Brooklyn, holds a bachelor’s in Philosophy from St. John’s University, a Master’s in theology from St. Joseph Seminary, Dunwoodie, and a Master of Divinity degree and a Bachelor of Sacred Theology (S.T.B.) degree from the University of St. Thomas Aquinas (Angelicum) in Rome.

His parents sacrificed so that he could have a Catholic education. When he was applying to high school, he realized God had a plan for his life.

“My mom noticed that I was nervous…She said ‘It is in God’s hands and he knows what He wants you to do,’” he recalled. “It was the first time that it occurred to me that my life was not my own. God was the one who was in control of my life and I was just along for the ride.” He attended Cathedral Prep and Seminary High School in Elmhurst, Queens.

Father Gesson Agenis

Father Agenis, 37, is originally from Les Cayes, Haiti. He attended St. Jeanne de Chantal Church, where the seed of his vocation was planted during Easter Sunday Mass when he was seven years old.

He attended Ecole nationale de Renaudin and the Lycee Phillipe Guerrier Des Cayes. After completing two years of college at Labonet Des Cayes, he entered the Redemptorist Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer.

He spent six years with the Redemptorists, and became fluent in Spanish while studying in the Dominican Republic, and Bogota, Colombia.

After a year-long program in English studies at St. John’s University, Jamaica, while in residence at the Pope John Paul II Discernment House, Cypress Hills, he was sent to Holy Apostles Seminary, Cromwell, Conn., to complete his theological studies. He earned a Masters of Divinity degree and received an award in pastoral theology.

Father Mark Bristol

Father Bristol, 31, is the youngest of four children born to immigrants from Guyana, South America. For him, the call to priesthood ebbed and flowed while he was serving in the U.S. Navy. Ultimately, he discerned that God was calling him to be a fisher of men.

He later earned his bachelor’s degree in philosophy at Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ohio, before entering the Seminary of the Immaculate Conception, Huntington, L.I., and moving on to St. Joseph Seminary, Dunwoodie.

He holds master’s degrees in divinity and theology from St. Joseph’s Seminary, and a Bachelor of Sacred Theology from the University of St. Thomas Aquinas, Rome.

Father Lukasz Kubiak

Father Kubiak, 38, was born in Leszno, Poland. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Wyzsza Szkola Spoleczno-Ekonomiczna (the Warsaw School of Social and Economic Studies).

In 2004, he entered the Warsaw Province of Redemptorists and undertook seven years of “intensive studies,” including three months studying German in Innsbruck, Austria. As he became aware of the lack of priests in other countries, he knew he would like to go where he was most needed, perhaps in Austria or Germany.

In 2013, he arrived at SS. Cyril and Methodius Seminary in Orchard Lake, Michigan, where he completed his theology studies, earning a masters of divinity degree, and where he honed his English language skills. He visited several dioceses to discern where God was calling him to serve.

Father Kubiak spent his first Christmas in the U.S. at St. Matthias parish in Ridgewood, Queens, and he immediately felt at home in the Diocese of Brooklyn.

Father Uririoghene Melchizedek Okrokoto

Father Okrokoto, 28, is a native of Delta State in southern Nigeria. Before entering Cathedral Seminary Residence, Douglaston, in 2008, he attended Queensborough Community College and worked as an aide in a nursing home.

He attended St. John’s University, Jamaica; the Seminary of the Immaculate Conception, Huntington, L.I.; and St. Joseph’s Seminary, Dunwoodie.

The seeds of his vocation were planted in his childhood village, Orogun, which had no parish but an outstation visited intermittently by a priest. He recalls the excitement among the people when the priest came to celebrate Mass and sacraments.

Father Okrokoto started his life in a rural village with hardly any electricity, where people “get down to the earth, work with their hands, sow and wait for crops to grow.” That gave him an appreciation for the goods he saw as he moved to more developed cities and later the United States. 

Father Jaroslaw Szeraszewicz

Father Szeraszewicz, 35, was born in Goldap, Poland. He served in the Polish Army before entering the seminary in his home Diocese of Elk, Poland.

He studied at SS. Cyril and Methodius Seminary, Krakow, and SS. Cyril and Methodius Seminary, Orchard Lake, Mich., where he earned his masters of divinity degree.

As part of his training for the Brooklyn Diocese, he lived for a year at Pope St. John Paul II Discernment House, Cypress Hills, and studied English at St. John’s University, Jamaica.

After entering the seminary, he was faced with another decision: where he would serve. Seeing the abundance of priests in Poland, he began to consider ministry abroad. He learned of the great need for priests in the United States, and through prayer, felt God was calling him to respond to that need.

Father Marcial Thomas

Father Thomas, 27, was born in Brooklyn. He was studying at Queens College when he discovered his vocation through the intercession of the Virgin Mary.

He had been going to daily Mass at his home parish after he was going through a tough time. “I was trying to figure out what is real, what is the reason to live,” he said. One day, while praying after Mass, he felt called to go to a room dedicated to Our Lady. Once he went into the room, he experienced “an overwhelming peace that he had never felt before.”

From then on, he would pray a rosary and talk to his Mother after Mass. One day, while in prayer, it entered his heart: “You should look at the priesthood.”