PRIEST ORDINATION: June 3, 2023
CO-CATHEDRAL OF ST. JOSEPH
As the eldest of six children, Rev. Eze was born in Nigeria to Linus and Stella Eze, who instilled in him Godly teachings and examples. He lived near a local Catholic church, where he became an altar server after his First Holy Communion, and credits his uncle Kevin Eze for demonstrating a profound passion for prayer, giving him hope and direction. Rev. Eze attended Boys High School in Orba and graduated from the University of Nigeria in Nsukka with a degree in mechanical engineering. His decision to enter the seminary was encouraged by his parents and another uncle, Father Franklin Ezeorah, who already was ordained and serving in the U.S. as the parochial vicar at St. Martin de Porres Parish in Bedford-Stuyvesant. Rev. Eze arrived in New York in 2015. Since his ordination as a transitional deacon last November, he has been serving at Our Lady of Grace, Howard Beach, while remaining in formation at St. Joseph’s Seminary in Dunwoodie.
Rev. Alonso was born in 1978 in Havana, Cuba. He became a missionary in rural areas as a young adult, armed with knowledge he learned from Vincentian priests while studying philosophy at a minor seminary. In 2007, Rev. Alonso left Cuba for Miami where his father had become a U.S. citizen. He earned an associate’s degree from Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts Miami and became a personal chef for the families. Rev. Alonso settled in Astoria, Queens where he became active in St. Joseph’s Parish as a catechist. He then became the director of religious education, which started him thinking about his priestly vocation again as he did when he was 29 years old. Rev. Alonso worked summers in Saints Simon and Jude Parish in far southwest Brooklyn and helped out at Immaculate Conception Parish in Astoria while in formation at the national seminary in Westin. He worked at Most Holy Redeemer Parish in East Boston as well. Rev. Alonso loves teaching students of all ages and ministering to the homebound where he visits the sick daily at Immaculate Conception.
Rev. Samuel Mwiwawi spent his childhood living all over Kenya, one of six children of Hendrick and Florence Lucy Mwiwawi. He is fluent in American Sign Language as he started learning it in Kenya to help teach the Gospel to hearing-impaired people there. Once he came to the U.S., he joined the Dominican Missionaries for the Apostolates of the Deaf and Disabled. His sign-language skills improved during a summer-long “immersion” program at Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C. In 2018-2019, the Dominicans referred him to help interpret sign language for Catholic Charities of Brooklyn and Queens. Rev. Mwiwawi completed his studies at Pope St. John XXIII National Seminary in Weston, Massachusetts. Since his ordination as a transitional deacon, he has immersed himself in parish life, including helping at Mass and with the administration of sacraments, visiting the homebound, and religious education program at St. Bernard Catholic Academy. He speaks English and Swahili, adding that learning Spanish is “a work in progress.”
The youngest of six children, born to Cevelorme and Nostha Cherelus in Portau-Prince, Haiti, Rev. Cherelus was fascinated with the priesthood at the age of 5 and 6. His pastor encouraged him to join a Church group to develop his prayer life and participate in Church ministries and activities. He attended Catholic schools and earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Port-au-Prince. He began working as a business owner. While visiting Haiti, Rev. Cherelus met some recruiters from Divine World College in Epworth, Iowa. The college offered him a scholarship and there he earned a second bachelor’s degree in philosophy. Father Suckiel, now pastor of Holy Family Parish in Flushing Queens, made a space for Rev. Cherelus in the St. John Paul II House of Discernment, where he resided for a year. During that time, his vocation solidified. St. Joseph Seminary in Dunwoodie admitted him and he embarked on earning his master’s in theology and attended workshops to teach future priests the business side of running a parish. As a transitional deacon, helped at Our Lady of Fatima, Jackson Heights, Queens.