FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 23, 2023
The Most Reverend Robert Brennan, Bishop of Brooklyn, today announced the appointment of four Regional Episcopal Vicars and the restructuring of the 22 parish deaneries throughout Brooklyn and Queens. The new structure highlights Bishop Brennan’s commitment to enhancing the role of the deaneries and collaboration among parishes.
Reverend John J. Costello (Queens East), Reverend Joseph M. Hoffman (Brooklyn East), Most Reverend Witold Mroziewski (Brooklyn West), and Very Reverend Peter J. Purpura (Queens West) have each been selected as Regional Episcopal Vicars. We anticipate the celebration of a Mass of Installation at the Co-Cathedral of Saint Joseph in the fall.
“In an effort to increase the involvement of the Vicars at the parish and deanery level, I have decided to expand the number of such positions from two to four in the Diocese. I am asking a lot of these priests taking on this new role, all while remaining parish pastors, and so expanding the number of regional vicariates will make the responsibilities more manageable,” said Bishop Robert Brennan.
“We have been working hard during the last year to reinvigorate the deaneries, and I am very satisfied with the progress made towards a more proactive working relationship among parishes. As we move forward, aware of the changing demographics and with the reality of fewer priests, we must look in this direction as we plan for the continued vitality of the Church here in Brooklyn and Queens in the future,” continued Bishop Brennan.
The Regional Vicars will have a general delegation, permission to grant confessional faculties, and permission to dispense from matrimonial impediments within the confines of the Diocese of Brooklyn. The Regional Vicars will meet with Bishop Brennan regularly to report on and discuss matters within their vicariate. They will serve as an ex-officio member of the Presbyteral Council, will serve on the Diocesan Assignment Board, and represent Bishop Brennan at civic and religious functions as requested.
The Regional Vicars will attend deanery meetings and meet individually with the deans in their vicariate a minimum of four times per year. They will provide input and encouragement on Diocesan initiatives, install and assist new pastors in their region, provide investigation and reconciliation to concerns made to the Bishop, assume a key role in Diocesan Pastoral Planning, address parish communities when allegations are made related to the Dallas Charter and/or Adult allegations, and in situations involving priests or deacons, collaborate with the Vicar of Clergy and Consecrated Life to address the situation and determine a proper remedy.
“The bishop has established these four vicariates in order to facilitate and enhance future pastoral initiatives in the Diocese. These well-respected members of the presbyterate bring with them extensive service as parish leaders. Their efforts will help advance conversations and plans to best serve the Catholic community within their region of the Diocese,” said Monsignor Joseph Grimaldi, Vicar General of the Diocese of Brooklyn.
The current Territorial Vicars are Most Reverend Neil Tiedemann (Brooklyn) and Most Reverend Witold Mroziewski (Queens). Bishop Tiedemann, who turned 75 years old earlier this year, has submitted his letter of resignation to Pope Francis as Canon Law requires, and his retirement is pending. Upon the Holy Father’s acceptance of Bishop Tiedemann’s resignation, these appointments will become effective.
Biographical information and photos of the new Regional Episcopal Vicars, and the composition and leadership of the new deaneries follow. The previous Diocesan deanery map divided Brooklyn and Queens by north and south. Parishes will now be categorized as east and west within each borough.
Reverend John J. Costello
Reverend John J. Costello was ordained to the priesthood on June 24, 1989. Father Costello has served as a priest for more than 34 years, assigned as a Parochial Vicar at both Our Lady of Miracles and St. Athanasius, and as Pastor at Immaculate Heart of Mary, Holy Trinity, St. Kevin (Administrator), and presently as Pastor of St. Luke Roman Catholic Church. Father Costello served four years as the Director of Family Life for the Diocese of Brooklyn and then as the Director of Jubilee 2000. He has also served on the Diocesan Evangelization Commission, as Associate Vicar for Clergy, and as a mentor for the newly ordained.
Father Costello served at the Pontifical North American College in Rome, and later as the Vice Rector of the former Cathedral Seminary House of Formation in Douglaston. Father Costello is a former Spiritual Advisor to the Pro Sanctity Movement in Brooklyn, and a past member of the Holy Cross High School Board of Directors.
Reverend Joseph M. Hoffman
Reverend Joseph M. Hoffman was ordained to the priesthood in October 1979. Father Hoffman has served the Diocese of Brooklyn for nearly 44 years, initially assigned as a Parochial Vicar to St. Martin of Tours. He has also served as Pastor of St. Lucy-St. Patrick Parish, St. Martin of Tours (second assignment), and St. Bartholomew. He is the current Pastor of St. Barbara Roman Catholic Church.
Father Hoffman serves as a Chaplain for the Fire Department of the City of New York (FDNY). He is the former Chaplain of the Pope John II Family Academy in Bushwick.
Most Reverend Witold Mroziewski
Most Reverend Witold Mroziewski was ordained to the priesthood on June 29, 1991, in Poland, and was assigned to the Diocese of Brooklyn in 1992. Then-Father Mroziewski was assigned to Our Lady of Czestochowa–St. Casimir as a parochial vicar in 1993 and began his studies of Canon Law and administration at the Catholic University in Lublin in 1997.
Upon his return to the Brooklyn Diocese, Father Mroziewski was appointed as the administrator of Our Lady of Czestochowa–St. Casimir Parish, and in 2002, was named pastor. In 2013, Father Mroziewski was assigned to his current position as pastor at Holy Cross Church. On July 20, 2015, Father Witold Mroziewski was ordained an Auxiliary Bishop of the Diocese of Brooklyn.
Bishop Witold Mroziewski holds a Doctorate in Canon Law and has served in the Diocese of Brooklyn Tribunal as an attorney and judge, working on marriage-related cases. He serves as the Vicar for Migrant and Ethnic Apostolates for the Brooklyn Diocese and serves on the USCCB Subcommittee on Asian and Pacific Island Affairs, and on the Aid to the Church in Central and Eastern Europe Subcommittee. Bishop Witold Mroziewski was named the Episcopal Vicar for Queens in March 2022.
Reverend Peter J. Purpura
Reverend Peter J. Purpura was ordained to the priesthood to serve the Diocese of Brooklyn on June 30, 2007. Father Purpura has served as a Parochial Vicar at St. Bernard and Our Lady of Hope. In 2015, Father Purpura was named the Rector of the Cathedral Basilica of St. James, and presently serves as the Pastor of Our Lady of Hope.
Father Purpura holds a Licentiate of Canon Law degree and is a Vice-Chancellor of the Brooklyn Diocese. He previously served as an Associate Judicial Vicar for the Diocese. Father Purpura is a member of the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre and is a Chaplain to the Queensboro Chapter of UNICO (Unity, Neighborliness, Integrity, Charity, Opportunity) National.