SIX PRIESTS TO BE ORDAINED FOR DIOCESE OF BROOKLYN
Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio will ordain six men to the priesthood for the Diocese of Brooklyn at a
Mass at St. James Cathedral Basilica, 250 Cathedral Place, Downtown Brooklyn, on Saturday,
June 23 at 11 a.m.
The six men are Father Sergiy Emanuel, Father Giancarlo Pattugalan, Father Larry Ryan, Father
Stephen Saffron, Father Sean Suckiel and Father Joseph Zwosta.
“These men truly are representative of the diversity of the people of the Diocese of Brooklyn,”
said Bishop DiMarzio. “Their ordination will be a deeply moving experience, and is among the
most important days in the life of the diocese. These men have demonstrated their courage by
being so counter-cultural, and are a sign of hope for the future. Their lives exude the zeal to be
truly apostolic priests for the New Evangelization.”
Father Sergiy Emanuel, 36, was born into a Polish-Ukrainian family in Prague, Czech
Republic. His father was a professional musician, and his family cultivated both cultural
traditions, speaking Polish and Ukrainian languages at home. Later at school in the Ukraine
during the Communist era, he had to study in Russian.
After graduating from technical high school, he worked for a construction company. He became
a parishioner at the Cathedral of St. Sophia in Zhitomir, which, at that time, was the only active
church in the province. His decision to become a priest was greatly influenced by the priestly life
of the pastor, marked by selfless service to others and fervent prayer.
Father Sergiy entered the Roman Catholic Seminary of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in the Ukraine,
completing four years of philosophical and theological studies. He was assigned to pastoral
service at the Cathedral Church in Zhitomir. At that time, he met a Polish missionary priest, who
encouraged him to consider priestly service in America. He entered the preparatory program at
SS. Cyril and Methodius seminary in Krakow. Coming to the U.S., he continued seminary
studies at Orchard Lake, Michigan, becoming affiliated with the Diocese of Brooklyn.
His final theological preparation for priestly ordination was completed at the Metropolitan
Seminary, run in cooperation with the John Paul II University in Lublin, Poland. He holds a
Masters in Theology from John Paul II University.
Father Emanuel will celebrate his First Mass of Thanksgiving at Our Lady of Czestochowa-St.
Casimir, Bush Terminal, on Sunday, June 24, at 11 a.m.
Father Giancarlo Pattugalan, 25, is from St. Mary Star of the Sea parish, Far Rockaway.
He is a 2004 graduate of Cathedral Prep, Elmhurst; a 2008 graduate of St. John’s University with
a Bachelor’s in Philosophy; and a 2011 graduate from the Pontifical Gregorian College in Rome
with a Bachelor’s in Sacred Theology.
“I can’t recall the moment when I ‘heard’ the call from the Lord,” said Father Pattugalan. “It’s
something that just happened. Like many things in life, it was a certain hunch, an urge, a feeling
that this was exactly what I was meant to do. And I could not ignore this feeling inside me. It all
started when I was eight years old. I met a priest who influenced me through his great love for
God and other people. I never knew a person could be so fulfilled in life. This priest played a big
role in the discovery of my vocation.”
Father Pattugalan will celebrate his First Mass of Thanksgiving at Immaculate Conception
Center, Douglaston, on Sunday, June 24, at 12:30 p.m.
Father Lawrence Ryan, 63, was born and raised in St. Ephrem’s parish, Dyker Heights. He
attended St. Ephrem’s School; Cathedral Prep, Brooklyn; Columbia University; New York
University School of Law, and Holy Apostles Seminary in Cromwell, Connecticut. During
summers while at Holy Apostles he attended the Institute for Priestly Formation in Omaha and
studied Spanish in Mexico.
“Shortly after college, I began what turned out to be a long and happy career as a special agent
with the U.S. Customs Service,” said Father Ryan. “During my early years, I investigated
different types of Customs crimes. Later I was an agent-instructor at the Customs Academy and
worked as an agent supervisor and manager in several cities, including New York and
He also served as a member of the Army National Guard and Army Reserve, and later as an
officer in the Coast Guard Reserve. Following September 2001, he participated in the merger of
the Customs and Immigration functions into the new Department of Homeland Security.
“Although I always attended Sunday Mass, I was like many Catholics in that I was not that
active in my faith during my young adult and early middle-age years,” he said. “However, as
time went by I began to attend daily Mass more regularly, to receive the Sacraments of Penance
and Holy Eucharist more frequently, and to think and pray about becoming a priest. After much
prayer and thought, I entered Holy Apostles Seminary in Cromwell, Connecticut in January of
Father Ryan will celebrate his First Mass of Thanksgiving at St. Ephrem, Dyker Heights, on
Sunday, June 24, at 12 p.m.
Father Stephen Saffron, 34, was born in Perth Amboy, New Jersey. Raised in a Polish ethnic
parish, St. Stephen’s, he attended the parish grammar school and later Perth Amboy Public High
School. He then studied at Middlesex County College and Seton Hall University, and
Immaculate Conception Seminary at Seton Hall, New Jersey.
“As a child and young adult, I was always around the parish. I served at the altar for many years,
belonged to various parish organizations and the Knights of Columbus,” said Father Saffron.
“During my college years I played the organ in church. I took private lessons as a child and did
some organ studies in college.”
“During my college years, my father passed away and my mother took ill. I took time off from
school to take care of my mother since I am an only child. My mother died before my ordination
as a deacon. Through all of these experiences I have always had the love and support of family
He came to the Diocese of Brooklyn last year and has been ministering as a deacon at St.
Father Saffron will celebrate his First Mass of Thanksgiving at St. Matthias, Ridgewood, on
Sunday, June 24, at 11:30 a.m.
Father Sean Suckiel, 26, a member of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal parish, Ridgewood, is
a graduate of Cathedral Prep Seminary, Elmhurst, and holds a Bachelor’s from St. John’s
University and a Master’s of Divinity and Masters in Theology from Immaculate Conception
“Ever since the second grade, I have felt that God had been calling me to the Priesthood of Jesus
Christ,” said Father Suckiel. “I first felt the call to the Priesthood during Sunday Mass. As I
watched the priest, I thought to myself ‘Why not me?’ Over time, I became open to the idea of
Priesthood and said ‘yes’ to God.
“One thing that helped me to discern my vocation was service. In serving others I have come to
find great joy and fulfillment; it is serving others that we come to meet Jesus Christ in a unique
and personal way,” he said.
Father Suckiel will celebrate his First Mass of Thanksgiving at Our Lady of Miraculous Medal,
Ridgewood, on Sunday, June 24, at 3 p.m.
Father Joseph Zwosta, 26, was born in Brooklyn and grew up in Resurrection parish, Gerritsen
He attended public grammar school; Mark Twain Junior High School for the Gifted and
Talented, Coney Island; Stuyvesant H.S., Manhattan; and Georgetown University, Washington,
D.C., where he holds a Bachelor’s of Arts.
“The day I arrived at college, I made a pledge to myself and to God that I would attend Mass
every Sunday,” said Father Zwosta. “I found the Catholic community on campus to be
refreshingly vibrant. I soon got involved in the campus council of the Knights of Columbus, a
group that helped nourish my prayer life and my vocation throughout my college years. Through
the Knights, I began to attend adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, a devotion with which I had
not been familiar. I started to attend daily Mass frequently. I also came to know and to admire
several faithful and holy Jesuit priests. All of these experiences helped me to hear God’s call to
He became involved with the Diocese of Brooklyn by attending Project Andrew and the
Bishop’s vocation retreat. He did pre-theology studies at Cathedral Seminary Residence,
Douglaston, and was then sent to the North American College, Rome, where he holds a
Bachelor’s in Sacred Theology. He will complete his licentiate degree in ecumenism and
interreligious dialogue next year in Rome.
Father Zwosta will celebrate his First Mass of Thanksgiving at Resurrection, Gerritsen Beach, on
Sunday, June 24, at 9 a.m.