Brooklyn, N.Y. – Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio will ordain three 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 4, at 11 a.m.
The three men are Father Dariusz Strzelecki, Father Daniel Krzysztof Rajski, and Father Rodnev Pierre Lapommeray.
“The ordination to the priesthood is among the most important days in the life of the diocese,” said Bishop DiMarzio. “It will be through the hands of these young men that the Lord will become truly present, body, blood, soul and divinity to nourish God’s people. In their ministry, they will forgive sins and provide comfort and healing to the sick.”
Father Darius Strzelecki, 31, is a native of Poland. He pursued his calling to the priesthood after graduating high school, when he withdrew his application to study history in college and prayerfully realized the Holy Spirit was leading him to enter Seminary of SS. Cyril and Methodius in Krakow, Poland.
He holds a Masters of Divinity from Adam Mckiewicz University in Poznan, Poland, and came to the U.S. to complete studies at SS. Cyril and Methodius Seminary, Orchard Lake, Mich. While there, he visited St. Catherine of Alexandria parish, Borough Park, and accepted Bishop DiMarzio’s invitation to join the Diocese of Brooklyn. He has served the last year leading up to his ordination at Our Lady of Czestochowa-St. Casimir parish, Sunset Park, where he participated in various pastoral duties.
Father Strzelecki will celebrate his First Mass of Thanksgiving on Monday, June 6, at Our Lady of Czestochowa-St. Casimir, where he will celebrate with his parents and brother who have traveled from Poland, in addition to the friends and parish family he has met in the U.S. On Tuesday, June 7, he will travel to Poland and celebrate Mass with his family in the Basilica of St. Vincent de Paul.
“In Brooklyn, there is spontaneity and an openness,” he said. “In all the cultures and religions, there is a great openness and friendship… I feel incredible happiness. I am an instrument in the hands of God.”
Father Daniel Krzysztof Rajski, 28, is also a native of Poland. He pursued his calling to the priesthood after knowing from a young age he had a vocation, including an experience at the age of eight, when he envisioned himself in the role of a priest. He was further inspired by the examples of Blessed Pope John Paul II and his parish priests.
He recently completed studies at SS. Cyril and Methodius Seminary, Orchard Lake, Mich. He also studied at seminary in Poland, where he was involved in the Focolare Movement and spent a year studying in Loppiano, Italy. Since accepting Bishop DiMarzio’s invitation to serve the diocese, he has served at Holy Cross, Maspeth; St. Matthias, Ridgewood; St. Josaphat, Bayside; and St. Patrick, Bay Ridge. He said his hours devoted to homeless outreach efforts at Holy Cross, St. Matthias and St. Anthony-St. Alphonsus, Greenpoint, were particularly rewarding.
His mother and brother will be present at the ordination, as well as one of the priests who inspired him, his pastor, Father Kolodziejski.
Father Rajski will celebrate his First Mass of Thanksgiving at Holy Cross, Maspeth, on Sunday, June 5, at 11 a.m., and his second at St. Patrick, Bay Ridge, on Sunday, June 12, at 11 a.m. He will celebrate a third Mass of Thanksgiving at his home parish, Transfiguration, Budziszewice, Poland, on Sunday, June 19.
Through prayer, he said, “I have come to understand that it (accepting God’s call) is not so much a question of worthiness, but more a question of service. So I ask myself, ‘Am I willing to serve God?’ My answer is ‘Yes.’”
Father Rodnev Pierre Lapommeray, 28, was born and raised in Brooklyn, where he grew up in St. Jerome’s parish, East Flatbush. The son of Haitian-born parents, he always felt called to the spiritual life and was inspired by his pastor, the future Auxiliary Bishop Guy Sansaricq.
He is a graduate of St. Jerome’s School, East Flatbush; Regis High School, Manhattan; and Yale University, where he earned a degree in Psychology. After working two years for the New Haven Board of Education in Conn., he began the process of applying for seminary. He was accepted and attended Immaculate Conception Seminary, Huntington. As a seminarian, he has served at St. Therese of Lisieux, East Flatbush; Our Lady of Refuge, Flatbush; and Queen of All Saints, Fort Greene.
Father Lapommeray will celebrate his First Mass of Thanksgiving at St. Jerome’s Church on Sunday, June 5 at 4 p.m.
Reflecting on his journey to the priesthood, he said that during high school at Regis, there was an emphasis on service to the greater community. At Yale, he found other ways to serve, particularly working with at-risk children in New Haven. During this time, “the mystery of the Mass and the mystery of the celebration of the Eucharist attracted me, and I saw the examples of holy priests and their sacrificial service.”
And while he is “open to where the Holy Spirit guides” him, he said he would like to work in evangelizing young people.
Bishop DiMarzio called on the people of the Diocese of Brooklyn to join him “in praying for all priests, especially the newly ordained this week, that we might show the priesthood truly for what it is, a gift from God for the service of His Church.”