Four men — including two with local connections — will be ordained priests of the Archdioceses of Newark by Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin, C.Ss.R., archbishop of Newark, in the Rite of Ordination Saturday, May 27, at 10 a.m. in Newark’s Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart.
The public is invited to attend ordination, which will give Archdiocese of Newark parishioners the chance to pray for the newly ordained before they are assigned to parishes in Bergen, Essex, Hudson or Union counties.
Attendees of the priestly ordination will also have the opportunity to receive the first blessings from the new priests, who will be stationed throughout the Cathedral Basilica following the ceremony to greet their well-wishers.
This year’s group of soon-to-be-priests come to the Archdiocese from all over the world, where they each led very different lives. Despite their contrasting backgrounds, the four men share one thing in common — their lives have been made whole by God. They are as follows:
Deacon Bernardo Garcia, 29: Deacon Garcia, a parishioner of St. Peter’s Church, Belleville, intended to graduate from college with a business degree, take over his father’s recycling company and get married. But after seeing the joy among the priests while attending a Chrism Mass at the Cathedral Basilica, he realized giving himself to God might fill the emptiness he felt in his life. Now, after spending nine years in the seminary, he knows becoming a priest was always God’s plan for him.
Deacon Frenel Phanord, 31: As a teenager in the Turks and Caicos Islands, Deacon Phanord — currently serving at St. Peter’s Belleville — had a lot of tough questions about the purpose of his life. He believed he might find answers in the seminary, so he joined thinking he might last a year or two.
He never left.
Now on the verge of entering the priesthood, Deacon Phanord is eager to help others by bringing them to Christ.
Deacon Robert Burkot, 59: Deacon Burkot has always lived a life of service. Over his nearly 60 years, he has worked as a catechist, helped his widowed sister raise her children, and acted as a caretaker and legal advocate for his sister after she was stricken with cancer.
But Deacon Burkot was not inspired to become a priest until having a dream in which Mary pushed him into Jesus’ embrace. Since entering the seminary, he has prepared a blind and autistic boy for his first Communion, and he is excited to help even more people upon entering the priesthood.
Deacon JuHyun Andrew Lee, 27: After experiencing poverty, Deacon Lee developed a desire to help others who are struggling like he did. So, immediately after graduating high school, the South Korean native entered the seminary to pursue his dream of becoming a priest. He is eager to be ordained soon so he can assist parishioners and let them know it is never too late to turn to God.
“This year’s ordinandi are a great bunch of guys, and they represent a great diversity of backgrounds and experiences that will help them in their ministry,” the Rev. Eugenio de la Rama, director of vocations for the Archdiocese of Newark, said. “As Pope Francis said, the modern-day priesthood is a sacramental expression of Christ’s work. The priesthood is not a job — it’s a participation in Christ’s healing, mercy and love for his people. And I’m confident that these men will grow in that mission every day through prayer and their good works.”
Any Catholic man interested in exploring a life in the priesthood is encouraged to contact the Archdiocese of Newark’s Office of Priestly Vocations, which fosters a culture of vocations through prayer, recruitment and accompaniment. To learn more, visit www.newarkpriest.com.
Learn more about the writer ...
Kevin A. Canessa Jr. is the editor of and broadcaster at The Observer, a place where he has served on and off since 2006. He is responsible for the editorial content of the newspaper and website, the production of the e-Newspaper, writing several stories per week (including the weekly editorial), conducting live broadcasts on Facebook Live, including a weekly recap of the news — and much more behind the scenes. Between 2006 and 2008, he introduced the newspaper to its first-ever blog — which included podcasts, audio and video. Originally from Jersey City, Kevin lived in Kearny until 2004, lived in Port St. Lucie. Florida, for four years until February 2016 and in March of that year, he moved back to West Hudson to return to The Observer full time. Click Here to send Kevin an email.