brooklyn priesthood


Are you considering a Vocation in Brooklyn?
Brooklyn Priests: A Vocation Within a Vocation


Are you considering a Vocation in Brooklyn?

Cathedral Basilica of Saint James

The Catholic faith was not planted on Long Island by missionaries, or a saintly priest, bishop, or abbot, but rather by dedicated, hard-working, faith-filled immigrant families.  The first Catholic families had to take a Ferry from Brooklyn to Manhattan for Mass, where they attended St. Peter’s Church on Barclay Street.  Saint James, Long Island’s first Catholic Church and now the Cathedral-Basilica of the Diocese, located on Jay Street in Brooklyn, was consecrated in 1823.


The first priests who lived at St. James traveled on horseback to the small Catholic communities forming throughout Long Island, from Jay Street to Sag Harbor.  In 1853, the Diocese of Brooklyn was established.  The Diocese of Brooklyn is geographically the smallest diocese in the United States.  However, it is the largest in terms of population.  It is also the only completely urban diocese in the United States.


Throughout the history of the Diocese of Brooklyn, its priests have been involved in every aspect of Catholic life.  That involvement has been concerned primarily with the life of the parish.  In a very powerful way, the life of the diocesan priest, in its joys and trials, is experienced as a pastor or parochial vicar in the daily witness of the unfolding of parish life. 


Bishop Thomas V. Daily, the sixth Bishop of Brooklyn (1990-2003), has a deep appreciation for the complex and universal nature of the Church in Brooklyn.  His phrase that “the whole world is here” certainly reflects the personal stories of the priests who have served in the diocese throughout its history. The priests of Brooklyn and Queens are members of a truly international presbyterate.  Both diocesan priests and the many religious orders of priests who have served in the diocese have attempted to respond to the needs of all Catholics: immigrants from the various countries of Europe, North America, South America, Africa, Asia, and Oceania, and black Catholics from the United States.  In a city which has been called the “capital of the world,” Brooklyn priests have reached beyond the Catholic community and worked tirelessly to promote greater harmony and understanding in ecumenical efforts, as well as interreligious dialogue.


If you are considering a vocation to serve as a priest in this great diocese, you will join a legacy of priests and bishops who have exercised very strong community leadership in the areas of Catholic education, Catholic Charities, and a wide range of programs for young people.  Priest ChaplainBrooklyn priests have also been models of heroic citizenship as priest chaplains who have served in the various branches of the Armed Forces of the United States, the FDNY, NYPD, and PAPD.  A number of them were recognized for their selfless dedication to all victims of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in lower Manhattan.  Many parish priests throughout the diocese cared for the victims and their families in the months that followed the attacks.  They presided over many funerals, and consoled grief-stricken families and friends.


Are you considering a vocation to serve as a priest in this diocese where many have been asked to serve the pastoral life of the Church in the important work of diocesan offices including the Chancery, the Marriage Tribunal, and the Cemetery office, the Propagation of the Faith, the Migration office, and the Schools office. Brooklyn priests have also generously served the Church in offices of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, and they have served the Holy See in the Vatican, including its diplomatic mission.  However, the most frequently used office is the parish office where people seek guidance, spiritual direction, sacramental preparation, and especially the celebration of the sacrament of Penance. In that sacred forum the priest unlocks the infinite richness of God’s merciful love for all those who are disposed to seek reconciliation with God through forgiveness from their sins.


Are you considering a vocation to serve as a priest in this diocese where many have served as teachers, educators, authors, and administrators in the field of higher education.  Some have served on the faculties of local colleges and universities; some have served at national colleges, seminaries, and universities.


Are you considering a vocation to serve as a priest in this diocese where many have given witness to Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount by being staunch defenders and advocates of those who experience various forms of injustice, including abuse, poverty, discrimination, lack of proper housing, and every form of “ism” which violates basic human rights and dignity.  In a very particular way, you are considering a vocation to serve as a priest whose life will include a tireless defense of the right to life from conception to natural death.


Are you considering a vocation to serve as a priest in a diocese where some have been ordained bishops, and three priests ordained for the Diocese of Brooklyn have been named to the College of Cardinals.  Brooklyn priests who have been ordained bishops have served the Church throughout the world.  One of those men, Bishop Francis X. Ford, M.M., died as a missionary and, some would claim a martyr in China in 1952.


Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio, the seventh Bishop of Brooklyn (2003- Present), writes a weekly column in the diocesan newspaper, The Tablet.  This column captures the theme of his episcopal ministry: “put out into the deep…” (Luke 5:4).  It is a summons to the entire Church to engage the contemporary culture in a new evangelization. 


Brooklyn Bridge

The Brooklyn Bridge is one of the great symbols of the United States.  When it opened in May, 1883, it represented both the sacrifice and the achievement of the immigrant experience.  It was a way of putting out “into the deep” through technological, cultural, commercial, and social development.    You are considering a vocation to serve as a priest.  You will have the mission of building not just a bridge that joins two bodies of land, but one that joins heaven and earth.  You will proclaim the holiness of God that is to be found in His kingdom.  Your mission within the presbyterate of Brooklyn will be to work in communion with the bishop and your brother priests to build the Church, the Body of Christ among the Catholic faithful that make up the counties of Kings and Queens. To do this you must ask yourself if you are willing to have your heart blessed, broken, and given to all by Jesus, the High Priest!  Is this your call?  Are you willing and able to risk everything? 


"I give myself entirely and totally to you."

Fr. Donelson Thevenin

I was born in Port Au Prince, Haiti, on July 19, 1973. I was involved actively at the parish of Notre Dame du Rosaire (Our Lady of the Rosary) where I was a member of the Legion of Mary, and one of the parish choir conductors. I worked as a volunteer at the local clinic, and later one I was on the payroll as a part time worker.  


In May of 1993, I came to the United States to live and to stay with my mother who was already living here in Brooklyn, NY. The summer of that year, I went to The Adult Learning Center to take ESL classes, and then at the end of the year I went to Educational Opportunity Center in Brooklyn to continue my ESL and to take other courses like Computer and Typing courses. The summer of 1994 I took the GED exam, passed it, and I applied to colleges. I went to Brooklyn College in January of 1995 and I majored in Health and Science as a pre-med student. Beside my studies, I was very active at Saint Jerome, my home parish. I was able to establish a new group with a new identity aiming at educating young people and helping them to become very active in the parish.

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