From the in-my-backyard desk: two new auxiliary bishops for Brooklyn

And one of them, Bishop-elect Paul Sanchez, is not only the territorial vicar for my parish; he’s also the son of a deacon.

The press release:

Pope Benedict XVI has appointed two priests of the Diocese of Brooklyn – Msgr. Raymond Chappetto, 66, and Msgr. Paul Sanchez, 65 – as auxiliary bishops of Brooklyn. Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, Apostolic Nuncio to the United States, made the announcement public today in Washington, D.C.

Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio will ordain the new bishops at a Mass of Episcopal Ordination to be celebrated at Our Lady of Angels R.C. Church, Brooklyn, on July 11th at 2 p.m.

“These two men are among the most respected priests in the Diocese of Brooklyn. Fundamentally, they are parish priests at heart.  Each is very attentive to the diverse needs of the people they serve,” said Bishop DiMarzio. “I am also grateful for their assistance in my ministry as bishop. Bishop-elect Chappetto and Bishop-elect Sanchez consistently offer wise counsel and advice that has been indispensable in the administration of the diocese with respect to parish reconfiguration and the revitalization of spiritual programs and ministry to priests.”

The Most Reverend Raymond Chappetto was born August 20, 1945, in Astoria. He studied at Our Lady of Angels Seminary, Albany, where he holds a Master’s of Divinity, as well as a Master of Arts in Religious Education from St. John’s University. He is also certified in Pastoral Counseling.

He was ordained May 29, 1971, by Bishop Francis Mugavero at St. James Pro-Cathedral, Downtown Brooklyn. His priestly assignments include associate pastor at St. Camillus, Rockaway Beach (1971-75); St. Pius V, Jamaica (1975-76); Incarnation, Queens Village (1976-81), and St. Helen, Howard Beach (1981-83). He was among the first to be involved in Team Ministry at Our Lady of Miracles, Canarsie, from 1983-89, where he ultimately then became pastor. He served there until 1995 when he was named an Episcopal Vicar for Brooklyn West. In 1999, he became pastor of Our Lady of the Snows, Floral Park, where he still serves. The National Catholic Education Association named him Pastor of the Year in 2008.

While remaining pastor of Our Lady of Snows, Msgr. Chappetto was appointed Minister for Priests and in 2009 he was named Vicar for Clergy and Consecrated Life.  His sister-in-law is a religious sister in the congregation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

“I am honored and humbled that the Holy Father would entrust me with such an important ministry in the life of the Church,” said Bishop-elect Chappetto. “The work of visiting the sick, as well as teaching in our parochial school and celebrating the Sacraments has kept me grounded for the forty-one years of my priesthood.  Despite the greater responsibilities of my new office, I intend to be faithful to those ministries which have been so nourishing to me these many years.”

Bishop-elect Chappetto was named a Prelate of Honor by Blessed John Paul II in 1997.  He speaks English and Italian.

The Most Reverend Paul Sanchez was born November 26, 1946, in Brooklyn. He earned a Bachelor of Arts from St. Bonaventure’s University, a Master of Arts from the University of Notre Dame and a Licentiate of Sacred Theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome.

He was ordained December 17, 1971, by then-Bishop James Hickey (later His Eminence James Cardinal Hickey of Washington, D.C.) at Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome. His priestly assignments include Our Lady of Mercy, Forest Hills (1972-75), St. Michael, Flushing (1975-87), and St. Sebastian, Woodside (1987-91). He served as pastor at St. Agatha, Brooklyn (1991-2001), and Our Lady of Mount Carmel, (2001-08), while also serving as administrator of St. Margaret Mary, Long Island City. He was named Vicar for Queens North in June 2008 and, beginning in June 2009, continues to serve as Vicar for Queens.

Then-Father Sanchez was named vicariate coordinator for the diocesan Liturgical Commission, January 1975.  He served as a member of the Presbyteral Council, January 1984; member of the diocesan team for Ministry to Priests, January 1985; member, International Committee on English in the Liturgy sub-committee, January 1978 to January 1979.  A passionate teacher, he was an adjunct faculty member at Saint John’s University and the Seminary of the Immaculate Conception in Huntington, New York.

“I have been a priest for forty years and have been privileged to see how Almighty God has used me, despite my many failings and weaknesses, to build up the kingdom of Heaven.  I am deeply grateful to the Holy Father for his confidence and trust in choosing me to share in the life of the apostles of our Lord,” said Bishop-elect Sanchez.  “I have loved my ministry as a parish priest in my first three wonderful parishes and then as pastor of the people of St. Agatha in Sunset Park and Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Astoria.  Even when the people had limited financial resources, they were rich in faith and an inspiration to my life of faith. Moreover, as the Territorial Vicar of Queens, I have been able to work closely with the pastors, priests and staff of our parishes.  As I have walked on this great pilgrimage as a priest, the depths of God’s love have been made very clearly manifest.”

Bishop-elect Sanchez was named a Prelate of Honor by Blessed John Paul II in 1997. He speaks English and Spanish.

As auxiliary bishops, they will join Auxiliary Bishop Frank Caggiano, Vicar General, and Auxiliary Bishop Octavio Cisneros, Vicar for Hispanic Concerns and pastor of Holy Child Jesus, Richmond Hill, in assisting Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio to serve the sacramental, spiritual and pastoral needs of the 1.4 million multi-cultural Catholics who reside in Brooklyn and Queens.

  • Mark

    Deacon Greg, thanks for sharing this news. You mention that Bishop-elect Sanchez’ father is a deacon. Given the ages involved and the history of the diaconate in the US, can we assume that his father was ordained sometime after or around the time the son was ordained a priest (1971)? However it transpired, I think the story of the father and son sharing in the service to the Church provides a great example to all. I hope that CNS or the Brooklyn Tablet do some reporting on the father — it’s a great angle that should be covered.

    [Paul told me that his father was ordained a deacon after he became a priest, and served in Rockville Centre. DGK]

  • Mark

    Deacon Greg, thanks for confirming the dates. I hope that someone in the Catholic press does a story on the father. Or, if there was already a story done on him in the past, maybe re-run the story. This is great stuff. Thanks again!

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  • Bede

    I had the happy privilege of serving with Paul’s father, Larry, in my first parish.
    He was a gentleman in every sense of the word.
    And looking at a picture of Paul today is like looking at the face of Larry then!
    I’m sure he is beaming in heaven!

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