My pastor, the bishop

Two weeks ago, the Pope named two new auxiliary bishops for the Diocese of Brooklyn. Now, we’ve learned, one of them will be the new pastor at my parish.

He’s Msgr. Paul Sanchez — shown above, concelebrating Mass with Brooklyn’s Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio.

From his biography:

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.

My present pastor, who submitted his retirement papers earlier this year (after reaching the mandatory age of 75), will remain in the parish as administrator.

As I noted earlier, the bishop-elect happens to be the son of a deacon.  (A bishop whose father was a deacon? How often does that happen?) His father was ordained to serve the Diocese of Rockville Centre a few years after his son became a priest.

Msgr. Sanchez will be ordained a bishop on the feast of St. Benedict, July 11.

Ad multos annos!

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