Jubilee priests honored for lives of sharing Christ’s love


Bishop Kevin J. Sweeney helped 17 priests to celebrate significant anniversaries of their priesthood — from 25 to 65 years in priestly ministry — during the annual diocesan Priests Jubilee Mass on June 4 in Corpus Christi Church in Chatham Township. He thanked all the honored priests for saying, “yes” to God’s call to priesthood.

The liturgy honored diocesan priests, both retired and in active ministry; a non-incardinated diocesan priest; and religious order priests. This year, they are marking milestone anniversaries of their ordinations — 65, 55, 50, 40, and 25 years. The list on page 8 names them with their years of service and ordination dates. Bishop Sweeney served as the main celebrant of the Mass.

Msgr. Kevin Flanagan, a jubilarian marking 65 years in ministry, was invited to deliver the homily. The Irish-born priest is retired and is pastor emeritus of St. Lawrence the Martyr Parish in Chester.

“Congratulations to my brothers for celebrating wonderful milestones in their priesthoods, devoted to the Lord and his Church,” Msgr. Flanagan told his fellow jubilarians. “It’s been a great ride. I have been blessed in my priesthood with such wonderful people: great priest friends — like a family — and six great bishops.”

In his homily, Msgr. Flanagan encouraged the celebrating priests to “continue your good work. Every one of you is essential. Some days are great, some days are not so great, but we all have a purpose and vocation to serve. Stay with it. It’s for the present and the life to come.”

Many priests concelebrated the Jubilee Mass with Bishop Sweeney, including jubilarians and other priests.

During the Mass, Bishop Sweeney led the jubilarians in renewing their priestly promises. He also gave those in attendance a certificate to mark their anniversary.

Bishop Sweeney thanked the jubilarians for their priestly ministries to the diocese and prayed for longevity, followed by the congregation’s applause.

In his homily, Msgr. Flanagan also thanked the parishioners of the various parishes he served, who “were so good — kind and generous.”

“It helps if we [priests] go out of our way for them when needed. We have to make a little sacrifice now and again but that is our vocation,” Msgr. Flanagan said. He also spoke about those parishioners, who are deeply religious, including many who attend daily Mass and spend time in prayer before and after Masses. “They are always a great example of prayer to me. I wish I could be as good as they are.”

Priests of the Paterson Diocese

65 Years

Msgr. Kevin Flanagan
Ordained June 13, 1959

55 Years

Father Frank O’Grady
Ordained June 7, 1969

50 Years

Father Stanley C. Barron
Ordained May 4, 1974

Father William B. Collins
Ordained June 16, 1974

Father Michael J. Drury
Ordained May 4, 1974

Father Edward G. Lambro
Ordained May 24, 1974

Father Charles Perricone
Ordained May 25, 1974

Father Ronald T. Sordillo
Ordained May 4. 1974

Father Wayne Varga
Ordained May 25, 1974

40 Years

Peter VB Wells
Oct. 27, 1984

25 Years

Father T. Kevin Corcoran
Ordained Nov. 27, 1999

Father Brando Ibarra
Ordained Sept. 25, 1999

Non-incardinated diocesan priest

25 Years

Father Paul Nwambu (Aba, Nigeria)
Ordained Aug. 14, 1999

Religious priests

60 Years

Father Abram Dono, ST

50 Years

Father Robert J. Norton, OFM

40 Years

Father Mark Marangone, SX
Father Waclaw Sokolowski, OFM Conv.


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