HARTFORD – Archbishop Leonard P. Blair will ordain five men to the priesthood at 11 a.m. May 21 at the Cathedral of St. Joseph in Hartford.
The candidates for priesthood are, from left, Deacons Héctor Rangel Guerrero of Charalá, Santender, Colombia; Matthew Gary Gworek of Southington; Patrick Michael Kane of New Britain; Philip Thomas O’Neill of Windham; and Philip Roy Schulze of New York City.
The candidates have completed at least five years of formation and studies in theology and philosophy, in addition to undergraduate studies in a different field.
Father Jeffrey A. Gubbiotti, vocation director of the Archdiocese of Hartford, has accompanied the men in this last year of formation and serves as a liaison between the seminary formation teams and Archbishop Blair, who ultimately decided to call the men to the priesthood.
“These men are God’s answer to our daily prayer for laborers to be sent into his harvest. We rejoice at their generous response to God’s call, and we pray for them, and for all priests, that they will be faithful and true in fulfilling their ministry with no thought but to serve,” said Archbishop Blair.
Father Gubbiotti said, “These men have worked hard over many years to discern their vocation to the priesthood and prepare themselves to live that call out for the rest of their lives. My hope for them is that they will persevere in their passionate pursuit of God’s will and grow in their love for the Lord and his people with each passing year of ministerial service to the people of the Archdiocese of Hartford.”
At the ordination Mass, Archbishop Blair will announce the parishes at which the new priests will begin their priestly ministry.
Deacon Guerrero, 34, studied with the Salesians of St. John Bosco in Colombia, where he spent nine years in his priestly formation. He attended Colegio Integrado Pedro Santos high school, and majored in philosophy at the Universidad Minuto de Dios of Bogota. He received a bachelor’s degree in ecclesiology and a master’s degree in theology from the Jesuit Pontifical University in Bogota, Colombia.
Deacon Guerrero also attended St. Thomas Seminary in Bloomfield and studied English as a second language at the University of Hartford. He then studied at Mount St. Mary's Seminary in Maryland in preparation for his ordination to the priesthood.
He was ordained as a transitional deacon on Feb. 6 at St. Thomas Parish in Southington. He has served at the Assumption Parish in Ansonia, Corpus Christi in Wethersfield and at St. Thomas Parish in Southington.
Deacon Gworek, 29, studied at the Theological College, seminary of The Catholic University of America, in Washington, D.C. In preparation for the priesthood, he has served at various parishes across the archdiocese, including St. Mary in Branford, St. Casimir and Immaculate Conception in Terryville, Sacred Heart in New Britain and St. Thomas in Southington. He earned a bachelor’s degree in music and science from the University of Connecticut.
Deacon Gworek says that he is looking forward to giving back to his parishioners. He said he wants people to recognize the blessings that God has placed in their lives.
Deacon Kane, 30, studied at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Wynnewood, Pa., and St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary in Boynton Beach, Fla. He has served at various parishes across the archdiocese, including St. Margaret in Madison; St. Jerome and St. Maurice in New Britain, St. Bernard in Enfield, St. Dominic in Southington, St. Margaret in Waterbury, St. Bernadette in New Haven and St. Joseph in Bristol.
Deacon Kane earned a bachelor’s degree in music from Central Connecticut State University. He said he is looking forward to preaching, administering the sacrament of baptism and serving the people of God.
Deacon O’Neill, 25, studied at Mount St. Mary’s in Emmitsburg. St. Mary Magdalen in Oakville and St. Bridgetin Cheshire are among the parishes in which he has served.
Deacon O’Neill earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Christendom College and is pursuing a Master of Divinity Degree from Mount St. Mary’s Seminary.
He said he cannot wait to begin serving the church as a minister of God and that nothing will make him happier than being able to live and embrace his faith as a priest.
Deacon Schulze, 61, a former corporate real estate professional, started on the path to the priesthood later in life. He studied at Pope St. John XXIII National Seminary in Weston, Mass. He has served at such parishes as Holy Angels in Meriden, the Cathedral of St. Joseph in Hartford, St. Anthony in Litchfield, St. Anne in Hartford, St. Patrick in Farmington, St. Rose in East Hartford, and the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Waterbury.
He studied at the University of Notre Dame and the University of Wisconsin.