WASHINGTON (April 30, 2007)—A widower with a son who returned from Iraq, a man whose brother didn't, businessmen, immigrants and refugees are among the 2007 ordination class.
The class of nearly 500 men from dioceses across the country being ordained for the priesthood reflects the church in the United States that is filled with well educated professionals, newcomers to the nation and souls touched by war. Most will be ordained in the spring.
Timothy Kruthaupt, 55, who was widowed when his son Alex was 16 months old, will be ordained in June for the Diocese of Greensburg, Pennsylvania. Alex, who is now 27, works in Washington and is a sergeant in the Army Reserve, is expected to attend. He missed his father's ordination to the deaconate last year when he was deployed to Iraq.
Matthew Fasnacht, meanwhile will be ordained for the Diocese of Winona, Minnesota. His family will be in attendance minus his older brother Michael Fasnacht, an Army Ranger killed in Iraq in 2005 by a remote controlled bomb.
Several ordinands have military background. Christopher Butera, 28, who will be ordained for the Diocese of Allentown. Pennsylvania, is a mechanical engineer, and is a lieutenant in the Army Reserve. Daniel Goulet, one of four men to be ordained for the Archdiocese of Baltimore, served eight years in the Army and will return to active duty as a military chaplain after three years of parish service in the archdiocese. He was co-sponsored for the seminary by the Archdiocese for Military Services.
Kim Schreck, who will be ordained for the Diocese of Pittsburgh, participated in a summer chaplaincy program of the U.S. Navy in 2004. James Peak, who will be ordained for the Diocese of Spokane, Washington, is a major in the Army Reserve. Daniel Kennedy, who will be ordained for the Archdiocese of Boston, is a reservist in the U.S. Navy Chaplain Corps. Darren Eldridge, who will be ordained for the Diocese of Lafayette, Louisiana, spent 16 years in the Air Force, where he flew B-52's in the Strategic Air Command and saw combat in Desert Storm.
Franciscan Brother George Corrigan, who will be ordained a Franciscan priest, graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1974, and served aboard nuclear submarines in the Pacific.
Some ordinands made a hard trek to the United States. Marco Antonio Gonzalez, who will be ordained for the Diocese of Raleigh, North Carolina, came to the United States in 1991 with his family, who worked as migrant laborers. He will be the first Mexican-born priest ordained for the diocese. Other Mexican priests are men on loan from dioceses.
Ngoan Phan, who will be ordained for the Archdiocese of San Francisco, was one of thousands of Vietnamese who lived for a time in a Hong Kong refugee camp. Trinh Le, who will be ordained for the Congregation of the Holy Spirit, was a seminarian who tried to escape Vietnam after the fall of Saigon. He was caught and put in a labor camp for six months before he was sponsored to come to the United States.
About six percent of the Class of 2007 are converts to Catholicism. W. Daniel Beeman, who will be ordained for the Diocese of Richmond, Virginia, was a Methodist before meeting the Catholic Church through campus ministry at the University of Richmond. Douglas Freer, who will be one of five men ordained for the Diocese of Trenton, New Jersey, was an Episcopal priest for 12 years.
About a third of the class are foreign born, with many from Asia. Arturo Mallari, who is one of seven men to be ordained for the Diocese of Rockford, Illinois, was born in the Philippines. Janusz Romanek, 32, from Poland, will be ordained for the Diocese of Marquette, Michigan. Several seminarians are from Vietnam and two, Khoa Phi and Thang Pham, will be ordained for the Diocese of Biloxi, Mississippi.
Ages vary. The diocese of Knoxville, Tennessee, will ordain three older men: W. Patrick Resen, 60; Randy L. Stice, 53; and William J. McNeeley, 51, a former Episcopal priest, who is married and has two grown children. He will be ordained under the Pastoral Provision by which Episcopal priests can become priests in the Catholic Church while married.
Some men were in religious orders. Steven Sanchez, 31, who will be ordained for the Archdiocese of Santa Fe, New Mexico, was a Carmelite friar. James Ekeocha, who will be ordained for the Diocese of Austin, Texas, originally came to the United States as a seminarian for the Josephite order. John Linden, who is being ordained for the Diocese of Lansing, Michigan, was a Franciscan brother.
Vocations run in some families. Joshua Waltz who will be ordained for the Diocese of Bismarck, North Dakota, will become a priest a year before his older bother Justin, who is to be ordained next year. Two brothers, Paul Nguyen, who studied at Mt. St Mary's Seminary in Emmitsburg, Maryland, and his older brother John, who studied at Theological College in Washington, will be among five men to be ordained for the Archdiocese of Washington. Both men were born in Vietnam and are part of Our Lady of Vietnam Parish, in Silver Spring, Maryland.
Numbers vary. Nine men will be ordained for the Diocese of Brooklyn, New York. Cardinal Edward Egan of New York will ordain 14 men, seven for the Archdiocese of New York and seven for the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal, a religious order founded by Father Bernard Groeschel. Six men are being ordained for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, eight for Boston.
Four men, ranging in age from 26 to 33, will be ordained for the Spokane Diocese. This class caps a three-year boost to the diocesan priesthood there. From 2004 to 2007 the number of active priests in the diocese has increased by 20 percent. The boost comes as the diocese deals with bankruptcy brought on by the clergy sexual abuse of minors scandal.
The Diocese of Stockton, California, will ordain three men, the largest group in the diocese in five years.
Four men will be ordained in the Diocese of Brownsville, Texas, by Bishop Raymond Peņa, who is celebrating his own 50th anniversary of ordination this year. In the Diocese of Fairbanks, Alaska, Robert Faith will be the first native of the diocese to be ordained for it.
The men being ordained have a broad range of educational backgrounds. Many are educators, including two men being ordained for the Diocese of Burlington, Vermont. One, Dallas St. Peter, taught in Winooski, Vermont; the other, John Schnobrich, taught in Ludlow, Vermont. Barry P. O'Leary, 58,who will be ordained for the Pittsburgh Diocese, was principal in several diocesan schools. His classmate from Pittsburgh, William Dorner, was employed as a substitute teacher in several school districts. Jeff Meeuwsen, who will be ordained for the Archdiocese of Portland, Oregon, taught in a Catholic elementary school. David Ruchinski, who will be ordained for the Diocese of St. Augustine, Florida, spent 10 years as a teacher between his college seminary and the theologate.
Ron Kreilein, who will be ordained for the Diocese of Evansville, Indiana, was a professional pilot for 28 years. Richard Warsnak, who will be ordained for the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas, also has a pilot's license. He once owned a hot-air balloon company.
Michael Earthman, 33, who will be ordained for the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, Texas, worked in finance. His classmate there, Vincent Tran, 38, worked for the City of Houston helping people find jobs. Emilio Magaņa, who will be ordained for the Diocese of San Diego, worked in law enforcement. Thomas Lawless, who is one of three men to be ordained for the Diocese of Albany, New York, was a hospital accountant. Roy Campbell, who will be ordained for the Washington Archdiocese, worked 33 years at Bank of America and retired as vice president.
Cari Bani, who will be ordained for the Diocese of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, was a practicing physician (radiology). Michael Scherschel, who will be ordained for the Archdiocese of Chicago, was a vice president at an ad agency. Marco Antonio Durazo, who will be ordained for the Archdiocese of Los Angles, is an architect. Joseph Shimek, who will be ordained for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, is an attorney who worked as a judicial law clerk on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.
At least one ordinand is a talented musician. Thomas Vassalotti, who will be ordained for the Brooklyn Diocese, graduated from the Julliard School of Music and played double bass for the Long Island Philharmonic for 13 years.
Carmen Anthony Buomo, Ph.D, who will be ordained for the Baton Rouge diocese, is a widower who had been married 33 years and was a high school principal and a family and marriage therapist. Francis Mulvaney, who will be ordained for the Redemptorists religious community, was a practicing psychologist.