Seven Archdiocesan Priests Celebrating Golden Jubilees

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Seven priests of the archdiocese are celebrating the 50th anniversary of their ordination this year. Cardinal Dolan celebrated a Mass of thanksgiving with the jubilarians at St. Joseph’s Seminary, Dunwoodie, June 11.

Five of the jubilarians were ordained by Cardinal Terence Cooke. Father D. Francis Dias and Father Gamini Fernando were ordained in their native Sri Lanka and later incardinated into the archdiocese.

Father D. Francis Dias retired in 2019 after serving since 2011 as pastor of Our Lady Help of Christians, Staten Island, where he was parochial vicar, 1991-1995. He was at St. Joan of Arc, Sloatsburg, as pastor, 2006-2011, and administrator, 2002-2006. He served as parochial vicar of Holy Rosary, Hawthorne, 2000-2002, and Resurrection, Rye, 1999-2000, and was on the faculty of Cathedral Prep Seminary, Rye, 1995-1999. A native of Sri Lanka, he was ordained for the Diocese of Trincomalee-Batticaloa and served as pastor of three parishes there. He was incardinated into the archdiocese in 1999.

Father Gamini Fernando retired last year after serving as a prison chaplain with the New York State Department of Corrections at Green Haven Correctional Facility in Stormville since 1993. He has been a priest in residence since 1993 at Holy Trinity parish in Poughkeepsie. He was a parochial vicar at St. Ann, Nyack, 1983-1993. He was a social worker and counselor for Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Rockland County, 1987-1993. A native of Sri Lanka, he was ordained for the Diocese of Trincomalee-Batticaloa in the Eastern Province. He was a pastor for four years and director of the diocesan social services center in Trincomalee for two years. He was incardinated into the archdiocese in 1999.

Father Richard Guarnieri retired last year after having served as pastor of St. Gregory the Great in Harrison since 2013. He was pastor of St. Clare of Assisi, the Bronx, 1989-2013. On Staten Island, he was administrator of St. Stanislaus Kostka, 1988-1989, pastor of Assumption, 1986-1988 and served on the faculty of Msgr. Farrell High School, 1984-1986. He was a parochial vicar of Our Lady of the Assumption, the Bronx, 1976-1984; Immaculate Conception, Port Jervis, 1975-1976; and Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Poughkeepsie, 1971-1975.

Msgr. Kevin Irwin has served on the faculty of The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., for more than 35 years, currently as ordinary research professor in the School of Theology and Religious Studies. He held the Walter J. Schmitz Chair of Liturgical Studies, 2001-2015, and served as dean of the School of Theology and Religious Studies, 2005-2011. He joined the theology faculty at the university in 1985, received tenure three years later and was appointed full professor in 1993. He taught in Rome in the CUAbroad program and at the North American College, where he was director of liturgy; St. Anselm’s College in Manchester, N.H.; and Fordham University. He was a parochial vicar of St. Joseph, Bronxville, 1985; Immaculate Heart of Mary, Scarsdale, 1973-1974; and St. Joseph, Millbrook, 1971-1973. He has served as an adviser to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Divine Worship since 2004, a role he also held in the 1990s, and was a member of the archdiocesan Liturgical Commission. He was named a monsignor in 1999.

Msgr. Dennis Keane has served as administrator of Holy Family in New Rochelle since 2020 and as pastor since 2015 after serving the previous year as administrator. He was pastor of Annunciation, Crestwood, 2003-2014, and Our Lady of Good Counsel, Manhattan, 1992-2003. He has served as executive director of the Trustees of St. Patrick’s Cathedral since 2012 and was administrative assistant to the chancellor, 1999-2003. He was parochial vicar of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Pelham Manor, 1979-1992, and St. Gabriel’s, New Rochelle, 1971-1979. He was named a monsignor in 1999.

Msgr. Robert Ritchie has served as rector of St. Patrick’s Cathedral since 2006. Before that, he had been pastor of Our Lady of Angels, the Bronx, since 1999. He was pastor of St. Catherine of Genoa, Manhattan, 1983-1999, and parochial vicar, 1971-1975. While serving at Our Lady of Angels, he was appointed regional vicar of the Northwest Bronx in 2002. He was director of Catholic Charities’ Department of Youth Services and executive director of the Catholic Youth Organization, 1978-1983. From 1975 to 1978, he was assistant director of youth activities for Catholic Charities. He was named a monsignor in 2006.

Msgr. Donald Sakano retired in 2019 after serving as pastor of the Basilica of St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral-Most Precious Blood, Manhattan, since 2015. He was pastor of St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral, 2007-2015, and administrator of Most Precious Blood, 2014-2015. He served as pastor of Holy Innocents, Manhattan, 1993-2007, and was temporary administrator there, 1993. He also served as administrator of Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, Manhattan, 2000-2007, and as director of the Department of Neighborhood Housing for Catholic Charities, 1979-1993. From 1971 to 1979, he was parochial vicar of Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, and chaplain of New York University Medical Center. He was named a monsignor in 1995.

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