Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Frs. Matt DeGance and Mike Leschinsky Ordained

Fathers Matt De Gance
and Mike Leschinsky Ordained
Fr. Matthew DeGance and Fr. Michael Leschinsky were ordained priests on July 2 in Our Lady of the Valley Church in Orange, N.J. Bishop Luc Van Looy, SDB, of Ghent, Belgium, presided over the Mass and carried out the ordination. He was joined by Bishop Dominic Marconi, auxiliary bishop emeritus of the Newark Archdiocese, 43 concelebrating priests, and 2 deacons.

In his homily Bishop Van Looy called Frs. Matt and Mike to be teachers through their loving witness to Jesus, to be poor and ready to go where they can serve Jesus, and to center their lives on the Eucharist.

Both newly ordained confreres did their novitiate year at Mary Help of Christians Parish on East 12th Street in 2000-2001 and made their first profession there on August 16, 2001.
At the beginning of the rite, the 2 men's parents bless them before sending them to answer the Church's call to ordination.

Fr. Matt DeGance, 34 years old, is the son of Joseph and Jacqueline DeGance. He’s a native of Fort Lauderdale and graduated from the University of North Florida in Jacksonville with a bachelor’s degree in physical therapy. He began working as a therapist after graduation.

The DeGance family’s friendship with several Salesians, particularly Frs. Peter Lappin and August Bosio, nurtured in Matt a love for Don Bosco and a vocational seed—the seed already having been planted in his family. In 1999 he enter the formation program at Orange.
With a sacramental gesture going back to the apostles, Bishop Luc imposes hands on the head of Deacon Matt DeGance in silence.

After some years of postnovitiate formation at Orange, Bro. Matt was assigned to Don Bosco Prep in Ramsey from 2005 to 2007. He taught biology and theology, directed an intramural sports program, was an assistant coach of varsity, JV, and freshman volleyball, and contributed to the school’s campus ministry program.

From the fall of 2007 until June 2011 Bro. Matt studied theology at Sts. Peter and Paul Salesian Theological School in Jerusalem, also called the Ratisbonne Monastery, which is affiliated with the Salesian Pontifical University in Rome. He took full advantage of his closeness to the biblical holy places and the opportunity to connect the Scriptures with his daily life experience. He enjoyed the international flavor of the school, which draws students and faculty from more than 20 countries. He was also a talented tour guide for Salesians visiting from other parts of the world. During his theological studies he engaged in such pastoral work as adult catechesis, days of recollection, liturgical assistance, and youth ministry.
All the concelebrating priests join Bishop Luc in the consecratory prayer which, following the imposition of hands, makes the 2 men presbyters ("priests").

Fr. Matt finds that being a consecrated Salesian is “a great gift” from God, one that he would encourage any young person to accept without fear. The Salesian vocation is rich in peace and in the happiness of doing God’s will, and Fr. Matt cannot think of any spirituality that is more attractive than Don Bosco’s.

He will offer a Mass of thanksgiving at his home parish of Saint John the Baptist in Fort Lauderdale on July 10.

Fr. Matt’s first assignment as a priest will be as a teacher at Archbishop Shaw High School in Marrero, La.
The hands of each of the newly ordained priests are anointed with sacred chrism--Fr. Leschinsky in this photo.

Fr. Mike Leschinsky, 35, the son of Thomas and Ann Leschinsky, was born in Youngstown, Ohio. While attending Bowling Green State University, earning a degree in secondary English education, he felt a call to the religious life. Wanting to work with young people, he looked into the Salesians and discovered what he calls “an authentic spiritual family.” He spent several summers working at Camp Don Bosco, getting to know Don Bosco and his educational methods and Salesian devotion to Mary Help of Christians. He entered the Salesian formation community in Orange in 1999.

After two further years of postnovitiate formation at Orange, Bro. Mike carried out two years of practical training at Salesian High School in New Rochelle (2003-2005). He also did some ministry at the Don Bosco Retreat Center in Haverstraw.
For the 1st time, Frs. Matt (left) and Mike concelebrate Mass. Bishop Marconi is between Bishop Luc and Fr. Mike.

Bro. Mike did one year of his theological studies at the Salesian Theological School in Tlaquepaque, Mexico, and the other three years at Seton Hall University’s Immaculate Conception Seminary in South Orange, N.J. He earned a master of divinity degree in 2011.

Fr. Mike says he wants to seek God while living and praying in community, serving the young in the spirit of Don Bosco, and striving to do good together with many other apostolic people. He will be doing just that as he begins his new apostolic work at Salesian High School in New Rochelle this fall.

Fr. Mike will celebrate a Mass of thanksgiving at his home parish of St. Matthias in Youngstown on July 10.
Most of the concelebrants posed after Mass with Bishop Luc, Fr. Matt, and Fr. Mike

Many more photos of the ordination Mass and the reception may be viewed at http://ordinationoffrsdeganceleschinsky.shutterfly.com/

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