Monday, July 1, 2013

Frs. Miguel Suarez and Jim Zettel Ordained

Frs. Miguel Suarez
and Jim Zettel Ordained

Frs. Miguel Angel Suarez, SDB, and James Patrick Zettel, SDB, were ordained priests on June 29 by Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga, SDB.

The solemn rite took place at Holy Name of Jesus Church in New Rochelle in the presence of hundreds of members of the families of the two new priests, Salesians, Salesian Sisters, Cooperators, Don Bosco Volunteers, parishioners from Port Chester, Toronto, and Belle Glade, staff from Salesian HS, students from Salesian and Don Bosco Prep, camp staff from Toronto, and friends of the newly ordained.

A gallery of photos may be seen at

Fr. Miguel, 45, a native of Mexico City, is the son of the late Angel Suarez and Guadalupe Morales. He has three sisters and a brother.  His sister Elizabeth Suarez carried his stole and chasuble in the entrance procession and blessed him as the ordination ritual began after the reading of the gospel.

Fr. Miguel resided in Port Chester and was a member of Holy Rosary Parish there when he discerned a vocation to become a Salesian in 2001 so that he could work with young people and immigrants as he saw the Salesians doing in the parish.  His pastor at that time, Fr. Tim Ploch, and Fr. Tom Ruekert, presently the pastor of Corpus Christi Church in Port Chester, assisted in vesting Fr. Miguel.

Miguel made his novitiate at Mary Help of Christians in New York City and made his first profession there in 2004. He made his perpetual commitment to God in 2010.

Bro. Miguel earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy at Seton Hall University in 2007. During his practical training at Salesian High, he taught religion and coordinated the intramural sports program. As part of his religion teaching he took up John Paul II’s theology of the body, on which he continued to speak occasionally to parish and youth groups while studying theology at Immaculate Conception Seminary in South Orange, N.J. He earned a master’s degree in theology at Immaculate Conception in May of this year.

During his years studying theology, Bro. Miguel directed the RCIA program for Spanish-speakers at Our Lady of the Valley Church in Orange, N.J. He also served as a general assistant to the candidates first trying out Salesian life.

Fr. Miguel’s first priestly assignment is to St. Philip Benizi Parish in Belle Glade, Fla.
Fr. Miguel, vested for the 1st time as a priest. His sister Elizabeth carried the vestments in procession, blessed him at the beginning of the ordination ritual, and assisted in his vesting.
Fr. Jim, 32, was born in Hanover, a small town in southwestern Ontario. He is the son of James and Patricia Zettel, who belong to Holy Family Parish in Hanover, as did Fr. Jim before entering the formation program at Orange in 2003. He has a brother, Michael, and a sister, Jessica.

Jim had already earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from St. Jerome University in Waterloo, Ont., and as a seminarian earned a master’s in pastoral ministry at Seton Hall in 2007.

His parents carried his chasuble and stole in the entrance procession. Fr. Luc Lantagne, who was provincial in Canada when Jim entered formation, and Fr. Mike Pace, pastor of St. Benedict’s Parish in Etobicoke, Ont., assisted in his vesting.
Fr. Luc Lantagne and Fr. Jim's parents help him
put on priestly vestments for the 1st time.
Fr. Jim made his novitiate at Farnborough, England, and professed first vows in 2005 and perpetual vows in 2011. He did his practical training at Salesian High in New Rochelle from 2007 to 2009, teaching religion and assisting in extracurricular activities. He studied theology at Studium Theologicum Salesianum, located at the Ratisbonne Monastery in Jerusalem, earning a bachelor of sacred theology degree this year.

During his years of theological study, he found Jerusalem a very interesting place to live and to do pastoral ministry. He writes: “Jerusalem made for an interesting variety of pastoral work. Much of it involved working with the Filipino chaplaincy, which organizes the pastoral life for migrant workers who come to Israel. Within the chaplaincy (much of its work originates from our Salesian community), I was a catechist and deacon for the San Lorenzo Ruiz Filipino Community. I also was the main catechist for the children preparing for sacraments in 2010-2011. Along with the chaplaincy, I participated on a rotation with other community members to provide recreation with a hospice for the physically and mentally handicapped run by the Daughters of Charity (St. Vincent de Paul Sisters). On an informal basis I also gave tours of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher to English-speaking pilgrims. I say, ‘informally’ because I and the others in the community are not official guides, but during our studies we were encouraged to offer assistance to pilgrims who came and had questions about the holy places since all of us gained much knowledge in class and on weekly archeological excursions.”

Fr. Jim’s first priestly assignment is to St. Benedict’s Parish in Etobicoke, a suburb of Toronto.
Cardinal Rodriguez anoints Fr. Jim's hands with sacred chrism.
In his homily, Cardinal Rodriguez emphasized the transformation that Holy Orders works deep within the men being ordained, likening that change to what happened in the apostles Sts. Peter and Paul through their encounters with Christ. Ordination changes them into living instruments of Christ.

The cardinal said that Peter’s confession of faith established a new relationship between him and Jesus, and we who confess the same faith now, in this Year of Faith, share in that intimate relationship.

The cardinal challenged the new priests to be true pastors of the young like St. John Bosco, and like Don Bosco to be holy and to be priests always and everywhere, conforming themselves to the heart of Christ.

Cardinal Rodriguez is archbishop of Tegucigalpa, Honduras, and president of Caritas International. This was at the least the fourth ordination he has done for members of the New Rochelle Province, going back to ca. 1990 when he was bishop-secretary of CELAM.

No comments: