Sunday, May 18, 2014

Fr. Tim Ploch Elected to General Council

Fr. Tim Ploch Elected to General Council
Second American Currently Serving on GC

The Salesians’ 27th General Chapter met from early March until April 12.  In addition to considering a major theme that the entire Congregation had mulled over for more than year, “Salesians as Witnesses to a Radical Way of Living the Gospel,” the chapter also had the responsibility of electing a new Rector Major and general council.

On March 25 Fr. Angel Fernandez Artime, SDB, was elected Rector Major, the 10th successor of St. John Bosco.  See

In the following days, GC27 elected the RM’s vicar, Fr. Francesco Cereda; councilors for the Congregation’s departments (or sectors) of government: youth ministry, missions, formation, communications, and finances; and councilors for the seven geographical regions into which the Salesian world is divided (2 in Europe, 2 in Asia, 2 in the Americas, and 1 for Africa).

For the 1st time in the history of the Congregation (founded in 1859), a native-born American was elected to the council, Fr. Timothy Ploch, who since February 2009 has served as provincial of the U.S. Western Province, based in San Francisco.  Fr. Tim is also a former provincial of the New Rochelle Province (1991-1997).  As of March 28 he has been councilor for the Interamerica Region, which encompasses the 2 U.S. provinces and the provinces of Mexico (2), Central America, the Antilles, Haiti, Colombia (2), Venezuela, Peru, Ecuador, and Bolivia.  He succeeded Ecuador’s Fr. Esteban Ortiz, who was term-limited after 12 years.

Fr. Tim Ploch in 2010
On the council Fr. Tim joins U.S.-born Fr. Guillermo Basañes, an Argentinean who enjoys dual citizenship.  He went to Africa as a missionary and was elected regional councilor for Africa in 2008 and at GC27 was elected councilor for the missions.

Two Italian-born American citizens served earlier on the general council (known as the "superior chapter" at that time):  Fr. Alvin Fedrigotti from 1947 to 1971, and Fr. Ernest Giovannini from 1958 to 1971.

Tim was born in 1946 in Paterson, N.J.  He says that he was born with Salesian spirit in his blood because the Salesian Sisters raised his mother, Dolores, who was an orphan.  Tim entered Don Bosco Juniorate in Haverstraw in 1960.  The Juniorate moved the following year to Goshen, N.Y., and became Salesian Junior Seminary, when Tim graduated in 1964.  He entered the novitiate in Newton, N.J., that fall and made his first profession on Aug. 16, 1965.

He did his practical training at the Salesian High School in Cedar Lake, Ind. (1969-1972), followed by theological studies at the Pontifical College Josephinum in Columbus, Ohio, from 1972 to 1976, where he earned a master’s degree in theology.  He was ordained in Westerville, Ohio, in 1976.

Fr. Tim’s Salesian priestly ministry has taken him to Salesian Junior Seminary in Goshen as principal (1976-1981), Don Bosco Prep in Ramsey, N.J., as principal (1981-1985), Salesian Center in Columbus as director of the students of theology and Salesian Boys & Girls Club (1985-1991).  After his term as U.S. East provincial, he had a sabbatical in Guadalajara, Mexico, to improve his Spanish.  On his return to the province in 1998, he served as coordinator of campus ministry at LaSalle HS in Miami (1998-1999) and then was named pastor of Holy Rosary Parish in Port Chester, N.Y., and director of the Salesian community in that village (also including Corpus Christi Parish).   From 2003 to 2006 he was a member of the New Rochelle provincial council with responsibility for the Salesian Family and communications.

Fr. Tim took part in GC22 (1984) as one of the province’s elected delegates and in GC24 (1996) and GC27 (2014) as provincial, and he served on the precapitular commission for GC27.

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