Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Fr. Steve Shafran Named Provincial

Fr. Steve Shafran Named Provincial

Fr. Angel Fernandez Artime, Rector Major of the Salesian Society, has appointed Fr. Steve Shafran as the next provincial of the Eastern U.S.-Canada Province. Fr. Steve will begin his six-year term of service on July 1, 2015.

The announcement was published on January 21 by Fr. Tom Dunne in a letter to the members of the province and then in the January 22 E-Service.

Fr. Steve is currently serving as president of Don Bosco Cristo Rey HS and Corporate Work Study Program in Takoma Park, Md. He organized the founding of the school starting in 2006 in collaboration with the Archdiocese of Washington, which co-sponsors the school with the SDBs. The school, which is part of the nationwide Cristo Rey Network, opened in the fall of 2007 and graduated its first class in 2011.

Recruiting DBCR's first freshman class in December 2006
Fr. Steve, 58, was born in Passaic, N.J., and raised in Clifton. His family is of Ukrainian origin and are members of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church. After graduating from Don Bosco Prep in Ramsey in 1974, Steve entered the SDB formation program at Don Bosco College Seminary in Newton, N.J., that fall and was admitted to the novitiate on August 31, 1975. He made his first profession of religious vows on September 1, 1976.

Bro. Steve earned his B.A. in philosophy from Don Bosco College in 1979 and then did two years of practical training as a teacher at St. Dominic Savio High School in East Boston.

Bro. Steve studied theology at the Salesian Pontifical University and the Ukrainian Pontifical College of St. Josaphat in Rome from 1981 to 1984, earning a bachelor’s in theology from the UPS. Transferring to the Josephinum in Worthington, Ohio, where most SDBs of the New Rochelle Province studied from 1967 till the late 1990s, he earned an M.A. in theology. He was ordained on May 5, 1985, at Immaculate Conception Ukrainian Cathedral in Philadelphia.

With DBCR students, welcoming the Rector Major,
Fr. Pascual Chavez, to the school, Sept. 26, 2007
Fr. Steve also did graduate studies at the University of San Francisco, earning a doctorate in education in 1994. His dissertation is entitled The Educational Method of Saint John Bosco as School Culture in the Salesian High Schools in the United States.

He has given addresses at the National Catholic Educational Association’s conventions on youth spirituality.

He has at least a reading knowledge of Italian, Spanish, Ukrainian, Slovak, and Russian. He also has a magnificent singing voice and has cut two CDs as fundraisers, Songs That Inspire My Life and A Christmas Collection.

Fr. Steve has had priestly assignments at Salesian HS in New Rochelle as a teacher and campus minister (1985-1986); the province’s vocation office in Haverstraw (1986-1988) and Harvey (1988-1990); Archbishop Shaw HS in Marrero as principal (1990-1993); Corpus Christi Parish in San Francisco while studying (1993-1994); Salesian Center in Columbus as director (1994-1998); Don Bosco Prep in Ramsey as director/president (1998-2004) and development director (2004-2006); and DBCR in Takoma Park as president since 2006. He was also a member of the provincial council from 1997 to 2006 with responsibility for formation programs.

Concelebrating with then-Abp. Donald Wuerl
at DBCR's Mass of the Holy Spirit, Sept. 7, 2010
In his announcement to the province, Fr. Tom Dunne described Fr. Steve as “a man rich in faith who like our father Don Bosco gives witness daily to a life centered on God and the young. He lives as a brother among his brothers, with concern for the confreres. . . . Fr. Steve has an amazing ability to work with the Church in making Don Bosco’s mission effective with the young, especially those who are poor. He has a proven ability to inspire many business leaders, local leaders, and lay people to collaborate for the good of the poorest young people. . . . He is esteemed and loved by many lay colleagues and members of the Salesian Family.”

About his upcoming responsibilities Fr. Steve offers this: “‘God writes straight with crooked lines in our lives.’ I am humbled by this call to a deeper service as a Salesian of Don Bosco. I have always been surprised at what the Lord can do if I keep close to Him and Mary. I’ve seen that up close in founding Don Bosco Cristo Rey High School and Corporate Work Study Program. I am the son of Ukrainian immigrants who knew suffering and sacrifice, teaching me to work hard and never forget God. I am my mother Olga’s son; she taught me to smile and sing, and what family really means. I have grown with the Salesians of Don Bosco since I was 13, and they have nurtured me as fathers and brothers, as mentors and friends with deep love to see the face of Jesus in the young—and then all else follows. I am grateful to our rector major for the trust and confidence he has in me in response to this call from God as he reminded me, ‘Courage; you are not alone.’ And I am grateful to our provincial Fr. Tom Dunne for his great leadership and inspiration. During this bicentennial year of the birth of Don Bosco and Year of Consecrated Life, I recommit myself to this new call to service and ask for the grace truly to be ‘Like Don Bosco, for the young, with the young’ [citing the Salesian Family’s 2015 strenna].”

At DBCR's 1st graduation ceremony, June 2, 2011,
in the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in D.C.,
Fr. Steve flips the tassel of one of the grads

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