By Tanya Connor | The Catholic Free Press

Bishop ordains four; consecrates diocese to Immaculate Heart of Mary

  • June 15, 2017
    By Tanya Connor | The Catholic Free Press
    WORCESTER – Local Catholics rejoiced for different reasons as Bishop McManus ordained four men and consecrated the Diocese of Worcester to the Immaculate Heart of Mary Saturday at St. Paul Cathedral.
    Many pews were filled for the ordination of Henry Ramírez Pínzon as a priest, Javier Julio De Arco as a transitional deacon, and Paul F.X. Covino and Stephen T. Kohut as permanent deacons.
    At the end of Mass, Bishop McManus stood before the statue of the Blessed Mother and prayed a prayer consecrating the diocese to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, in honor of the 100th anniversary of Mary’s apparitions at Fatima, Portugal. He then knelt and had the congregation pray the Hail Mary.
    “I had to be there in spirit; I couldn’t leave the store,” said Patricia Quintiliani, owner of A Shower of Roses religious shop in West Boylston, which has an Our Lady of Fatima shrine for the anniversary year. She is president of the local chapter of the World Apostolate of Fatima (Blue Army) and a member of Our Lady of Mercy Maronite Catholic Parish.
    She said she’s very happy the bishop did the consecration. She had asked the bishop to consider consecrating the diocese this year on Oct. 13, the 100th anniversary of the “miracle of the sun” at Fatima. But it was good he did it at the ordination, with the priests present, she said.
    “It might revive the rosary again,” she said; if priests pray it, maybe their parishioners will.
    She said she asked the bishop to consecrate the diocese because the Blessed Mother said we must live out the message of Fatima, and the consecration she called for. Mrs. Quintiliani figures that includes individuals, families, parishes and dioceses.
    “When you consecrate the diocese to her, you’re giving it over to her protection,” Mrs. Quintiliani said. “That brings down so many graces.”“It was an answer to prayer for me,” Molly Finn, of St. John Paul II Parish in Southbridge, said of the consecration.
    She spoke of Mary’s request for first Saturday devotions to make reparation for insults, sacrileges and indifferences committed against her Immaculate Heart.
    Mrs. Finn said she’s wanted to fulfill the request, but it was hard to find Saturday Masses. Now she hopes more parishes will have them.
    “But over and above all of that, that he would dedicate the diocese to the Immaculate Heart is a huge grace,” she said. “I just wanted to thank him. It’s honoring Mary in a profound way. It’s an example for all her pastors and priests.”
    Mrs. Finn was instrumental in getting her parish to host an International Pilgrim Virgin statue last year. The statue is on a tour of the 50 states, through December, for the 100th anniversary of the Fatima apparitions, to encourage devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.The fact that the bishop publicly consecrated the diocese to the Immaculate Heart on a first Saturday was an encouragement to people practicing first Saturday devotions, said Samuel Morrison.
    Last year he and his wife, Helina, formally inaugurated their Sacred Heart of Jesus and Immaculate Heart of Mary Ministry, which includes first Saturday devotions at their parish, St. Joan of Arc. The devotions include Mass and confessions, if a priest is available, and receiving Communion, praying the rosary and meditating on its mysteries.
    “Probably more people will pray the rosary now,” said Ruth Sarafinas, of St. George Parish, rejoicing in the bishop’s consecration. She said the Daughters of Isabella group she belongs to received CDs of the rosary, which she plays in the car.
    “That way you can say your rosary every day,” she said.
    The ordination was a good time to make the consecration and include the Blessed Mother, who must be honored too, said Haydee Estremera, of St. Joan of Arc Parish. She shared her thoughts and translated Rosa Flores’s comments.
    Victor Sierra, a seminarian for the diocese, also saw good reason for making the consecration at this time.

    Bishop McManus prays before a state of Mary as he consecrates the Diocese of Worcester to the Sacred Heart of Mary. Bishop McManus prays before a state of Mary as he consecrates the Diocese of Worcester to the Sacred Heart of Mary.

    “During this weekend we are celebrating the Pentecost feast,” he said. “Mary was there on the first Pentecost. Consecrating during this weekend is a way to believe Mary is there with us always.”
    He said it’s also good for the newly ordained “to have Mary in our sight, especially in the priesthood – she’s always there taking care of her sons.” Some priests consecrate their ministry to Mary at their first Mass, he said.
    “We do it in Colombia,” he said, and he’s seen it done here.
    Mary Lonergan, of St. Anthony of Padua Parish in Dudley, had special reason to rejoice at the ordination.
    “For me it was very touching and it brought back fond memories of my brother’s ordination,” she said of Father Richard Lonergan, ordained at St. Paul’s in 1962. Her cousin Father Gerald Dion was ordained at St. Louis Parish in Webster, she said.
    She’s a member of the Serra Club of Southern Worcester County, which promotes vocations, she said.
    “We adopt a seminarian and Henry was mine,” she said of Father Ramírez, who’d just been ordained.
    Father Edward C. Niccolls, St. George’s pastor, said Father Ramírez served with him there, and Deacon Covino was his altar boy at his ordination and first Mass years ago. So their ordination Saturday was a “then and now” experience for him.
    Judy Pickett, a St. George’s parishioner who called Father Ramírez “very spiritual,” was also reminiscing.
    “It was my first ordination,” she said Saturday. “It was way more than what I expected. I was happy to be a participant.… I got the St. Joan of Arc (Girl Scout) Award when I was 15 in this cathedral.” That’s the last time she was here, she said.
    The ordination was different from how ordinations are celebrated in Brazil, said Rubia Matias, of Holy Family Parish’s Brazilian community, who’s friends with Father Ramírez. She said it was beautiful seeing how God works “different but the same.”
    Michael Cahill, a member of Our Lady of Providence Parish who is preparing for the permanent diaconate, said he had some classes with Deacons Covino and Kohut.
    “I’m just so happy for them,” he said. “They’ll make awesome deacons.”
    Both new deacons began their assignments earlier this week. Deacon Covino has been assigned to ministry at Assumption College, where he is employed as director of campus ministry and director of liturgy. Bishop McManus assigned Deacon Kohut to ministry at Our Lady of Czestochowa Parish, Worcester.
    According to statistic provided by the Diocese of Worcester, there are 117 priests in active ministry within the diocese and 50 retired priests. In addition to Deacon Julio, there are 17 men in active formation in colleges and seminaries. According to the 2016 Official Catholic Directory, there are 26,199 diocesan priests serving in the United States.
    There are now 89 active permanent deacons serving in our parishes and other ministries and 28 retired deacons, according to the diocese. Fourteen men are  enrolled in the diaconate program of study and formation. According to the 2016 Official Catholic Directory, there are 18,792 deacons in the United States.
     Photos by Tanya Connor

    Newly ordained Deacons Paul Covino, background, and  Stephen Kohut is embraced by priests of the diocese.
    Newly ordained Deacons Paul Covino, background, and Stephen Kohut, foreground, are embraced by priests of the diocese.
    Bishop McManus poses with the newly ordained outside St. Paul Cathedral.
    Bishop McManus poses with the newly ordained outside St. Paul Cathedral.