Three new priests were ordained on Saturday, Oct. 24, in a ceremony at Epiphany Cathedral in Venice.
Bishop Frank J. Dewane ordained the Revs. Bernard Chojnacki, Paul D'Angelo and Cory Mayer at a Mass before more than 50 priests, deacons, friends an family. They were the first three men ordained in the Diocese of Venice since 2006, the diocese said in a press release.
Chojnacki, who is from Plock, Poland, completed his studies at Sts. Cyril and Methodius Seminary in Orchard Lake, Mich., and served at parishes in Venice, Port Charlotte, Palmetto and Naples. He was joined by his mother and several other family members and friends.
He credits his parents, grandparents and the pastor at his home parish when he was child with inspiring him to become a priest and is saddened that his father passed away before his ordination. He said he knows his father is watching over him. "I knew early on that God wanted my heart and I have given it to him," Chojnacki said.
D'Angelo, who is from Weston, Mass., is a graduate of St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary in Boynton Beach and served at a parish in Naples. He was joined by his sister and other family and friends.
He said that his parents and favorite aunt, who have passed away, helped guide him to the priesthood. He looks forward to saying his first Mass, forgiving sins and "helping God's people. That is what being a priest is all about."
Mayer, who is from Varysburg, N.Y., near Buffalo, is a graduate of Pontifical North America College in Rome, and served in Venice. He was joined by his mother and stepfather, a sister and more than 200 friends and family.
He said being ordained a priest means everything to him. "It is an honor and privilege and beautiful process to go through," Mayer said.
After the Mass, the men offered blessings to the faithful, one of their first acts as newly ordained priests.
The three men join more than 200 priests within the Diocese of Venice serving in parishes and missions in a 10-county area with about 250,000 Catholics. The men will be given some time off before being assigned to their first parish in about a month.
The diocese has 19 other men who are at various stages of their priestly formation, either in college or at seminary.
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