For New York Archdiocese’s One New Priest, a Lonely Distinction

Posted by Kendall Harmon

On June 3, the Rev. Patric F. D’Arcy’s first Sunday officiating at his new parish as a newly ordained Roman Catholic priest in the Bronx, he offered Mass in crystal-clear Spanish in a packed sanctuary. Later, at a lunch celebration, his new parishioners welcomed him with trays of rice, beans and roasted chicken, and a white cake adorned with golden icing.

It was a festive event — a thanksgiving for the blessing of a new priest — that would normally take place in early June in at least several of the 370 parishes in the Archdiocese of New York. But this year the New York Archdiocese has ordained only one new priest, Father D’Arcy. It is the first year that has happened since the archdiocese opened its seminary more than 110 years ago.

Being the archdiocese’s sole member of the Class of 2012 is a slightly uncomfortable distinction for Father D’Arcy, 33, a soft-spoken man who prefers to stay out of the spotlight. He is not a native New Yorker, nor even an American citizen. Father D’Arcy comes from a small suburb of Toronto, about 80 miles northwest of Niagara Falls, and transferred to the seminary here three years ago, he said, because he had a special interest in working with Latin American immigrants, and had heard that New York needed such priests.

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Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchReligion & CultureUrban/City Life and Issues* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic

Posted June 15, 2012 at 5:00 am

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1. Archer_of_the_Forest wrote:

I had a conversation recently with an Episcopalian not of my parish, and he was politely sneering at these events, saying that it was because of clerical celibacy, &c., that the Catholic church was having vocation problems. I simply said that once the baby boomers in TEC start retiring in droves, we won’t be in much better shape, at least in more rural areas like South Dakota. I’m starting my 6th year of ordained ministry as of St. Barnabas day of this month, and I am still the youngest priest in the diocese by at least 3 years. After the one priest that is 3 years older than I, the 3rd youngest clergy in the diocese is in his 50’s. I think there is one more in the pipeline, but that’s about it. Once the Boomers retire, we’re hurting in ‘flyover country’ because the Episcopal Church has become so urban-centric.

June 15, 9:14 am | [comment link]
2. Charles52 wrote:

Our Catholic diocese, a fraction of the size of New York, ordained (not “blessed”) two men last Saturday. We have more than 30 men in formation, compared to 13 in 2005, when our new bishop came here.

The vocations crisis has many causes and solutions. Apparently New York needs to work on finding some solutions.

June 15, 9:23 am | [comment link]
3. Terry Tee wrote:

A side issue:  is knowledge of the world outside the US really so bad that Americans need to be told that Toronto is NW of Niagara Falls?

June 15, 2:05 pm | [comment link]
4. Archer_of_the_Forest wrote:

No 3, Probably. American news is absolutely horrible at covering anything that doesn’t involve the Olympics or Iraq/Afghanistan. Although most Baseball fans would know where Toronto is because they have a Major League Team.

But, by the same token, I found Europeans were clueless about American geography. They thought you could travel from New York to San Francisco to Austin, TX, in a day’s road trip.

June 15, 3:03 pm | [comment link]
5. Ad Orientem wrote:

There was quite a stir in the Catholic blogosphere when Fr. D’Arcy (I keep having images from a Jane Austen novel) chose to celebrate his first Mass as a Solemn High Mass using the pre-Vatican II liturgical books. That gives me hope for the future.

Many years to Fr. D’Arcy!

June 15, 5:44 pm | [comment link]
6. driver8 wrote:

#1 I don’t care to say in which diocese I serve (apologies but I hope you understand). I have been ordained for almost 20 years and there is one priest in our diocese younger than me.

June 15, 6:24 pm | [comment link]
7. driver8 wrote:

Isn’t it the case that the Archdiocese extended priestly training by a year, so that those who would have been ordained in 2012 under the old system, will now be ordained in 2013. See:

June 15, 6:32 pm | [comment link]

© 2014 Kendall S. Harmon. All rights reserved.

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