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Our Faithful Parish Priests

Our Faithful Parish Priests

For most Catholic parishioners, priests have been reliable figures surrounding them throughout their lives. They signify the stability of the Catholic faith that can be counted on in times of trouble.

Parish priests have an enormous responsibility in the Catholic Church. They are responsible for guiding parishioners from birth to death, bringing Catholics into the Church with the sacrament of Baptism and continuing the spiritual guidance by administering the sacraments and proclaiming the Gospel. We would like to feature two of our many alumni who fill this vital role and the path they took to the priesthood.

Fr. John Antonelle, St. Mary Church, Portland, CT

Fr. John Antonelle was born in Brooklyn, New York, and grew up in Rockaway, Queens. A second-generation Italian, he enjoyed a successful career in graphic design and advertising in New York, lived in an apartment in Manhattan that had a doorman, and traveled frequently in his free time. Life was great, but something was always missing. A friend’s sudden death brought the realization that everything could change in a snap, and he began to reassess his life.

After quite a number of years of being involved in his parish but avoiding a further commitment, he spoke to his pastor, who was aware of Holy Apostles College and Seminary’s history accepting men with late vocations and set up an interview for Fr. John. While making the drive up from New York for the meeting, he felt a surprising sense of peace and knew that his path to the priesthood was the right decision. Fr. John spent five years in seminary at Holy Apostles, graduated in May 2006, and was ordained in the same month. His mother, who quietly knew he was drawn to the church from an early age, was there at his ordination to support and celebrate the achievement of his true vocation.

His first assignment was at St. Bernard’s in Rockville, followed by several others, including nearly 12 years as a chaplain at UCONN. Being able to see and guide students as they grew from freshmen to seniors and beyond was a wonderful experience for him.

Fr. John was next assigned to St. Mary Church in Portland, Connecticut, where he is located currently. On June 16, he celebrated his 18th anniversary of ordination to the priesthood. Along the way he picked up an assistant, Patsy (short for Pasquale), his nine-year-old Boxer, who has a large fan base – from UCONN students and parishioners of St. Mary’s to nursing homes residents.

Reflecting now, Fr. John says, “Holy Apostles College & Seminary has not only been a gift to me but also to our diocese and church. I and other priests may have otherwise not become priests if it wasn’t for the vision of Fr. Eusebe Menard to accept and prepare older men for the priesthood. I will always be grateful for my years of formation there and to the faculty and staff.”

The road of life has proven interesting for Fr. John, and while the path taken was not the shortest route, this is not a race. You have to go with God’s plan.

Fr. Richard Breton, Guardian Angels Parish, Colchester, CT

Looking back at his path to the priesthood, Fr. Richard Breton understands how the Apostles may have felt. Not knowing the “route” can make for a confusing journey but they followed Jesus anyway. Likewise, Fr. Breton was sometimes unsure of the path but knew he wanted to be a priest and remembered his religion teacher in grammar school saying that we should take Jesus’ hand and he will lead us. Sometimes, when we are not aware of our path it is because we are trying to lead, not follow.

After graduating from high school, Fr. Breton spent a year at St. John’s Seminary in Massachusetts, and then decided to take time off. He worked for four years before returning to the seminary, this time to Holy Apostles College and Seminary. During those years, he spent a summer in Mexico learning Spanish, an experience which he enjoyed. He also took a pastoral year, where he enrolled in a clinical pastoral education program that got him involved in a trauma unit in Houston, dealing with people of all faiths. He ministered to trauma cases, as well as to people who were rescued after hurricane Katrina and lost everything but their lives. Here he learned to appreciate the role of hospital chaplains.

Fr. Breton received his Bachelor of Arts in 2007 and completed his seminary education in 2008, both from Holy Apostles. He was ordained by Bishop Michael R. Cote of the diocese of Norwich, Connecticut, on May 31, 2008. In 2017, he was awarded his Master of Arts in Theology, again from Holy Apostles. Currently, he is a Parochial Vicar at Guardian Angels Parish in Colchester, Connecticut.

In addition to his parish responsibilities, Fr. Breton is a spiritual director at Holy Apostles, as well as the Minister Templi to the U.S. Catholic Knights Templar. He also writes a weekly column in the Wanderer, called the “Beacon of Light”, and is currently writing a column titled “A Question of Faith” in the Norwich Diocesan paper.

As Fr. Breton stated, “I have come to realize when you answer the master and accept his call to ‘Follow me,’ you never know where he will take you.”

In Memoriam

In Memoriam

We commemorate our deceased members of the Holy Apostles family and request that you keep them in your prayers. Eternal rest grant unto them O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May their souls and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.

Roger Duncan

Professor Roger Duncan, PhD, passed from this life on May 18, 2024, after a brief illness. His death came just days prior to his 82nd birthday. Born in Yonkers, New York, he left there to attend Wheaton College, and then Yale, where he attained his PhD in Philosophy. Dr. Duncan was a professor of philosophy at the West Hartford branch of the University of Connecticut until his retirement. He was also a respected and beloved professor at Holy Apostles College and Seminary, where he was bestowed the Degree of Doctorate of Humane Letters, Honoris Causa in 2013.

During his early teaching life, he was an active member of the Core of Oblates at the Abbey of Regina Laudis. As time went on, he shifted focus to developing the lay Benedictine community of Promisek, in Bridgewater, CT, which focuses on helping people find meaning in their life.

As then-rector, Rev. Douglas Mosey, C.S.B., said at the occasion of awarding professor Duncan with his honorary doctorate, “[we] invite you to consider with us the gift of Dr. Roger Duncan, professor of philosophy and purveyor of wisdom to generations who have studied on this ground.”

Fr. Mosey went on to explain the reasons for bestowing the degree: “For his decades of instructing the people in goodness, for his labor in this institution’s ongoing mission of forming priests, religious, and laity, one holy Catholic apostle at a time, to the service of Christ and His Church; for his unique grace and mission to bring the eternal wisdom of the saints and scholars to vibrant and radiant life; for his love of truth and his joy and spontaneity and flexibility in encounter with all honest thought; for every unforgettable anecdote and every brilliant insight.” Dr. Duncan leaves behind a daughter, Laura.

Mary and Joseph Hogan

Mary DeRosier Hogan, 87, passed away on December 18, 2023, and her husband, Joseph “Joe” Hogan, 88, passed shortly after, on February 29, 2024. Mary received a Master of Arts degree in Theology from Holy Apostles College and Seminary in 2004, with a concentration in Dogmatic Theology.

The couple met while both were studying at Boston College for their Master of Education degrees. They were married for 63 years, during which they raised three children and became grandparents to eight grandchildren.

Besides her family and faith, Mary loved learning, reading, writing, teaching, gardening, traveling and bringing out the best in others. Joe spent his entire career as an educator – first as a teacher and then as an assistant principal and principal in the New Britain public schools. He finished his career as District Coordinator of Adult Education and Summer School in New Britain.

Both Joseph and Mary were active members of the Church of St. Mary, Star of the Sea, in Unionville, CT, and volunteers and supporters of Holy Apostles for many years. Their son, Bill Hogan, received a Master of Arts in Theology in 1996 from Holy Apostles College and Seminary and remains a longtime friend.

Mary Regan

Mary E. Regan, 87, passed away peacefully at her home on February 25, 2024. After receiving a Master of Arts in Theology with a concentration in Dogmatic Theology, she continued studying, received a post-master’s certificate in Theology in 1999, and gave the salutatorian address at commencement.

Mary was a lector in two parishes, a Catholic school teacher in New Jersey and Connecticut, and a tutor of English as a Foreign Language both privately and at Holy Apostles. She was an accomplished pianist, loved giving piano and voice lessons, and was a member of the Ellington Singers for many years.

In her kindness, Mary made a bequest to Holy Apostles to continue her legacy and continue to support the important work of forming Catholic leaders. She also requested Masses for the repose of her soul.

Bishop Emeritus Daniel Patrick Reilly

Bishop Daniel Patrick Reilly, 96, the fourth bishop of Worcester, passed away peacefully on June 18, 2024. Bishop Reilly was born in Providence, Rhode Island on May 12, 1928, the son of Francis E. and Mary A. (Burns) Reilly.  He was ordained a priest on May 30, 1953, in the Cathedral of Sts. Peter and Paul in Providence and appointed associate pastor there in June 1953.

Pope Paul VI named him Bishop of Norwich, Connecticut, on June 17, 1975. He was ordained and installed as bishop on Aug. 6, 1975, in the Cathedral of St. Patrick in Norwich. In 1985 he was installed as chancellor of Holy Apostles. He was named Bishop of Worcester in 1994 by Pope John Paul II. On his 75th birthday, he submitted his resignation, which Pope John Paul II accepted for reason of retirement on March 9, 2004. He became Bishop Emeritus of the Diocese of Worcester.

Bishop Reilly received an honorary doctoral degree from several colleges, including Holy Apostles.

He was predeceased by his parents and eight siblings.

Fr. Ron Stone

Fr. Ron Stone, pastor of Holy Cross Parish in Pigeon Forge, TN, died on December 8, 2023, after a brief illness of cancer. The funeral Mass was held on December 12 in the Cathedral of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus in Knoxville. Archbishop Shelton J. Fabre was the main celebrant, with 25 priests concelebrating. Fr. Stone was a graduate of Holy Apostles College and Seminary class of 2001. A eulogy was given by Fr. Mark Scholz, MDiv ’02, Fr. Stone’s friend of 27 years, going back to their days at Holy Apostles.

Fr. Stone was born in Germany and suffered a tumultuous childhood. He moved to the U.S. and, before becoming a priest, struggled as a young adult. His conversion story had an impact on, and was an inspiration for, many people. At his funeral Mass, Fr. David Mary Engo, OFM, delivering the homily referred to Fr. Stone’s homilies saying, “Father Ron never did anything with half measures. If he was going to preach the truth, he was going to preach the truth.”

During the eulogy, Fr. Scholz remembered their days as friends attending Holy Apostles and described the seminary to those in attendance as a faith-based center for mostly middle-aged men who already had jobs and careers, and later decided they wanted to become priests. Holy Apostles, founded in 1956, was the first seminary in the country to allow late vocations.

Fr. Scholz went on to describe the amazing uniqueness of Holy Apostles, “We had people from all walks of life. One man was a colonel who was a pilot in the Vietnam War who later became an astrophysicist before he became a priest. Another was an airborne Ranger; another was a commercial airline pilot. And we had an FBI psychologist who was a criminal profiler. It was amazing to see that all these men changed their lives and decided to become priests for Jesus Christ.”

You can read more about Fr. Ron’s funeral Mass in the East Tennessee Catholic, including the eulogy by Fr. Scholz.

Fr. Wade Menezes Honored at Commencement by Alma Mater Holy Apostles College and Seminary

Fr. Wade Menezes Honored at Commencement by Alma Mater Holy Apostles College and Seminary

Fr. Wade Menezes, CPM Honored at Commencement by Alma Mater Holy Apostles College and SeminaryHoly Apostles College and Seminary held its 66th Commencement Ceremony on May 4, 2024. One hundred fifty graduates representing thirty-seven states and seven countries received degrees, attending either in-person or via live stream. During the ceremony, Rev. Wade Menezes, CPM received an Honorary Doctorate of Moral Theology for his work in evangelization.

The mission of Holy Apostles is to form and educate its students to be missionary disciples, with the vision of cultivating Catholic leaders for the purpose of evangelization.  Fr. Wade Menezes is a shining example of someone who has successfully exhibited these traits through his life’s work.  

Fr. Wade is a summa cum laude graduate of the Holy Apostles Class of 2000, with dual Master of Arts in Theology and Master of Divinity degrees.  Coupled with prior degrees in journalism and communications, he has been successful in his utilization of TV, radio, and print to evangelize as a priest.  Fr. Wade is a member of the Fathers of Mercy.  

In his commencement address, Fr. Wade spoke to the graduates, faculty, and guests about the need to always defend truth and faith.  “I speak to you now today as a preacher, not as a teacher, yet in two very certain respects to these different vocations there are very common ideals, and that is to defend truth and faith as our Catholic calling.”  

In the course of speaking, Fr. Wade referenced southern author Flannery O’Connor, stating that the characters in her books have the opportunity to accept or reject faith and truth using free will.  Those who make the choice to not accept faith and truth often incur tragedy.   

Quoting St. Thomas Aquinas, Fr. Wade said, “’Errors perish and cease to be when people get to know the truth.’ Amen to that, especially in 2024.”  

Many may know him from his appearances on EWTN as a guest or host on various EWTN shows, such as Mother Angelica Live, Life on the Rock, and Crux of the Matter, to name a few.  In addition, he has contributed to written publications such as National Catholic Register, Faith and Family, and The Wanderer, among others.  Fr. Wade is also the host of EWTN Global Catholic Radio’s Open Line Tuesday, and has been featured on other stations, such as Ave Maria Radio, Guadalupe Radio Network, Catholic Broadcasting Northwest and more.  

Fr Wade has been a contributing writer to publications such as National Catholic Register, Our Sunday Visitor, Catholic Twin Circle, Catholic Faith and Family, The Wanderer, and Legatus, to name a few.  He is also the author of three books.

He has served as the Chaplain-in-Residence at the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament located at Our Lady of the Angels Monastery in Hanceville, Alabama.  Here he acted as celebrant, homilist, and confessor; he also gave spiritual conferences on specialized points of Catholic Christian doctrine.  The shrine and monastery are affiliated with EWTN.

Holy Apostles Honors Alumnus Fr. Wade Menezes for His Role in Evangelization

Holy Apostles Honors Alumnus Fr. Wade Menezes for His Role in Evangelization

Fr. Wade MenezesHoly Apostles is excited to honor alumnus Fr. Wade Menezes, C.P.M., with an honorary doctorate degree at the 66th Commencement Ceremony to be held on May 4, 2024. Fr. Menezes, a summa cum laude graduate of the Class of 2000, with dual Master of Arts in Theology and Master of Divinity degrees, will also deliver the commencement address. The day will include graduates from the Spring 2024 class, as well as the Summer 2023 and Fall 2023 classes. These classes had 150 graduates from 37 states and seven countries. Participants will be both in person and online.

Fr. Wade is a member of the Fathers of Mercy, a missionary preaching congregation, and has preached throughout the United States, Canada, and Australia. He has served as Assistant General, Director of Vocations, and Director of Seminarians for the Fathers of Mercy. Fr. Wade has also served as the Chaplain-in-Residence at the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament of Our Lady of the Angels Monastery in Hanceville, Alabama, affiliated with EWTN.

Prior to coming to Holy Apostles, Fr. Wade received degrees in journalism and communications. These have served him well in his successful utilization of TV, radio, and print to evangelize as a priest. You may know him from many appearances on EWTN as both guest and host, or his contributions to written publications such as National Catholic Register, Faith and Family, and The Wanderer, to name a few. Fr. Wade is also the host of EWTN Global Catholic Radio’s Open Line Tuesday and has been featured on other stations, such as Ave Maria Radio, Guadalupe Radio Network, Catholic Broadcasting Northwest, and more.

He is the author of three books, The Four Last Things: A Catechetical Guide to Death, Judgment, Heaven, and Hell, Overcoming the Evil Within: The Reality of Sin and the Transforming Power of God’s Grace and Mercy, and Catholic Essentials: A Guide to Understanding Key Church Teachings.

Meet Our Chancellor and President-Rector

Meet Our Chancellor and President-Rector

Meet Our Chancellor and President-Rector

Pictured: Very Reverend Martin Rooney, M.S.A., Chancellor (left), and Very Reverend Peter Kucer, M.S.A., President-Rector (right)

Fr. Martin Rooney, M.S.A., Chancellor

Growing up in Palisades Park, New Jersey, the Very Reverend Martin Rooney, M.S.A., Chancellor at Holy Apostles College and Seminary, first came to Holy Apostles as an unsponsored seminarian. During his initial year, after looking into other communities, Fr. Martin decided that the Missionaries of the Holy Apostles was the order best suited for him. He earned his MDiv (Master of Divinity) in 1995.

Following training at Yale New Haven Hospital to become a hospital chaplain, Fr. Martin spent almost twenty years at St. Joseph’s Healthcare System in New Jersey before moving to Bon Secours Charity Health System in New York. Currently working there one or two days a week since being elected Provincial Animator, he handles “mission”, ensuring the Catholic values are being lived out throughout the healthcare system. Also important for him is ensuring that the legacy of the sisters who sponsor Bon Secours Charity Health System, the Sisters of Charity of St. Elizabeth and the Sisters of Bon Secours, is lived out.

On weekends, he acts as an assistant at St. Gabriel’s Parish in Saddle River.

You have been the Chancellor of Holy Apostles since 2021. Can you tell us about your responsibilities in this role?

As Chancellor of the college and seminary, it’s my responsibility to ensure the fidelity of its theological, moral, philosophical, canonical, and other religious instruction to the teachings of the Magisterium of the Roman Catholic Church. The faculty take the Oath of Fidelity and Profession of Faith at the start of the academic year as one example of this commitment.

You are also the Provincial Animator of the Missionaries of the Holy Apostles. The term Provincial Animator is one that is not usually used. Can you explain what it means?

Usually, the position is called Superior of the Provincial or the Provincial Superior. Our founder, Fr. Menard, thought it was important to add the word “Animator” after Provincial because that’s the ministry. I am supposed to animate the community within the charism and mission of our founder, Fr. Menard. So, it means being there when there are issues but to be animator and mediator.

As someone who speaks to many beyond Holy Apostles, how do you see the college’s public persona? What is the impression of those you speak with about HACS?

It’s interesting because when I’m out and about, and I mention Holy Apostles College and Seminary, it amazes me how many people have taken courses online. In New Jersey and other areas, people will say to me, “Oh, I took a course there”, or “I did my degree there.” From what I hear, they really like the courses and professors, and our faithfulness to Catholic teaching. It’s a testament to the college and seminary.

There are a number of options – Theology, Philosophy, certificate programs – are all attractive. As we add more majors we’re excited about the future.

I have said this publicly before – I am grateful to the former President-Rector Fr. Mosey, and his staff at the time, for making the decision in 2012 to go online because during Covid many small colleges went out of business trying to adapt but we just moved along. We would not be where we are today if it was not for that strong foundation. Similarly, I am excited about Fr. Peter Kucer’s current vision for both the college and seminary and the great work being done to establish new programs and impactful initiatives moving us forward.

You have a variety of responsibilities in your roles as Provincial Animator, Chancellor, and in hospital ministry. How do you handle all of it?

Each responsibility is different but that’s a good thing. When we talk about the priesthood, we tend to pigeonhole it to one thing, such as leading a parish. There are so many different options: education, hospitals, and different roles even within the parish. You can become a priest and be involved in other ministries beyond the parish.

Fr. Peter Kucer, M.S.A., President-Rector

As President-Rector of Holy Apostles College & Seminary, the Very Reverend Peter Kucer, M.S.A., is tasked with moving the college and seminary forward while ensuring continued academic rigor and a curriculum grounded in the Catholic intellectual tradition.

A graduate of Holy Apostles, with an MDiv in 2001 and MA in Theology in 2002, he is keenly aware of the significance of a traditionally Catholic education and formation, and how it strengthened his vocation to the priesthood. His desire for those attending Holy Apostles, whether lay student, seminarian, or consecrated religious, is that they obtain a strong academic Catholic education and formation that supports their career path, their vocation, and their personal and spiritual growth.

As the eighth chief executive officer at Holy Apostles, Fr. Peter assumed the role in 2019 that was previously held by Fr. Douglas Mosey, C.S.B, from 1996 until his retirement. Fr. Peter’s work with Holy Apostles began several years earlier, though. Upon receiving his doctorate in 2012 from Catholic University, he was the temporary administrator at St. Joseph’s Parish in Chester, Connecticut, while working part-time as an adjunct teacher at Holy Apostles. In 2013, he accepted a full-time position at the college as an instructor and priest formator. Fr. Peter then became interim academic dean in 2014, as well as an assistant professor, followed by a promotion to permanent academic dean.

To learn a bit more about Fr. Peter, from his personal interests to thoughts about the college, a few questions were asked.

On campus, students and staff have observed that you are a skilled musician. Tell us what influenced your interest in music.

Well, my father was an accomplished musician and, growing up, music was always around me. I learned the violin at an early age and continue to play today. I enjoy it, as well as singing, and have had the opportunity to perform here at college events. It gives me a chance to share my musical skills with the faculty and student music group on campus who are quite talented. During Advent I enjoyed performing “Lo How a Rose E’re Blooming” in a Christmas email greeting. Hopefully, I can do more in the future.

What is new at Holy Apostles, and what is your vision for the direction of the college and seminary?

The college has established new programs including a Master of Sacred Scripture and Master of Divinity in the New Evangelization for our online students. Holy Apostles is a global community with our professors and students representing fifty-one countries. We look forward to broadening our international outreach that has its origins in the mission of the Twelve Apostles who were sent out by Jesus to evangelize the world. Jesus commanded the Apostles to “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations”. (Matthew 28:19)

Knowing that alumni and friends of Holy Apostles are important to you, what are your plans for connecting with these constituencies in 2024?

Looking at the future activities of the college, one of my priorities is to increase our events and outreach, and other opportunities that allow me to connect further with our alumni and friends of Holy Apostles. Holy Apostles has an exceptional group of alumni, both priests and laity. We also have a special community of students, faculty, and long-time supporters and my goal is to continue to strengthen those relationships.

I look forward to more opportunities to reach out through campus events, webinars, and our monthly newsletter. These are people who understand and support our mission and vision. Their evangelization brings the faith beyond Cromwell, to all areas of the world. From here, not only the message about the college and seminary spreads, but the message of Christ. In the meantime, our community of alumni and friends are remembered during weekly Masses at Holy Apostles.