Archbishop charges five new priests to be ‘colonizers’ for the kingdom

Families of newly ordained relish sons’ gift of priesthood

Fr. Paul Graney, left, and Fr. Dominic Macioce process with their classmates out of the Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament after being ordained priests May 14 by Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron. Photos by Tim Fuller | Special to The Michigan Catholic

Fr. Paul Graney, left, and Fr. Dominic Macioce process with their classmates out of the Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament after being ordained priests May 14 by Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron.
Photos by Tim Fuller | Special to The Michigan Catholic

Detroit — Amidst the triumphal sounds of Gustav Holst’s “O God, Beyond All Praising,” five men entered the Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament as deacons May 14 and exited as priests.

Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron ordained Fr. Paul Graney, Fr. Dominic Macioce, Fr. Kevin Roelant, Fr. David Tomaszycki and Fr. Timothy Wezner, telling them their charge was to be “instruments to unchain the Gospel” in the Archdiocese of Detroit.

Dropping some social media savvy into his homily, Archbishop Vigneron said the ordinations, along with the celebration of Pentecost the same weekend, were “part of an all-encompassing goal: it’s part of our effort to #UnleashtheGospel,” he said. “That’s the hashtag part.”

But evangelization must go beyond keywords and marketing, he said.

Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron lays his hands on Fr. Timothy Wezner to ordain him to the sacred priesthood May 14.

Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron lays his hands on Fr. Timothy Wezner to ordain him to the sacred priesthood May 14.

“The point of the New Evangelization is to advance the kingdom of Christ, to extend his kingdom and expand the sphere in which Jesus is Lord,” the archbishop said. “In our community in particular this means to reverse the contraction that has occurred in the kingdom of Christ.”

Archbishop Vigneron said this means the five new priests must serve as “ambassadors,” “colonizers” and “recruiters for the lordship of Jesus.”

“You must make it your constant concern to see that those to whom you’re sent encounter Jesus, grow in his discipleship and are strengthened to be his witnesses,” Archbishop Vigneron said.

Four of the new priests will begin serving immediately as associate pastors: Fr. Graney will serve at Our Lady of Sorrows in Farmington; Fr. Macioce will serve at St. Frances Cabrini in Allen Park; Fr. Roelant will serve at the National Shrine of the Little Flower Basilica in Royal Oak; and Fr. Wezner will serve at St. Hugo of the Hills in Bloomfield Hills. Fr. Tomaszycki, who studied at the Pontifical Gregorian University, will return to Rome this fall to finish his studies.

Archbishop Vigneron admonished the new priests to love those they will serve, noting “if we don’t love the people we serve, we’re of little use to them.”

“Everything you have and are doesn’t belong to you anymore. You’re a trustee even of your leisure time,” Archbishop Vigneron said. “As the Sulpicians have said year in and year out, ‘There’s no vacation from a vocation.’”

“Every talent you have, every aspiration that fires your heart is about the Church, it’s about Jesus and his lordship,” the archbishop said.

As the class spokesman, Fr. Tomaszycki offered a “pile of thank yous” to everyone who had supported the new priests in their journey, including Archbishop Vigneron, Cardinal Adam J. Maida, who was in attendance, and all of the bishops, clergy, family members and seminary staff who spent time encouraging and praying for the newly ordained.

“Last summer, I was meeting with His Excellency, Archbishop Vigneron, and he encouraged me and said ‘You are called to be a great saint.’ Now why am I, Fr. Dave Tomaszycki, so special to be called to be a great saint?” Fr. Tomaszycki said. “Well, I’ll tell you. Fr. Dave Tomaszycki is so special because he is loved by Jesus Christ. You, too, are loved by Jesus Christ, and each and every one of us here is called to be a great saint.”

From left, Fr. Timother Wezner, Fr. David Tomaszycki, and Fr. Kevin Roelant were among five new priests ordained May 14 for the Archdiocese of Detroit.

From left, Fr. Timother Wezner, Fr. David Tomaszycki, and Fr. Kevin Roelant were among five new priests ordained May 14 for the Archdiocese of Detroit.

 

After Mass, the five new priests greeted well-wishers and family members in tents set up in the cathedral’s plaza, where they offered their first blessings.

Diane Wezner was fighting back tears after watching her son ascend the altar.

“I can’t put into words what I’m feeling right now,” she said. “It’s so surreal. I’m just so very blessed.”

The priesthood was “all Tim talked about from the time he was a little guy. People would ask him what he wanted to be when he grew up, and his answer was ‘a priest.’ And it never, ever changed,” she said.

She described Fr. Tim as “a very compassionate, loving person” capable of ministering to any age group.

Paul and Amy Roelant said the ordination of their son, Fr. Kevin, was the answer to 25 years of prayer.

“I have prayed every day since he was 2 years old that he was called,” Paul Roelant related. “I would not tell him, but I knew he was called. I waited until he told me.”

Paul Roelant said he’s always had a “great love for the priesthood,” and believes that love has rubbed off on his son.

“He’s faithful to his prayer life, he has concern for others, and he likes to serve,” Paul Roelant said. “He’s very much in love with God. When he talks about being ordained he just breaks into a big smile that lights up the room.”

Paul Graney Sr. said the priesthood has been a “long time coming” for his son, Fr. Paul Graney.

His wife, Judy Graney, said her son is a “good listener with lots of patience,” qualities that will make him a gift to the people he serves.

“His first year of college, he came to me and said he had been praying and he felt there was some type of a calling, but he wasn’t sure,” Judy Graney said. “After he went to a Bible college for four years, he started talking to the fathers at the cathedral in New York. He prayed about it and decided to become a priest.”

Fr. Kevin Roelant receives his vestments after being ordained May 14 by Archbishop Vigneron at the Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament.

Fr. Kevin Roelant receives his vestments after being ordained May 14 by Archbishop Vigneron at the Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament.

The ordination Mass was “overwhelming” and “incredibly joyous” for the entire Macioce family, said Dina Macioce, who was in attendance with her husband, Ronald Macioce.

Dina Macioce said Fr. Dominic is “very relatable” and “always puts himself before others.”

“He’s always been that kind of person even through his teen years,” she said. “He’s very selfless.”

Art Tomaszycki described the ordination of his son, Fr. David, as “awesome, even before the term ‘awesome’ was overused.”

Because Fr. David was studying in Rome before his ordination, the new priest’s mother, Joan, helped with much of the preparatory work for the ordination ceremony, he said, making the day that much more special.

Asked to describe his son’s qualities, Art Tomaszycki joked that his son was “tall,” before adding that Fr. David is “very, very devoted to God and to his vocation.”

“He’s also a great communicator, and those are some pretty good qualities to have for the line of work he just went into,” he said.