Fr. Jose Andres Henriquez Castano
(aka “Seminarian Jose”)
Fr. Henriquez’s Ordination and First Mass
On Saturday, June 27th Deacon Jose Henriquez was ordained to the Priesthood by Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio of the Diocese of Brooklyn. Fr. Jose, who has been affectionately known to us here at St. Anselm Parish as “Seminarian Jose”, was one of ten men who received the Sacrament of Ordination during an evening service at St. Joseph’s Co-Cathedral. Bishop DiMarzio told the new priests that they should heed the words of the day’s Gospel when “Jesus sends his disciples as lambs among wolves.” He encouraged them saying – “Always meditate on the law of the Lord and His word because you must believe what you read, you must teach what you believe, and you must practice what you teach.”
Fr. Henriquez first came to St. Anselm as a seminarian in May of 2013 for a summer residency and returned again for a second summer stay in 2014. Between these assignments “Seminarian” Jose was a guest here on special liturgical occasions such as Christmas and Easter and was a frequent visitor in St. Anselm Catholic Academy, most recently attending the June 2015 graduation.
Fr. Henriquez was ordained to the Transitional Diaconate by Cardinal Timothy Dolan at Saint Joseph’s Seminary, Dunwoodie on November 1, 2014. The parish had the opportunity to share in his joy by holding a reception in his honor on Saturday, November 15th after the 5 PM Mass, in which Deacon Henriquez proclaimed the Gospel and preached the homily.
Fr. Jose served as a Transitional Deacon at St. Joseph’s Co-Cathedral, being an important part of the Spanish Language Apostolate and establishing a group for young adult men in St. Joseph’s parish. He celebrated his First Mass at the Co-Cathedral on Sunday, June 28th at 3:30 PM in a beautiful Liturgy, in which our own Monsignor Maloney was among the concelebrants. The Mass, in both English and Spanish, was graced with the wonderful singing of hymns, familiar to both the Spanish and English speaking members of the congregation by the St. Joseph’s Choir. Fr. Joseph Espaillat, Director of Youth Ministry for the New York Archdiocese, preached the homily, urging Fr. Jose to model his priesthood on Christ, Our Great High Priest. Fr. Espaillat made it clear that the road ahead would not always be easy, but that the rewards would be great. During the Mass, a particularly moving moment came when Fr. Jose came down from the Sanctuary to greet his family assembled in the front pews to the warm applause of the clergy and the congregation. At the conclusion of the Mass, as he had done last November when he joined us here at St. Anselm, Fr. Henriquez visited the Shrine of the Blessed Virgin Mary for a moment of private prayer to ask Mary’s aid to strengthen him in being faithful to Christ.
Following the wonderful Liturgy in the majestic Co-Cathedral, Clergy and guests moved downstairs to the “undercroft”, a gathering space designed for receptions and banquets. On entering, visitors encountered a table on which sat a framed montage of photos of Fr. Jose’s ordination the day before. Also on the table was a vase holding a cluster of branches. Guests were invited to write their best wishes, prayers, and congratulations for Fr. Jose on small cards, and then decorate the branches with them. While a mariachi band serenaded the guests with Latin favorites, visitors greeted Fr. Jose and one another before enjoying a delicious early dinner. After the meal guests lined up to receive Fr. Jose’s “First Blessing” and again express their best wishes.
Prayer for a Priest
O Jesus, our great High Priest,
Hear my humble prayers
On behalf of your priest, Father Jose.
Give him a deep faith,
A bright and firm hope
And a burning love,
Which will ever increase
In the course of his priestly life.
In his loneliness, comfort him in his sorrows,
Strengthen him in his frustrations,
Point out to him that it is through suffering that the soul is purified,
And show him that he is needed by the Church,
He is needed by souls,
He is needed for the work of redemption.
O loving Mother Mary, Mother of Priests,
Take to your heart your son
Who is close to you because of his priestly ordination,
And because of the power which he has received
To carry on the work of Christ
In a world which needs him so much.
Be his comfort, be his joy, be his strength,
And especially help him to live
And to defend the ideals of consecrated celibacy.
Fr. Henriquez will serve as parochial vicar at Blessed Sacrament Parish, Cypress Hills. St. Anselm Parishioners will keep Fr. Jose in their prayers and always look forward to welcoming him “home” to Saint Anselm.
All the best,
The St. Anselm Publicity Committee