Published May 2, 2019
ATLANTA—The April 16 Chrism Mass at the Cathedral of Christ the King was a jubilee celebration of the ordinations of seventeen priests:
Diamond Jubilarian – 60 Years
Father Gregory Kenny, CMF
Father Gregory Kenny, a priest of the Claretian order (CMF), was ordained in 1959. Father Kenny grew up in the Chicago area. He first began discerning a vocation to the priesthood at age 13 when a priest came to his school to talk about the Claretian congregation. He attended a seminary high school. After high school, Father Kenny entered a Claretian seminary in California where he studied for seven years, followed by college, post-graduate study, a year of novitiate and then his doctorate. He describes the order as friendly and hospitable but also notes that he was drawn to their missionary work, an aspect of the faith that intrigued him from a young age. Father Kenny’s work has led him down many paths, from serving as an auxiliary chaplain at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland and as a hospital chaplain in Illinois, to time as a teacher, including positions at Fordham University and Adelphi University in New York. Father Kenny is the pastor emeritus of Corpus Christi Church, Stone Mountain, where he has been a beloved participant in parish life for 27 years.
Golden Jubilarians – 50 Years
Father Joseph Aquino, MS
Father Joseph Aquino, of the Missionaries of Our Lady of La Salette (MS), was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Daniel Cronin of Boston at the National Shrine of Our Lady of La Salette on May 24, 1969. Father Aquino began his life as a La Salette priest serving in vocations and youth ministries. He was the director of province scholastics in Rome and preaching apostolates when he returned to Massachusetts. The year 1976 brought Father Aquino to the Archdiocese of Atlanta. He has taken numerous assignments over the past 43 years, including associate pastorates at St. Thomas the Apostle Church, Smyrna, and St. Ann Church, Marietta, and as pastor at Blessed Sacrament, Atlanta; St. Francis of Assisi, Cartersville, and St. Ann. Father Aquino’s life as a La Salette priest also saw him fulfill duties in Connecticut, Massachusetts, Florida, North Carolina and Louisiana. In 2015, Father Aquino was granted the status of senior priest at St. Ann Church.
Father Martin Breski, OFM Conv.
Father Martin Breski, of the Order of Friars Minor Conventual (Franciscan), was ordained in 1969. Father Martin was born in Elmhurst, New York. He entered the Conventual Franciscan novitiate in 1960, professed solemn vows in 1964, and was ordained to the priesthood on Dec. 23, 1969 in the Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul in Rome. During formation, Father Breski earned degrees in philosophy, theology and languages. As a dedicated Franciscan, Father Breski has served in many areas: college and seminary instructor, college and seminary administrator, parochial vicar, provincial and general treasurer of the Conventual Franciscans and as pastor. He has also been a tour guide and photographer at the Sacred Convent, Assisi, Italy. Father Breski is a priest-in-residence at St. Philip Benizi Church, Jonesboro.
Father Peter Fink, SJ
Father Peter Fink, of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits), was ordained in 1969. He entered the Jesuits at a young age, just short of 18. From novitiate in Poughkeepsie (1956) to ordination at Fordham University, he learned the ways of being Jesuit, studied philosophy, taught physics and then began a career in theology. During graduate studies at Emory University, he helped serve at Immaculate Heart of Mary Church, Atlanta. On completion of the graduate degree, he taught liturgy and sacraments for 31 years at Weston Jesuit School of Theology, now part of Boston College. At the same time, he served at Our Lady of the Cedars Maronite Church, Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts, for 25 years. In 2006, Father Fink went from the world of academia to a New York parish, St. Francis Xavier, for 10 years before returning to Atlanta to be retreat director at Ignatius House Jesuit Retreat Center.
Father Eduardo Rodríguez, OCSO
Father Eduardo Rodríguez, OCSO (Trappist), a priest of the Monastery of the Holy Spirit in Conyers, celebrates 50 years as a priest on May 20. He was born in Santo Domingo, Costa Rica. He is 89 years old. Father Rodríguez attended the University of Costa Rica before entering the novitiate of the Society of Jesus in 1952 at age 23. As a Jesuit, he pursued seminary studies in Ecuador and Spain. After ten years of Jesuit life, Father Rodríguez transferred to the Cistercian Order of the Strict Observance, known as Trappists, entering the monastery in Conyers in 1962. He professed solemn vows as a monk in 1965, and was ordained to the priesthood in 1969.He used his special skills in bonsai and art to serve his monastic community. Father Rodríguez has also worked as a sacristan, retreat presenter and confessor, with a special devotion to the Hispanic community.
Father James Sexstone
A priest of the Archdiocese of Atlanta, Father James Sexstone was born Sept. 26, 1943, in Canadaigua, New York. He attended St. Bernard Seminary in Rochester, New York, where he earned a bachelor of arts degree in philosophy and a master of divinity degree. Ordained on May 17, 1969 by the late Archbishop Thomas A. Donnellan, Father Sexstone pursued graduate studies at The Catholic University of America, obtaining a master’s degree in education in 1972. During this period, he also served on the faculty at St. Pius X High School, Atlanta, where in 1973 he became principal, holding that office until 1976. From 1977 until 1987, Father Sexstone was pastor at Holy Trinity Church, Peachtree City. In the years following, he served as a parochial vicar at Holy Family Church, Marietta; Corpus Christi Church, Stone Mountain; St. Thomas Aquinas Church, Alpharetta, and from 1995 to 2014 at Immaculate Heart of Mary Church, Atlanta. He retired in 2014.
Silver Jubilarians – 25 Years
Father Timothy A. Gadziala
A Lilburn native, Father Timothy A. Gadziala graduated from Mount St. Mary’s Seminary in 1994, receiving a master of divinity and a master of arts in sacred Scripture. He was ordained on June 4, 1994, and assigned as parochial vicar at St. John the Evangelist Church, Hapeville. He was later assigned to Holy Family Church, Marietta. In 1997, Father Gadziala was assigned his first pastorate at both St. Francis of Assisi Church, Blairsville and St. Paul the Apostle Mission, Cleveland. In 2000, Father Gadziala began graduate studies at The Catholic University of America, and received a licentiate in canon law. He was pastor at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church, Carrollton, a chaplain at Emory University and a judge in the Metropolitan Tribunal of Atlanta. In 2004, Father Gadziala became pastor of St. Anthony of Padua Church, Atlanta, serving until 2011, when he was asked to assist with administration of the missionary work of the Diocese of Mandeville, Jamaica. Father Gadziala served the diocese as vicar general and judicial vicar until the summer of 2016. In June 2017, he became pastor of St. Peter Church, LaGrange, and St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Mission, Warm Springs.
Father Mark Horak, SJ
Father Mark Horak, a priest of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits), entered the Society in 1985 and was ordained in 1994. Father Horak was born and raised in northeast Ohio. He has studied at Georgetown University (American government), Virginia Tech (urban and regional planning), the University of Maryland at Baltimore (law), Fordham University (philosophy) and the Weston School of Theology at Boston College (theology). Father Horak has worked as a city planner in the Baltimore/Washington area, as an immigration lawyer on behalf of low-income immigrants and refugees in Baltimore, and as a parish priest and pastor in Charlotte, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. Since February 2016, Father Horak has served as pastor at St. Thomas More Church, Decatur.
Father Tomy Joseph, MSFS
Father Tomy Puliyanampattayil Joseph is a priest of the Missionaries of St. Francis de Sales. Father Joseph was born in the state of Kerala, India. He made his first religious vows on Dec. 15, 1986, and was ordained a priest for the congregation on December 27, 1994. He worked in India as pastor, high school principal and minor seminary rector. He came to the United States in 2003, becoming a citizen in 2013. He served as an associate pastor and pastor of several parishes, and as pastor of St. Joseph Church and School, Nashville, Tennessee, in the Diocese of Nashville, until 2017. He also served as the mission director of St. Teresa of Calcutta Syro-Malabar Mission in Nashville. Father Joseph was elected as the Provincial Superior of the USA Vice Province of the Missionaries of St. Francis de Sales in July 2016 and continues to serve in that role. He has a master’s degree in education and political science and a master’s degree in counseling psychology. He is pursuing his Ph.D. in performance psychology. Father Joseph is pastor of St. Marguerite d’Youville Church, Lawrenceville.
Father John Murphy
Father John Murphy, a priest of the archdiocese, was ordained on May 27, 1994. Father John was born Feb. 13, 1954, in Dublin, Ireland. He attended St. John’s College and Seminary in Waterford and was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop James Moriarty, auxiliary bishop of Dublin. Among his assignments in the Archdiocese of Atlanta, Father Murphy has served in parochial vicarships at St. Thomas More Church, Decatur, and St. James the Apostle Church, McDonough; as administrator for St. Gabriel Church, Fayetteville, and as pastor at St. Peter Church, LaGrange; the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, Atlanta; St. Andrew Church, Roswell; Sts. Peter and Paul Church, Decatur; St. James and Holy Trinity Church, Peachtree City, where he is currently pastor.
Father Malachy Osunwa, CMF
Father Malachy Izunwunne Osunwa, a priest of the Claretian Order (CMF), was ordained on July 9, 1994. Father Malachy, a native Nigerian, was born on Oct. 25, 1963. He made his first religious profession with the Claretians in 1987. Father Osunwa pursued formation studies in Nigeria at Claretian Institute of Philosophy, Nekede Owerri (affiliate of Urban University Rome); Heart of Mary Novitiate, Utonkon, Nigeria; and Spiritan International School of Theology, Attakwu-Enugu (affiliate of Duquesne University Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.) He completed further studies at Instituto Teológico de Vida Religiosa, Madrid, Spain (affiliate of Pontifical University of Salamanca); and Oblate School of Theology, San Antonio, Texas. Father Osunwa obtained a licentiate in religious life and a master’s degree in theology. He has served as an associate novice master/administrator and novice master in Nigeria, Uganda and Kenya; local superior and general formation coordinator in East Africa; and associate pastor in San Antonio, Texas. Father Osunwa serves as associate pastor at Corpus Christi Church, Stone Mountain.
Father Adam Ozimek
Father Adam Ozimek, a priest of the archdiocese, was ordained in 1994. Born in Poland during a time of communist regime, Father Ozimek was raised in a strong Catholic home. During his youth, he realized he wanted to become a priest to protect the poor and oppressed. Father Ozimek began his seminary education in England and later moved to the United States. He attended Saint Mary’s College in Orchard Lake, Michigan. Upon graduating from that college with a degree in philosophy, he was accepted by the Archdiocese of Atlanta and began attending St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary in Boynton Beach, Florida. Father Ozimek graduated with a degree in theology and was ordained on June 4, 1994 by the late Archbishop John Francis Donoghue. He has served many parishes as a parochial vicar. And for more than a year now, has served as a prison and jail ministry chaplain under the supervision of Deacon Richard Tolcher. Father Ozimek is a priest-in-residence at Saint Michael the Archangel Church, Woodstock.
Father Sunny Punnakuziyil, MSFS
Father Sunny Joseph Punnakuziyil, a priest of the Missionaries of St. Francis de Sales (MSFS), was ordained in 1994. Father Punnakuziyil was born in the state of Kerala in India in 1965. After high school, he joined the congregation known as the Fransalians. He earned his bachelor’s degree in philosophy and anthropology from the University of Bangalore, India. He obtained a bachelor’s degree in theology from the Pontifical Institute of Theology in Bangalore. After ordination in Kerala, Father Punnakuziyil was sent to the Philippines as one of the pioneering missionaries to establish a Fransalian mission there. He was associate pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Manila, and earned a diploma in formative psychology from the Southeast Asian Interdisciplinary Institute. He worked as pastor, vocation director, seminary rector and mission superior for the Fransalians until 2010. Father Punnakuziyil was then sent to minister in the Archdiocese of Atlanta. He was appointed parochial vicar at St. Matthew Church, Winder, and was a chaplain to the Visitation Nuns in Snellville. In 2012, he was appointed as administrator of St. John Neumann Church, Lilburn, and in 2013, became the pastor.
Father Victor Reyes
Father Victor J. Reyes, a priest of the archdiocese, was ordained in 1994. He was previously pastor at St. Michael Church, Gainesville and Saint Joseph Church, Athens, and he was the founding pastor of St. Matthew Church, Winder. His earlier assignments include parochial vicar at St. Jude the Apostle Church, Sandy Springs, with part-time assignment to St. Patrick Church, Norcross, and administrator of the San Felipe de Jesús Mission, Forest Park. In addition, Father Reyes has served on the Council of Priests, and as Advocate and Defender of the Bond for the Court of Appeals of the Atlanta Province. Father Reyes was a member of the National Catholic Council for Hispanic Ministry (National Leadership Initiative), the North American Forum on the Catechumenate, the Academy of Homiletics and the Catholic Association of Teachers of Homiletics. Father Reyes presently serves as pastor of Our Lady of La Salette Church, Canton.
Father James Swanson, LC
Father James Swanson, a priest of the Legionaries of Christ (LC), was ordained in 1994 in Mexico City. Father Swanson was born in Montana in 1956 and lived there until his family moved to California when he was 10. He attended California Polytechnic State University, majoring in biology. He postponed his degree, studying part-time and working in restaurants. At age 25, he began to feel the call to the priesthood. Father Swanson entered the seminary of the Legionaries of Christ in 1983 and studied in Connecticut, Spain and Rome, earning degrees in classical studies and philosophy and finishing his theological studies in the Legion’s house of studies in Rome. His first assignment was at the Legion’s French-speaking seminary in Eastern Ontario. After three years, he was assigned to the community’s retreat center in Washington D.C., where he led retreats and offered spiritual direction for twelve years. In 2009, he returned to Eastern Ontario, where he taught spirituality, Greek, and other courses while serving as a confessor for seminarians. Since 2013, he has been assigned to Atlanta. He serves as a retreat master and spiritual director for the women of the Regnum Christi Movement.
Father Daniel Toof
Father Daniel Toof, a priest of the archdiocese, was ordained in 1994. Father Toof was born and raised in Columbus, Nebraska. In 1973, he graduated from Scotus, a small Franciscan high school, and went on to earn a degree in accounting from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. In 1983, he moved to Atlanta and began discerning a call to priesthood after attending a Cursillo weekend. Since ordination to the priesthood on Dec. 3, 1994, Father Toof has served in four parishes: St. Thomas Aquinas Church, Alpharetta; St. Mary Church, Toccoa; St. Gabriel Church, Fayetteville and, since June of 2001, St. Anna Church, Monroe. He has been the pastor of the Monroe parish for 19 years, overseeing the church’s move to a new property in 2015.
Father Matthew Van Smoorenburg, LC
Father Matthew Van Smoorenburg, a priest of the Legionaries of Christ (LC), was ordained in 1994. Father Van Smoorenburg has served as the pastor of St. Brendan the Navigator Church, Cumming, since 2012. Under his guidance, the church has experienced tremendous growth in attendance sufficient to require complete renovation and expansion of the existing church structures. Since ordination, Father Van Smoorenburg has served in a variety of vocational, educational and spiritual roles throughout the United States, including leading youth programs with the international Catholic youth association, ECYD; acting as chaplain for a college and a primary school, guiding adult education programs such as FAMILIA, leading retreats and directing vocational programs. For the past three years he has served on the Regnum Christi Territorial Council and the North American Legion of Christ Council. Father Van Smoorenburg holds degrees in electrical engineering, philosophy and theology.
Read The Georgia Bulletin’s Chrism Mass coverage here.