Building the City of God

"Building the City of God" is a series of priest profiles published regularly in the Miami edition of The Florida Catholic (the first one appeared in March, 2003).

The series seeks to reveal "the man behind the collar" by giving a quick glimpse of the personal side of priests' lives."Building the City of God" has won a Communicator Award of Distinction in the Marketing/Promotion/Campaign category for print media.

The Award of Distinction is given to projects that exceed industry standards in communicating a message or idea.

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Father Jerry Singleton
Born July 16, 1941, on a farm in County Cork, Ireland, Father Singleton aspired to the priesthood from seeing priests who visited from many nations.
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Bishop Peter Baldacchino
Born Dec. 5, 1960, in Sliema, Malta, Bishop Baldacchino is the second oldest of four children three boys and a girl born to Leonilda (known as Hilda) and Rinaldo (known as Rene) Baldacchino.
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Fr. Jorge Rodriguez
Born April 11, 1963, in Lima, Peru, Father Rodriguez De La Viuda was the second of four children. He attended the Universidad de San Martin de Porres in Lima, where he earned a bachelor's degree in business administration.
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Father Jose Alfaro
Born in El Salvador on Sept. 5, 1974, Father Alfaro was educated by the Marist Brothers there until 11th grade, when he moved to South Florida. He graduated from Miami Beach Senior High in 1992, got a bachelor's degree in psychology from FIU in 1997 and entered St. John Vianney Seminary in Miami that same year.
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Father Andrew Chan-A-Sue
Born Aug. 1, 1953, in Georgetown, British Guiana (now Guyana), Father Chan-A-Sue's name is actually an anagram. His great-grandfather was named Asue Chen, but when he immigrated to Guyana, he rendered it Chan-A-Sue. Father Chan-A-Sue first went into an accounting career.
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Father Thomas Wisniewski
Born April 11, 1949, in Cleveland, Father Tom, as his parishioners typically call him, has a brother and a sister: Ronald Wisniewski and Anne Washburn. Their parents, Henry and Sophie Ann, were both purebred Polish: Their own parents immigrated from Poland in their youth.
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Father Michael Grady
At age 18, and then again at 34: "Every couple of years I would have the urge to go back but I would say, no, I'm enjoying my life." Finally, while working at a hotel in Florida, a Jewish lady who knew nothing of his background said to him, "Have you ever thought of becoming a priest?"
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Msgr. Kenneth Schwanger
Msgr. Schwanger was born April 25, 1960, in Harrisburg, Pa. He graduated from Middletown Area High School there, then followed his father to Florida, where he graduated from the University of Florida in 1982. He went to the University of Florida Law School, obtaining his law degree in 1984.
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Msgr. Oscar Castaneda
Born Jan. 21, 1954, in Moron, Cuba, Msgr. Castañeda came to South Florida with his family and graduated from Miami Springs Senior High. He attended Miami Dade College and Florida International University, graduating with a bachelor's degree in elementary education and a minor in special education.
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Father Carlos Vega
Born Nov. 19, 1961, in Chicago, Father Vega moved with his family to Manatí, Puerto Rico, at the age of 11. He entered St. John Vianney College Seminary after graduating from high school, and was ordained for the Archdiocese of Miami on May 27, 1989, in Manatí.
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Bishop Felipe J. Estévez
Bishop Estévez was born Feb. 5, 1946, in Havana. "The liturgical calendar used then had as the saint of the day Felipe de Jesus," so that is his given name. He is the second of three children (two boys and a girl) who grew up in the area of Pedro Betancourt, in the province of Matanzas.
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Father Ernest Biriruka
Born Jan. 20, 1954, in Burundi, Africa, Father Biriruka entered the seminary of Bujumbura in 1974 and was ordained July 11, 1981, for the Diocese of Ngozi, Burundi. He obtained a degree in theology from the Urbaniana Pontifical University in Rome in 1985 and a licentiate in moral theology from St. Patrick's College in Maynooth, Ireland, in 1991.
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Fr. Chanel Jeanty
Born Feb. 10, 1972, in Cap-Haitien, Haiti, Father Jeanty came to the U.S. in April 1990 to join his parents, who were already living in Pompano Beach. He began studying accounting at Broward Community College while working full time, but entered the seminary in August 1996.
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Father David Zirilli
Zirilli was born in Melbourne, Fla., on April 26, 1971, the older of two boys. He graduated from the University of Florida in 1993 with a bachelor's degree in accounting and later obtained a master's in the field from the University of North Florida. For eight years, he worked as a certified public
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Father Juan Sosa
Born Jan. 24, 1947, in Havana, Father Sosa arrived in Miami Oct. 27, 1961, one of the 14,000 unaccompanied minors brought to the U.S. through Operation Pedro Pan. He spent time at the Matecumbe and Kendall camps before moving into St. Raphael Hall,
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Fr. Christopher Marino
Father Marino was born July 27, 1967, in Flushing, N.Y. His family later moved to South Florida, and in 1985 he graduated from Chaminade College Preparatory (now Chaminade-Madonna College Preparatory) in Hollywood.
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† Fr. Mannix Stack
Born Aug. 11, 1920, in Cobh, County Cork, Ireland, Father Stack was a Presentation Brother for 35 years, beginning in 1939. He taught in, established and administered Catholic high schools in Ireland, Grenada, Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, and St. Lucia.
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Fr. Alvaro Pinzón
Born Dec. 13, 1965 in Rondón, Boyacá, Colombia, Father Pinzón entered the seminary after high school and was ordained for the Diocese of Garagoa, Boyacá, Colombia, on Nov. 30, 1991.
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Archbishop John C. Favalora
Born Dec. 5, 1935, in New Orleans, Archbishop Favalora is the only child of an Italian grocer and a Cajun homemaker. He attended the all-boys Jesuit High School in New Orleans and entered the seminary in the New Orleans area after graduation.
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Archbishop Thomas Wenski
Born Oct. 18, 1950, in West Palm Beach, Archbishop Wenski is the son of first- and second-generation Polish immigrants. He attended Sacred Heart School in Lake Worth and in ninth grade entered what was then the high school seminary of St. John Vianney.
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Fr. George Puthusseril
Born in 1955 in the state of Kerala, India, Father Puthusseril was ordained for the Diocese of Krishnagar, India, on Oct. 6, 1979. While studying for his canon law degree in Rome, he made friends with some priests from the northern United States, whom he visited a few summers.
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Fr. Jaime Acevedo
Born Jan. 6, 1953, in Santurce, Puerto Rico, Father Acevedo attended school there but studied for the priesthood at St. John Vianney Seminary in Miami and St. Vincent de Paul Seminary in Boynton Beach.
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Fr. James P. Murphy
Born June 24, 1945, in Cork, Ireland, Father Murphy is one of seven children. He entered St. John's Seminary in Waterford, Ireland, right after high school as a "freelance seminarian," unattached to a diocese. He chose Miami because" it was a new diocese.
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Fr. Paul Vuturo
Born Aug. 14, 1947, in Indianapolis, he moved to Miami with his family "in 1955 BC — before Cubans," as he puts it. After graduating from St. Rose of Lima in Miami Shores,
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Fr. Roberto Garza
Born Oct. 2, 1967, in Tulia, Texas, Father Garza is the oldest of four children. His great-greatgrandparents were cattle ranchers from southern Spain who settled in that area of the U.S. when it was part of Mexico.
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Fr. Fernando Isern
Born Sept. 22, 1958, in Havana, Father Isern moved to Venezuela with his family at the age of 5. When he was 9, they moved to Miami where he attended public elementary school and a private high school, Champagnat. (He still celebrates the school's graduation Mass each year.)
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Fr. Jordi Rivero
Born June 1, 1951, in Havana, Father Rivero left there with his family at age 9, moving to his great-grandmother's house in Barcelona, Spain. Three years later, the family moved to his grandfather's cattle ranch in central Florida, where he learned to drive a tractor and prepare the land for pasture.
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Fr. Reginald Jean-Mary
Born Oct. 18, 1967, in Jean-Rabel, Haiti, Father Jean-Mary is the fifth of seven brothers and sisters. His father was a farmer who wanted him to study agronomy, but he was interested in law as a way of fighting the injustice he witnessed in Haiti.
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Fr. Luis García
Born Jan. 21, 1953, in Havana, Cuba, Father García is an only child. He started elementary school in Cuba but completed it in Spain, where he had emigrated with his parents.
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Fr. Michael Davis
The oldest of three children, Father Davis was born in Hamilton, Ohio, Sept. 16, 1963. He entered the Pontifical College Josephinum in Columbus, Ohio, in 1981, studying for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. A summer doing evangelization work in Mexico proved
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Fr. Eduardo Jiménez
He was ordained for the Salesian congregation Jan. 24, 1982, in the parish of San Juan Bosco, Havana, and named director of the marriage ministry for the Diocese of Cienfuegos-Santa Clara. He obtained a licentiate in theology from the Pontifical Salesian University in Rome in December 1987.
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Father-Alfred-Cioffi
The son of a Cuban mother and Italian father, Father Alfred Cioffi was born in Havana, Cuba, Nov. 5, 1952, the older of two brothers. The family left Cuba in 1960 and lived in New Orleans and New York before moving to various countries in Central America. (His father worked for the airline Alitalia.)
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Fr. Robés Charles
Born Feb. 14, 1961, in Limbé, Haiti, Father Charles studied to become an electrician and interior designer after graduating from high school in his homeland. But he always felt called to the priesthood.
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Fr. Jesús Bohorquez
The son of Colombian parents, Father Bohórquez was born in Argentina on Oct. 25, 1972. He lived in Venezuela and Colombia before coming to the United States in 1988. He graduated from McArthur High Schoolin Hollywood in 1990, and entered St. John Vianney College Seminary in Miami six years later.
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Fr. Michael Hoyer
Born May 27, 1955 in Suffern, N.Y., Father Hoyer has four brothers and two sisters. His father is 95 years old; his mother died three years ago at 88. His family operates an ice cream store in upstate New York that has remained in business at the same location for 53 years.
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Fr. Roger Holoubek
Born May 10, 1943 in Butte, Mont.,Father Holoubek moved to Clewiston, Fla.,with his parents and sister when he wasfour months old. He attended local publicschools, then studied one year at theUniversity of Florida before entering theseminary.
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Fr. José Espino
Born April 6, 1956 in Guantánamo, Cuba, Father Espino is the third of six brothers and sisters. He came to Miami in 1961 with a sister and older brother (now deceased) as part of the Pedro Pan program, which ultimately spirited more than 14,000 children out of Cuba.
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Fr. Terence Hogan
Born Oct. 6, 1952, in Washington, D.C., Father Hogan is the second of three children. His family moved to Florida in 1965 and became active in Holy Rosary Parish in Perrine. He entered St. John Vianney Seminary as a ninth-grader in 1966 and was ordained a priest for the Miami Archdiocese in 1980.
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Fr. Jose Alvarez
Born Nov. 11, 1960, in Havana, Cuba, Father Alvarez came to Miami with his parents and older sister in 1967. He grew up in St. John Bosco Parish, Little Havana, and entered the seminary at age 36. He was ordained for the Archdiocese of Miami on May 10, 2003.
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Msgr. James Reynolds
The Brooklyn-born son of first-generation Irish immigrants, Msgr. Reynolds is marking his 80th birthday (Jan. 18, 1925), his 55th year in the priesthood (ordained June 3, 1950 for the Archdiocese of Brooklyn) and his 25th year as pastor of St. Henry, a parish of 1,300, as he puts it, "chronologically-gifted" families.
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Fr. Jeffrey McCormick
Born Dec. 5, 1962, in North Miami, Father McCormick is the fifth of eight children born to a Quaker mom and Presbyterian dad who converted to Catholicism in 1966. "They said they converted because they were tired of being called sex maniacs in the Protestant church.
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Msgr. Tomás Marín
Born Oct. 31, 1956, in Santa Clara, Cuba, Msgr. Marin came to the United States with his family - parents and younger sister - at age 4. They settled in Chicago.
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Fr. Francisco Hernandez
Born Dec. 22, 1966, in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Father Hernandez considers himself a "Cuban-Rican" because he grew up on the island but his parents and grandparents are from Cuba.
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† Msgr. Patrick McDonnell
Born Oct. 10, 1933, in Ennis, County Clare, Ireland, Msgr. McDonnell is the eldest of five children. He was ordained June 16, 1957, for the then-Miami Diocese. Among his many assignments during the past 47 years,
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Fr. Juan Carlos Paguaga
Born June 22, 1969, in León, Nicaragua, Father Paguaga is the oldest of four children. He arrived in the United States Dec. 1, 1989, after a one-month, $2,000 journey from Guatemala.
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Msgr. Noel Fogarty
Born Dec. 30, 1928, in Galway, Ireland, Msgr. Fogarty is the second youngest of seven children. He attended seminaries in Ireland, was ordained June 2, 1957, and was recruited for the Diocese of St. Augustine,
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† Fr. Jorge Sardiñas
Born Oct. 2, 1950, in Havana, Cuba, he came to the United States in 1960 and attended Corpus Christi and St. John Bosco parishes in Miami. Ordained May 14, 1977, he served at St. Mary Cathedral, worked with farmworkers
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Fr. Michael Carruthers
Born May 6, 1964, in Levittown, New York, his family moved to Jensen Beach when he was 8. He attended public schools and St. Martin de Porres Parish, and was studying at Indian River Community College when he decided to enter the seminary.
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Fr. Federico Capdepon
Born April 12, 1951 in Miranda, a city in Burgos, Spain, he came to Miami in 1978 on a business venture: representing 40 Spanish publishers seeking to sell bilingual textbooks in the U.S. market.
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Fr. Joseph Kottayil
Born April 1, 1959, in Kerala, the most Catholic state of India, he is the fifth of seven children. Ordained Dec. 23, 1979, he came to the United States in 1990 and worked at St. Agnes Parish in downtown Brooklyn,
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Fr. Fernando Heria
Born Oct. 13, 1950 in Cuba, he came to the U.S. with his family at age 11, graduated from Hialeah High School and served in the U.S. Army. He entered the seminary at age 40, after 13 years as a criminal defense attorney, and was ordained for the Archdiocese of Miami in 1996.
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Fr. James Fetscher
Born Aug. 9, 1941 in Jamaica Plain, N.Y., he moved to Miami in 1949 and grew up in Holy Family Parish, North Miami. He attended Archbishop Curley High School and entered the seminary during his senior year.
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Fr. Robert Tywoniak
Born April 8, 1957 in New Jersey, he moved to Florida with his family around 1970, settling in St. Vincent Parish in Margate, where his parents still live. He was ordained in 1983 and served for 10 years as director of Catholic Charities' child welfare division.
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Fr. Jean Pierre
Born in Haiti in 1954, he speaks fluent English and Spanish. In May, 1988, he became the first Haitian priest to be ordained for the archdiocese.
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Fr. Paul Edwards
Born in Illinois in 1954, he grew up in Hialeah, entered the seminary at 15 and was ordained for the Archdiocese of Miami in 1983. He is founding pastor of two-year-old
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Fr. Pedro Corces
Born in Cuba in 1957, Father Corces grew up in Miami and was ordained for the archdiocese in 1988. As vocations director, he is responsible for recruiting and screening candidates to the priesthood. He also helps out at Prince of Peace Church in Miami, teaches lay ministry courses and has been involved with the HIV/AIDS ministry.
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