Annual Mass and Luncheon for the Newly Ordained

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Annual Mass and Luncheon for the Newly Ordained

Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter & Paul
November 9, 2023

The Serra Club of Philadelphia hosted the newly ordained priests for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia at its annual Mass and Luncheon on November 9.

The Most Reverend Michael J. Fitzgerald, Auxiliary Bishop of Philadelphia (ret.), celebrated Mass and was joined by the pastors of the parishes where the new priests are assigned, the pastors of their originating or home parishes, and other priests of special consideration to them. Students from area high schools were also invited guests. Attending schools included Martin Saints Classical High School, Saints John Neumann and Maria Goretti High School, Pope John Paul II High School, Regina Luminis Academy, Cardinal O’Hara High School, Roman Catholic High School for Boys, and West Catholic Preparatory High School.

Luncheon at the nearby Sheraton Philadelphia Downtown immediately followed Mass. Rev. David Friel, vocation director for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, emceed a Q&A panel of the six attending newly ordained. Rev. Kenneth Ifeanyi Omeke was unable to join the Mass and luncheon because of last-minute hospital duty for his parish, Saints Simon and Jude (West Chester). His six classmates, however, responded to guests’ questions that ranged from their elementary and high school education, prior professional or other work experiences, personal calls to serve, and to other topics of wide dimension, including the number of weeks’ vacation they receive.

The six attending and their parishes included:
Rev. Anthony Albanese, Saint Laurence Parish, Upper Darby
Rev. Randy Kraft, St. Agnes Parish, West Chester
Rev. Phong Thanh Le, Saint Cecilia Parish, Philadelphia
Rev. John Chidiebube Okpara, Saint Monica Parish, Philadelphia
Rev. Wesly Taveras Medina, Saint Aloysius, Pottstown
Rev. Shane Flanagan, Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish, Doylestown

Serra Club of Philadelphia President Jorge Ignacio Fernández welcomed the 96 luncheon guests, the largest number in recent years, and encouraged everyone to continue praying for vocations to the priesthood and religious life. Fernández urged those who were not already members to consider joining the Serra Club of Philadelphia by contacting Lou Ferrero, VP of Membership, at He noted that several new initiatives and outreach programs are in the discussion stage and welcomed input from all members.