Eight Men to be Ordained Priests for Archdiocese of Washington

May 14, 2004

Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick, Archbishop of Washington, will ordain eight men as priests during a Mass of Ordination:

Saturday, May 29, 2004
9:00 a.m.
Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception
400 Michigan Avenue, NE, Washington, DC

The men are among 68 who studied for the priesthood with the Archdiocese of Washington this year. Those who will be ordained include a former Naval officer who became Catholic while in college, a Hill staffer and a chief accountant for the Grand Hyatt who also became Catholic as an adult. The men were born in the United States, the Philippines, Spain and El Salvador:

Carlos Benitez, 29, was born in Madrid, Spain, grew up in Fresno, CA and then attended Caldwell College in New Jersey. He completed his theological studies at the Redemptoris Mater Seminary in Takoma Park, MD. Graduates of this seminary are missionary priests for the Archdiocese and may receive assignments in other nations during their priesthood in addition to serving in the local area.

William Brailsford, 43, was a publicity director for a Washington political think-tank before entering the seminary. Originally from Staten Island, NY, he attended college at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, PA and completed his studies at Theological College in Washington, DC.

Carter Griffin, 32, is a Princeton graduate (summa cum laude), a convert to Catholicism and a former Naval officer who, after completing Officer Candidate School in Pensacola, FL, was deployed in the Persian Gulf and the Mediterranean. This Rochester, NY native turned down law school to enter the seminary. His theology studies have been at the Pontifical North American College in Rome, Italy. He will return there in the fall for another year of study.

Levester Jones, 50, was born in Chester, South Carolina and grew up in Charlotte, NC, where he attended Central Piedmont Community College. He became a Catholic as an adult and was active in his parish of St. Teresa of Avila in Southeast Washington. He entered the seminary following a 23-year career with the Hyatt Corporation. His last position was as chief accountant for the Grand Hyatt in Washington, DC. He attended St. Mary’s Seminary in Baltimore, MD.

John (Jack) Kennealy V, 44, grew up in Silver Spring, Maryland. After receiving his BA at the University of Wisconsin and his MBA from George Washington University, he worked in grants administration and as an accounting manager. His volunteer tutoring with inner-city children at St. Francis Xavier in Southeast Washington, DC and another program led him to realize he wanted something more in life. With the prayers of friends and the encouragement of a local priest, he applied for the priesthood. He has completed his theology studies at Blessed John XXIII Seminary in Boston, MA.

Evelio Menjivar-Ayala, 33, was born in Nueva Trinidad, El Salvador. He immigrated to the United States in 1990, worked as a painter and was an Hispanic youth minister at St. Mark parish in Hyattsville before attending college seminary at St. John Vianney College Seminary and then completing his theology studies at the Pontifical North American College in Rome, Italy. He has spent the past year in pastoral ministry at St. Catherine Laboure parish in Wheaton, MD.

Brian Sanderfoot, 34, was a legislative assistant on to a United States Representative for five years before entering the seminary. A native of Appleton, Wisconsin, he graduated from Villanova University in 1992. He completed theology studies at the Pontifical North American College in Rome, Italy.

Gary Villanueva, 40, of Hyattsville, Maryland, was born in the Philippines. After graduating from the University of Santo Tomas in Manila, he immigrated to the United States in 1986 and worked as an assistant bookkeeper before entering the seminary. He was active in his parish, St. Mark, in Hyattsville, MD and is a member of the Knights of Columbus. He completed his studies for the priesthood at Blessed John XXIII Seminary in Boston, MA.

Susan Gibbs
Office of Communications
[email protected]