Papal Honors Given to Lay People, Clergy in Washington

November 06, 2006

During a November 19 liturgy, 59 lay people and deacons, and nine priests formally will receive honors bestowed on them by Pope Benedict XVI in recognition of their service to the Church. Archbishop of Washington Donald W. Wuerl and his predecessor, Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick, will preside at the conferral of papal honors:

Sunday, November 19, 2006
2:00 p.m.
Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception
400 Michigan Avenue, NE
Washington, DC 20017

The priests, who were named Chaplain to His Holiness by the Pope now have the title of “Monsignor”:

• Monsignor Charles Antonicelli, pastor of St. Joseph on Capitol Hill, Washington, DC (NE)
• Msgr. Francis G. Kazista, pastor of St. John the Baptist, Silver Spring, MD
• Msgr. Oliver McGready, pastor of St. Mary, Newport, MD
• Msgr. Maurice V. O’Connell, pastor of St. Michael, Ridge, MD
• Msgr. Robert Panke, director of priest vocations, Archdiocese of Washington
• Msgr. Charles E. Pope, pastor of St. Thomas More, Washington, DC (SE)
• Msgr. J. Wilfrid Parent, executive director of Catholic identity and mission, Mt. St. Mary’s University, Emmitsburg, MD
• Msgr. Stephen Rossetti, president/CEO of St. Luke Institute, Silver Spring, MD
• Msgr. James D. Watkins, pastor of Immaculate Conception, Washington, DC (NW)

Brief profiles of the new monsignors are at the end of this release.

In addition to recognizing the new monsignors, 59 lay people will be honored with one of four types of papal honors.

The Order of St. Gregory the Great, a Pontifical Order of Knighthood, founded by Pope Gregory XVI in 1831, is awarded to women and men who have distinguished themselves through conspicuous service and notable accomplishment on behalf of the Holy Father, Vatican, Church and society. The Dames of St. Gregory are:

• Kathryn S. Abell, Chevy Chase
• Thayer L. Baine, Washington, DC
• Kathleen Battle, Potomac
• Jane G. Belford, Esq., Washington, DC
• Fuzzy Billings, Potomac
• Jean Marie Fernandez, Bethesda
• Marguerite C. Nealon, Chevy Chase
• Patricia E. Saul, Bethesda
• Laura Sullivan, Mount Victoria
• Agnes N. Williams, Potomac

The Knights of St. Gregory are:

• W. Shepherdson Abell, Jr., Chevy Chase
• Kevin T. Baine, Washington, DC
• William E. Battle, M.D., Potomac
• Kevin B. Belford, Washington, DC
• Eric F. Billings, Jr., Potomac
• Vincent C. Burke III, Chevy Chase
• William E. Conway, Jr., Washington, DC
• Raul Fernandez, Bethesda
• J. Paul McNamara, Bethesda
• Michael J. Sullivan, Mount Victoria

The Pontifical Equestrian Order of Pope St. Sylvester, a Pontifical Order of Knighthood, was instituted by Pope Gregory XVI in 1841 and is awarded to laymen who are active in the apostolate of the Church and have lived exemplary lives, particularly through the exercise of their professional duties. The recipients are:

• Roland E. Arnall
• James Clark, Bethesda
• Stephen D. Harlan, Potomac
• Frederick V. Malek, Bethesda

Instituted by Pope Leo XIII in 1888, the Cross Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice (“for the Church and the Pope”) is given for distinguished service to the Church and the papacy. The recipients are:

• Carol Bates, Bethesda
• Deacon Leon J. Bechet, Upper Marlboro
• Deacon Bernard A. Bernier, Silver Spring
• James A. Brown, Bethesda
• John J. De Gioia, Washington, DC
• John K. Delaney, Potomac
• Jeanne D. Forte, Washington, DC
• Sister Bernadette Glodek, S.N.D.deN., Washington, DC
• John F. Griffin, Potomac
• Sister Carol Keehan, D.C., Washington, DC
• Matthew D. Lee, Potomac
• Laura M. Mako, Leonardtown
• Sister Elizabeth McDonough, O.P., Columbus, OH
• Sandra A. McMurtrie, Bethesda
• Christopher J. Nassetta, Arlington, VA
• Trudy M. Natelli, Potomac
• Edward J. Orzechowski, Beltsville
• John R. Tydings, Potomac

First bestowed by Pope Pius VI (1555-1565) as a military decoration signifying valor on the filed of battle, the Benemerenti Medal was bestowed by later pontiffs for valor. The medal now awarded was introduced by Pope Paul VI in 1972 and is conferred on members of the Roman curia and the administration of the Vatican City State, as well as those who have rendered outstanding meritorious service to the Church. Recipients include:

• Daniel J. Altobello, Potomac
• James D. Bishop, Washington, DC
• James Chesley, Glenn Dale
• Timothy M. Donahue, Reston, VA
• Betsy M. Frank, Adelphi
• Joseph F. Horning, Jr., Washington, DC
• Ronald G. Jackson, Camp Springs
• James V. Kimsey, McLean, VA
• Albert L. Lord, Annapolis
• William P. McClure, McClure
• Morgan O’Brien, Washington, DC
• Oscar J. Reyes, Vienna, VA
• Joseph E. Robert, McLean, VA
• Jeanne W. Ruesch, Chevy Chase
• John J. Ryan, Chevy Chase
• William J. Shaw, Potomac
• James M. Sullivan, Sr., Potomac

Below are the profiles of the new monsignors.

Msgr. Charles Antonicelli has been pastor of St. Joseph on Capitol Hill since 2003. Ordained a priest in 1993, he has served as priest secretary to Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick, vice chancellor, dean and a member of the Presbyteral Council. He has been an associate pastor at three parishes: St. Ann and the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Washington, DC and St. Andrew Apostle, Silver Spring. He holds both civil and canon law degrees from The Catholic University of America.

Msgr. Francis G. Kazista, pastor of St. John the Baptist, Silver Spring, celebrated his 40th anniversary of ordination this year. He taught at two seminaries after he was ordained for the Society of St. Sulpice in 1966 and he joined the Archdiocese of Washington in 1979. He served as an associate pastor at Mount Calvary, Forestville; St. John the Baptist, Silver Spring; and St. Hugh, Greenbelt; and as pastor of St. James, Mount Rainier before taking on his current assignment. He has also served four terms as a dean, been a member of the board for Catholic Charities and served three terms on the Presbyteral Council.

Msgr. Oliver McGready became pastor of St. Mary, Newport this past June after 11 years as pastor of the Shrine of St. Jude, Rockville. A native of Ireland, he started his ministry in Washington shortly after his 1962 ordination. He has served as an associate pastor at St. John the Evangelist, Clinton; St. Michael, Silver Spring; and St. Philip the Apostle, Camp Springs; and as pastor of Sacred Heart, La Plata; St. Martin of Tours, Gaithersburg; and Holy Family, Hillcrest Heights. Msgr. McGready also served as a dean in Montgomery County.

Msgr. Maurice V. O’Connell has been pastor of St. Michael in Ridge since 2000. Ordained in 1972, he has served as an associate pastor at St. Camillus, Silver Spring; Our Lady Queen of Peace, Washington, DC; and St. Catherine Laboure, Wheaton. He studied Spanish in Bogotá, Colombia from 1988-1989 and was pastor of St. Bernard of Clairvaux, Riverdale Park from 1990-2000. He has been active with the Catholic Historical Society, St. Mary’s Historical Society and Teams of Our Lady.

Msgr. Robert J. Panke is the director of priest vocations for the Archdiocese of Washington. Ordained 10 years ago, his first assignment was as associate pastor at St. Peter, Olney. In 2000, he became chaplain of the Newman Center at George Washington University, a position he held for two years until becoming vocations director. He has been an Archdiocesan Consultor, a member of the Presbyteral Council, Priest Retirement Board and Archdiocesan Vocations Team and a chaplain to the George Washington University Knights of Columbus.

Msgr. Charles E. Pope is pastor of St. Thomas More in Washington, DC, a position he has held since 2000. Ordained in 1989, he previously served as an associate pastor at Mt. Calvary, Forestville; Holy Comforter-St. Cyprian, Washington, DC; and St. Mary of the Mills, Laurel. He has been an Archdiocesan Consultor, dean and a member of the Presbyteral Council, Center City Consortium board and the Redemptoris Mater Seminary Pastoral Council. Msgr. Pope also has served as the spiritual director of the Legion of Mary and chaplain to the Washington Blue Army of Our Lady of Fatima and St. Vincent de Paul Society.

Msgr. J. Wilfrid Parent was named executive director for Catholic identity and mission at Mt. St. Mary’s University last year after serving as vice rector of Mt. St. Mary’s Seminary, one of the oldest and largest seminaries in the United States. From 1998-2002, he was director of priest vocations for the Archdiocese of Washington and, for many years, he represented the Archbishop of Washington on ethics boards of Georgetown, Holy Cross and Providence hospitals. Ordained in 1991, he also has served as an associate pastor at St. Peter, Waldorf and the Church of the Little Flower, Bethesda and as a member of the Presbyteral Council.

Msgr. Stephen Rossetti, president and chief executive officer of the St. Luke Institute in Silver Spring, MD since 1996, is a priest of the Diocese of Syracuse. Ordained in 1984, Msgr. Rossetti served as an associate pastor for 10 years before becoming the director of education for the House of Affirmation, a national center for clergy and laity. He received an MA and PhD in counseling psychology from Boston College and joined St. Luke’s in 1993 as executive vice-president and chief operating officer. Msgr. Rossetti has served as a consultant to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and other organizations, and is the author of several books.

Msgr. James D. Watkins is pastor of Immaculate Conception, Washington, DC, the director of the Office of Worship for the Archdiocese of Washington and the master of ceremonies for episcopal liturgies. He holds a doctorate in philosophy from the Angelicum in Rome and has lectured in the School of Philosophy of The Catholic University of America for 16 years. Ordained in 1989, Msgr. Watkins also has served as an associate pastor at St. Ann and the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle, both in Washington, DC. A chaplain in the Order of Malta, he has been a dean and a chaplain to the Washington Serra Club.

Susan Gibbs
Director of Communications
[email protected]