Cathedral Prep Welcomes New Monsignori
by Rev. John P. Cush, ‘90, Faculty
On Monday, March 12, Cathedral Prep Seminary was overjoyed with the news that several priests of the Brooklyn Diocese affiliated with Cathedral, including our Rector-Principal, were named by His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI, chaplains of His Holiness with the title of “Reverend Monsignor.” Father Joseph Calise,’72, Rector and Principal of Cathedral since 1998 and faculty member since 1995, was named a new Monsignor. In addition, Father Sean Ogle, ‘68, former faculty member, Spiritual Director and Prefect of Students, was named a Monsignor. Since 2002, Monsignor Ogle was been celebrating Mass at Cathedral once a week. Father Gregory Wielunski, ‘69, another regular Mass celebrant at Cathedral since 2002, was also given the title of Monsignor.
The title Monsignor is a papal honor given to a priest for great service to the Church. Monsignor Calise and all the other priests named as Monsignors are surely deserving of this high honor. Literally, the title means “My Lord,” and shows that the priest is an honorary member of the papal household.
There are three types of Monsignors in the Church currently. The first type of Monsignor is the Chaplain to His Holiness. Monsignor Calise is of this branch. Prior to the reforms of Pope Paul VI in 1968, this type of Monsignor was known as a “Very Reverend Monsignor.” The attire of the Chaplain of His Holiness is a black cassock with purple trim and a purple sash. The Vatican has set an age and ordination time limit for a priest being named to this Papal honor. The priest must be at least 10 years ordained and over 35 years old.
The second level of Monsignor in the Church is an Honorary Prelate of His Holiness. Monsignor James Cooney, the Spiritual Director of Cathedral Prep, is of this branch. Prior to the reforms of Pope Paul VI, this type of Monsignor was known as a “Right Reverend Monsignor.” The cassock of this type of Monsignor is similar to that of the Chaplain of His Holiness, but with red trim and a purple sash. They may also wear an all purple cassock for liturgical events. Like the Chaplain to His Holiness, the Vatican has set an age and ordination time limit for this rank. An Honorary Prelate must be at least 15 years ordained and over 45 years old.
The highest level of Monsignor in the Church is an Apostolic Protonotary. This is a very high honor given to a priest after many years of service to the Church. If they are appointed and serve outside of Rome, they can wear the same cassocks as the Honorary Prelate, but can also wear a cape-like silk purple ferraiuolo over their black and red cassock. This rank of Monsignor can add the initials P.A. after his written title and name. This level of Monsignor must be over 55 years old and ordained at least 20 years.
In addition to Monsignor Calise and Monsignors Ogle and Wielunski, Pope Benedict XVI appointed several other Brooklyn Priests with the title of Monsignor. Appointed as an Apostolic Protonotary is Monsignor Otto Garcia. Raised to the level of Prelate of Honor are Monsignors Peter Kain, Joseph Nagle and Joseph Nugent. New Chaplains of His Holiness are Monsignors Alfred LoPinto, John Moloney, Robert Romano and Peter Zendzian. We congratulate these priests and wish them well in their ministries.
Monsignor Calise’s appointment gives honor to him as a priest, but also to all of us at Cathedral Prep- administration, priest, religious and lay faculty, staff, students and alumni. May he continue to bless us with his priesthood and encourage, along with his faculty more happy, healthy and holy leaders- priests and laity, of the future.