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Diocese Of Tagbilaran Priest Assignments Rockville


From left:  Rev. Mr. Liam McDonald, Rev. Mr. John Wachowicz, Rev. Mr. Michael Bissex, Rev. Mr. Christopher Sullivan and Rev. Mr. Michael Plona.

ROCKVILLE CENTRE, NEW YORK – June 21, 2017 – The Most Reverend John O. Barres, Bishop of the Diocese of Rockville Centre, will ordain five men to the priesthood for the Diocese of Rockville Centre. The Mass of Ordination will take place at the Cathedral of Saint Agnes, Rockville Centre on Saturday, 
June 24, 2017 at 11:00 a.m. This Mass will be broadcast live on Telecare (rebroadcast at 9 p.m. EDT), the diocesan television station (Cablevision channel 29/137, Verizon FiOS TV channel 296, Time Warner Cable channel 471).

Mass of Ordination
Saturday, June 24, 2017
11:00 a.m.
Saint Agnes Cathedral
29 Quealy Place
Rockville Centre, New York 11571

Those being ordained are: Rev. Mr. Michael Bissex, Rev. Mr. Liam McDonald, Rev. Mr. Michael Plona, 
Rev. Mr. Christopher Sullivan and Rev. Mr. John Wachowicz.

Each newly ordained priest will be assigned to a parish in the Diocese of Rockville Centre where he will serve as an associate pastor.

Deacon Michael Bissex, 27
Home parish: Parish of Saint Matthew, Dix Hills 
First Mass: Sunday, June 25 at 12:30 p.m. at Parish of Saint Matthew, Dix Hills

Deacon Michael Bissex, 27, was raised in South Huntington, New York, the sixth child in a family of seven, and a parishioner of the Parish of Saint Matthew in Dix Hills. During his elementary school and high school years, he studied classical violin and piano extensively, joining the Metropolitan Youth Orchestra and the Long Island Youth Orchestra, traveling with the latter each summer on concert tours. Discerning a call to enter the seminary, Michael entered Cathedral Seminary House of Formation in Douglaston, Queens, majoring in philosophy as a freshman and sophomore. He then was accepted into the Basselin Scholarship Program at the Catholic University of America, still as a seminarian for the Diocese of Rockville Centre. After completing a Licentiate in Philosophy in 2013, Michael was sent to the Pontifical North American College to begin his theological studies. Michael was ordained a deacon at Saint Peter's Basilica in Rome on September 29th, 2016.

Father Bissex will celebrate his first Mass on Sunday, June 25 at 12:30 p.m. at the Parish of Saint Matthew, Dix Hills.

Deacon Liam McDonald, 34
Home parish: Parish of Saint Rose of Lima, Massapequa 
First Mass: – Sunday, June 25 at Noon at Parish of Saint Elizabeth of Hungary, Melville

Liam McDonald was baptized at the Parish of the Cure of Ars in Merrick, but raised in several different states and parish families during his childhood and teenage years. His family spent time in Rhode Island, Southern New Jersey and Northern Virginia before relocating back to Long Island. While completing his undergraduate studies in architecture, he enjoyed playing soccer and Division III rugby. After completing his degree in architecture, he worked for nearly four years as an estimator for a mechanical contracting firm on Long Island. These were formative years for Liam as he was attentive to growing in prayer, partaking in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass before work (Parish of the Holy Spirit, New Hyde Park). During this time he was able to devote himself to charitable outreach on a regular basis and benefited from the many friendships and role models he encountered while volunteering for the Life Center of Long Island and the Sisters of Life. Liam believes the source of his vocation is the Eucharist, the Blessed Mother and the witness of Pope John Paul II. He also attributes his vocation to his family. He is grateful for his parents for forming and raising him in the Faith and his two sisters for their constant love and encouragement. Liam completed his formation at Saint Joseph's Seminary, Dunwoodie.

Father McDonald will celebrate his first Mass on Sunday, June 25 at Noon at the Parish of Saint Elizabeth of Hungary, Melville, New York.

Deacon Michael Plona, 27
Home parish: Parish of Saint William the Abbot, Seaford
First Mass: Sunday, June 25 at 3:00 p.m. at Parish of Our Lady of Loretto, Hempstead

Deacon Mike Plona is a native Long Islander from the parish of Saint William the Abbot in Seaford. He attended the parish grade school and Kellenberg Memorial High School. At Kellenberg, Mike became very involved in the school and first felt a call to serve the Church there. Mike later attended Saint John's University and then Molloy College from where he graduated with a Bachelor's Degree in history and political science in 2011. During his college years, Mike worked in maintenance and carpentry at Kellenberg, as a vendor at Nikon Theater at Jones Beach, and a record store. After spending a few months discerning a vocation with the Marianist community at Kellenberg, Mike started his seminary formation at Douglaston in January 2012 studying for the Diocese of Rockville Centre. Mike spent the two summers between classes at Douglaston working at Boy's Town in Nebraska with highly at risk youth. Mike completed his formation at Saint Joseph's Seminary, Dunwoodie.

Father Plona will celebrate his first Mass on Sunday, June 25 at 3:00 p.m. at the Parish of Our Lady of Loretto, Hempstead.

Deacon Christopher Sullivan, 26
Home parish: Parish of Saint Patrick, Bay Shore
First Mass: – Parish of Saint Patrick, Bay Shore at 3 p.m.

Christopher Sullivan grew up in the Parish of Saint Patrick, Bay Shore. Christopher is a product of Catholic schooling starting in Saint Patrick's elementary, followed by Chaminade High School, finishing at Loyola University Maryland, where he would earn bachelor's degrees in theology and philosophy. Christopher enjoys staying active by participating in sports. While at Chaminade, he was a member of the cross country and track team and while at Loyola he was a member and captain of the cycling team. Christopher is blessed to have come from a family who made mass a priority every Sunday. Later, while in college, Christopher would begin attending mass daily. Remaining close to the sacraments and to the Blessed Mother led Christopher to hear the Lord's voice and His calling to the priesthood. Christopher completed his formation at Saint Joseph's Seminary and has spent the last two summers at the Parish of Saint Christopher in Baldwin.

Father Sullivan will celebrate his first Mass on Sunday, June 25 at the Parish of Saint Patrick, Bay Shore at
3 p.m.

Deacon John Wachowicz, 26 
Home parish: Parish of Saint Mary, Manhasset
First Mass: Parish of Saint Mary, Manhasset at Noon

John Wachowicz is a parishioner of the parish of Saint Mary in Manhasset. John was born in Manhattan, raised in Little Neck, and moved to Manhasset at 14. He is a graduate of Saint Mary's Elementary School in Manhasset and Regis High School in Manhattan. After graduating from Fordham University with a B.A. in philosophy, he entered Saint Joseph's Seminary. The past two summers, John served at the parish of Saint John the Evangelist in Center Moriches. His childhood desire to be a priest was strengthened in high school and college by the Christian witness of his family and parish priests, the spirituality of Saint Ignatius Loyola, and his discovery of the Church's teachings in various 20th century encyclicals. He enjoys listening to and playing music, and has played with rock, Irish folk, and bluegrass groups. He also enjoys 19th-Century Romanticism in the arts, Doctor Who, and the New York Mets.

Father Wachowicz will celebrate his first Mass on Sunday, June 25 at the Parish of Saint Mary, Manhasset at Noon.

Editor’s Note: 
Television cameras will be permitted in the Cathedral. Reporters and still photographers will also be permitted inside the Cathedral but are asked to refrain from the center aisle.

CONTACT:
Sean P. Dolan
Director of Communications
(p) 516-678-5800, ext. 625
(c) 516-510-0473
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Ordained 1966 for the Ballarat diocese in the state of Victoria, Australia. Assigned 1973 to St. Alipius parish in East Ballarat, where his colleague and housemate for one year (1973-74) was Fr. Gerald Ridsdale, a serial pedophile who eventually would plead guilty to abusing more than 50 children. Both Pell and Ridsdale were assistant priests at the church. In addition, Pell served as the diocesan vicar of education (1973-84), and Ridsdale was chaplain at nearby St. Alipius Boys’ School.

Fr Denis Denehy, who succeeded Ridsdale in Ballarat, later told investigators he believed every boy at St. Alipius Boys’ School had been molested by Ridsdale. Several of the boys were assaulted by more than one priest. An abuse survivor testified that of the 33 boys in his Ballarat school's fourth grade class in 1974, 12 have committed suicide.

In his [month year] testimony to the Royal Commission, Pell denied knowing about the Ballarat priest sex ring during his ten years at St. Alipius (1973-83). But two survivors abused by Edmund Rice Christian Brother Edward Dowlan at St. Patrick’s College, a Catholic boys’ high school in Ballarat, testified that they had sought Pell’s help and were rebuffed. A survivor known as BWF says he told Pell in 1973 that Dowlan was beating and molesting him and his younger brother. Another survivor, Tim Green, testified that he told Pell about Dowlan in 1974. According to Green, Pell responded, "Don't be ridiculous." Pell denied that either conversation had taken place. But in his February 29, 2016 testimony to the Royal Commission, he admitted for the first time that he had heard in 1974 complaints of “harsh discipline and other infractions possibly of a sexual nature” committed by Dowlan at St Patrick’s. He admitted in testimony March 2, 2016 that a school boy told him in the mid-1970s that Dowlan was "misbehaving with boys" and that he did nothing with the complaint.

From 1977 to 1984, Pell served on the tiny diocese’s College of Consultors, a committee of priests that advised the bishop, Ronald Mulkearns, in running the diocese. The consultors approved five transfers of Ridsdale between 1977 and 1982: Pell participated in at least four of those meetings. All of the transfers were responses to Ridsdale’s assaults of children. During the RC’s [month year] hearing in [city], minutes were released of a 1982 consultors’ meeting, attended by Pell, when it was decided to quietly move Ridsdale out of a parish in Mortlake (see minutes of meeting). Ridsdale had abused every boy at the parish between the ages of 10 and 16, according to a witness at a May 2015 commission hearing.

Pell was promoted to auxiliary bishop of Melbourne in 1987. In 1993, after Ridsdale was charged criminally with child sexual abuse. Pell accompanied Ridsdale to court as a show of support despite knowing his guilt. Ridsdale later pled guilty to indecent assault, buggery, of at least 53 children from 1961 to 1982. Ridsdale's nephew, David Ridsdale, told the commission in May 2015 that he reported to Pell in 1993 that Rev. Ridsdale sexually abused him for years, beginning when he was 11 years-old. David Ridsdale said Pell offered him a bribe to keep quiet. As auxiliary bishop in Melbourne, Pell supervised three priests who were abusing children: Peter Searson, Kevin O'Donnell, and Ronald Pickering. There were many complaints about bizarre and abusive behavior by Searson between 1977-1997, yet he was allowed to remain in ministry. Pell told the Royal Commission in March 2016 he did not take action in the case of Searson because "his colleagues and the archbishop, 'would have been fearful that I would (take decisive action) and concerned that I would have asked all sorts of inconvenient questions.' " Pell begged ignorance of pedophilic activity by clergy while he was a priest in Ballarat and as an auxiliary bishop in Melbourne.

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