John F. Wachowicz To Be Ordained

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John Francis Wachowicz will be ordained to the priesthood on Saturday, June 24, at St. Agnes Cathedral in Rockville Centre along with four other deacons during a mass celebrated by John O. Barres, bishop of the Diocese of Rockville Centre.
Wachowicz was born on July 7, 1990, in New York City to Joanne and Edward Wachowicz. The second of three children, he was raised in Little Neck, Queens and his family moved to Manhasset in 2004 including sisters Mary and Anne. Wachowicz began his schooling at Our Lady of Grace Montessori and transferred to St. Mary’s Elementary School for second grade and excelled in academics, which helped him earn admission to Regis High School in New York City after graduating St. Mary’s in 2004. In 2008, Wachowicz continued to another Jesuit led educational institution. He earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from the Fordham University Rose Hill Campus in 2013. Wachowicz entered St. Joseph’s Seminary in Yonkers later that same year.
As a seminarian, his first-year assignment included St. John the Evangelist Church, Center Moriches (2014) and Our Holy Redeemer Church, Freeport (2016). In his second year as a seminarian, he was assigned to hospital ministry at Calvary Hospital in the Bronx. In 2015-16 he was assigned to St. Benedict’s in the Bronx where he was a seventh-grade catechist in their Religious Education Program. Most recently, he served as a deacon at St. Hugh of Lincoln in Huntington Station. When reflecting on his time at St. John the Evangelist, he fondly noted that “Center Moriches holds a special place in my heart. I had just gone through my first year in the seminary and pressure forms diamonds. It was a long year. I was debating my next steps.” He continued by saying, “It was a wonderful taste of parish life. The pastor, priests and staff were very good to me.” In addition to the pastoral duties within the church, he was also part of the jail ministry in Suffolk County. “I loved that. It was very much like a parish with people of all degrees of faith, and there’s not much separating me and you from them because ultimately many were inmates due to their circumstances,” said Deacon Wachowicz. He hopes to be able to return to that ministry down the road once he gets his feet on the ground and receives his first assignment as a priest.
Wachowicz gave consideration to the priesthood at four or five years of age when he would pretend to celebrate mass. His mother’s uncle, Fr. Arthur Butler, LFM, was a Franciscan priest. “He left a very heavy impression on me.” He noted that “While in the seminary my faith deepened, but it was always in the back of my head to become a priest.”
When asked what advice he could give to men considering the priesthood, Wachowicz said, “Don’t wait until you’re ready, and don’t wait until you’re worthy.” He said that with ease in his voice from a man about to be ordained. “I am at peace with my decision. It’s a matter of trust in my relationship with God,” explained Wachowicz.
He recalled his youth at St. Mary’s as a student, altar server, sacristan and parish office assistant. “The school provided an atmosphere that was conducive to a young boy thinking about becoming a priest. On the church level, I saw how parish life worked, and it appealed to me.” Deacon Wachowicz also mentioned Fr. Peter Dugandzic and Fr. Nick Zientarski were “more explicit in him having a vocation” while assigned to St. Mary’s. Then one day while working in the sacristy, Wachowicz asked then pastor, now the late Rev. Msgr. John J. McCann, “What did a priest do all day?” With a chuckle, Wachowicz who was 15 years old at the time, recalled this conversation as what was probably Msgr. McCann’s “golden moment” as he went into a 15-20-minute dissertation on how happy he was to be a priest, how beautiful it was and why he should become a priest. Wachowicz firmly believes that Msgr. McCann, Fr. Peter, Fr. Nick, Fr. Tony, and Fr. Charles all provided guidance that cultivated his vocation.
This journey will come full circle for Deacon Wachowicz as he returns to the Church of Saint Mary where he received his first Holy Communion and the Sacrament of Confirmation. He will celebrate his very first mass as Father John Francis Wachowicz on Sunday, June 25 at noon.
“This has been the game plan from day one,” he said. “Although I had many generous offers from pastors through my seminary assignments, it was very clear to me that I would have my first mass at St. Mary’s. I wanted it to be a parish mass, because of my closeness to the church and the parishioners. I am very grateful to everyone at St. Mary’s for their efforts to make this day memorable for my family and me.”
All are invited to attend the 12 p.m. mass and reception immediately following at St. Mary’s Elementary School.

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Elizabeth Johnson is editor of Manhasset Press and Port Washington News, special features including the Business Quarterly column, Manhasset Magazine, Pride In Port, Port Washington News, Port Gift Guide and other special sections. Growing up in nearby Garden City and attending New York University, she is well-versed in the locale and knowledgeable about the beat she covers. Her community involvement is extensive and includes the Manhasset SCA, Kiwanis International, Manhasset Chamber of Commerce, St. Mary’s Church, and various civic and local charitable organizations. Curious by nature, her travels, community service, love of the arts as well as local sports give her the inside view to unique content. During her time at Anton, she has received several awards from the New York Press Association and the Press Club of LI, including the coveted "Best Community newspaper" several years in a row.

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