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Springfield Bishop Timothy A. McDonnell, center, stands with the newly ordained — Fathers James Nolte, left, Yerick Mendez, Matthew Alcombright, Daniel Cymer, Peter Naranjo, Matthew Guidi — following the June 2 ceremony.

Springfield Diocese Ordains Six Into Priesthood

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Springfield Bishop Timothy A. McDonnell presents the Chalice to Father Yerick Mendez during the Ordination Rite.
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — Springfield Bishop Timothy A. McDonnell on Saturday ordained six men to the priesthood during a 2 1/2 hour ordination liturgy that began at 11 a.m. at St. Michael's Cathedral before a capacity congregation exceeding 1,000. This was the largest ordination class in 29 years in the Diocese of Springfield.

Included in the class was the Rev. Matthew Alcombright of North Adams, who will celebrate his first Mass at Blessed John Paul the Great in Adams on Sunday, June 3, and the Rev. Daniel Cymer, who has spent the last year at St. Mary's Parish in Cheshire, where he celebrated his first Mass on Saturday, June 2.

With a steady rain falling outside the Cathedral church, McDonnell joked at the start of the liturgy that the rain falling was "tears of joy from heaven."

During his homily, the bishop expressed gratitude "that this tiny diocese has six men who would commit to serve God and his people." He also noted, "The priesthood has gone through some rough patches in recent years."

"Some did not live up to their commitment," the bishop continued. Addressing the priests about to be ordained he added, "But in the midst of that suffering you're willing to come forward.

"You are called, as the Gospel speaks, to serve and not to be served," McDonnell said. "You are the ministers who will provide the heart and soul of our faith – the Eucharist – to our people."

Those ordained were the Rev.  the Rev. Daniel Antoni Cymer, a native of Bielawa, Poland; the Rev. Matthew Guidi, of Holyoke; the Rev. Yerick Mendez, of Westfield; the Rev. Peter Naranjo, of Merrimack, N.H.; and the Rev. James Nolte, of Simsbury, Conn.

They represent a diverse group fluent in a number of languages and coming to their ordination from various paths including as a farm hand, a horticulturist, a sports announcer, as well as classic musician. Three of those ordained came from outside Western Massachusetts, Cymer deciding to leave his native Poland to serve here.

At the conclusion of the ceremony, each of the newly ordained was handed their first assignments by the bishop.

Alcombright will be at Mary Mother of Hope in Springfield; Cymer at St. John in Agawam; Guidi at St. Rose de Lima in Chicopee; Mendez at Sacred Heart in Springfield; Naranjo at Sacred Heart in Pittsfield and Nolte at Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, also in Springfield.

Matthew Alcombright

Born Oct. 15, 1982, his parents are Richard Alcombright, mayor of North Adams, and Marianne Rosenburg. He has two sisters and a brother. Born and raised in North Adams he attended Drury High School and was active in the Church Outreach to Youth Program, known locally as COTY. At an early age, he developed an interest in music and earn his bachelor's degree in music and piano performance from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. In his last year of studies at UMass, he combined his musical interests with his strong faith commitment, becoming music director and organist at St. Mary's Parish in Longmeadow. It was there he discerned his vocation to the priesthood and went on to study at St. John's Seminary in Brighton. During this time, he also had parish assignments in Holyoke at both St. Jerome's and Immaculate Conception parishes, as well as serving in his last year at the Newman Center at UMass. His priestly formation has been supplemented with advanced training in American Sign Language and at Galaudet University in Washington D.C. He has also worked with the Deaf Ministry Program in the diocese.

Alcombright's home parish is Blessed John Paul the Great in Adams. He anticipates assisting with the Deaf Ministry while at Mary Mother of Hope in Springfield

Daniel Cymer

Born in Bielawa, Poland, on June 13, 1984, to Andrzej and Teresa Cymer, he has one younger sister. He graduated from Pope John Paul 2 High School, which was located near his home. Recognizing his call to the priesthood at an early age, he went on to earn his philosophy undergraduate degree from the Swidnica Diocesan Seminary. Like many of his generation in Polish seminaries, he was keenly aware of the shortage of priests in the United States as compared to his native country. He elected to complete his priestly studies at SS. Cyril and Methodius Seminary in Orchard Lake, Michigan, where he came to learn of the needs of the Diocese of Springfield. He was attracted in part because of its Polish population and the geography of the diocese was quite similar to his native country. He felt his priestly ministry could best be utilized here, so made the personal sacrifice to leave his family and all that was familiar to seek ordination in the Diocese of Springfield. He completed his studies with a 3.39 GPA and spent the last year in parish ministry at St. Mary's in Cheshire. He has been assigned to St. John Parish in Agawam.

Matthew Guidi

Born Nov. 3, 1981, he is the oldest of the five children of Skal and Marcia Guidi. A graduate of Holyoke Catholic High School in 2000, he went on to earn his undergraduate degree from the College of Our Lady of the Elms in Chicopee, where he majored in psychology and minored in religious studies and philosophy. During his college years and leading up to his entry into the seminary, he worked in a number of food service and retail businesses. He carefully discerned his vocation for a number of years before applying and being accepted to St. John's Seminary in Brighton.

His home parish is Our Lady of the Cross in Holyoke. He served his diaconate assignment at St. Rose De Lima Parish in Chicopee, where he will celebrate his first Mass on Sunday, June 3, and where he will also be first assigned.

Yerick Mendez

Born in Hartford, Conn., on Dec. 17, 1981, the oldest of the five children of Osvaldo and Yolanda Mendez, he was raised in Westfield and graduated from Westfield Vocation Technical School. He went on to earn an associate's degree from Stockbridge School of Agriculture at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Mendez thought his calling was to work with God's earth through horticulture, but he came to realize the seed of faith bore greater fruit and went on to earn his undergraduate degree in philosophy from Providence (R.I.) College before entering St. John's Seminary Brighton in 2008.

His home parish is St. Mary's Parish in Westfield, where he will celebrate his first Mass on Sunday, June 3. He served his diaconate assignment at St. Francis' Paris in Belchertown and has been assigned to Sacred Heart Parish in Springfield.

Peter Naranjo

Born in Huntington, N.Y., on March 27, 1960, one of five children of Peter and Patricia Naranjo, he was raised in Hudson, N.H., where he attended St. Kathryn's Parish. By his own admission, he was something of a rebellious youth. After graduating from Merrimack (N.H.) High School, he went on to earn a degree in aviation from the New England Aeronautical Institute in Nashua, N.H. He left the Catholic Church as a young adult and became a member of the Church of the Latter-day Saints (Mormons), assuming leadership roles as a "high priest." During this same time, he worked as a senior technician and software engineer, as well as a sports radio announcer and producer for minor league teams in New Hampshire. Just over 10 years ago his parents, who had also become inactive in the Catholic faith, returned and caused him to reconsider and eventually rejoin the church. After completing a year of studies in philosophy from Holy Apostles College Seminary in Cromwell, Conn., he entered the Blessed John XXIII Seminary in Boston.

He claims as his diocesan home parish St. Francis in Belchertown, where he will say his first Mass on Sunday, June 3. He served his diaconate assignment at St. Elizabeth's Parish in Ludlow and been assigned to Sacred Heart Parish in Pittsfield.  

James Nolte

Born in Boston on July 28, 1964, to Robert Nolte and Patricia Boiersma Kilburn, he has one sister and was raised in Connecticut. Neither of his parents was Catholic and he was raised without any religious affiliation. A graduate of Simsbury (Conn.) High School, he went on to earn his undergraduate degree from the University of Connecticut. His academic career was, however, just getting started. He went on to earn his juris doctor from Gonzaga University, a licentiate in philosophy from the Milltown Institute of Philosophy and Theology in Dublin, Ireland, and a master's in divinity from the Weston School of Theology before being accepted in 2008 into Blessed John XXIII Seminary in Boston, where he completed his priestly formation. He also taught law and philosophy at Seattle University, was a member of the Jesuit religious order for 10 years, and on two occasions was farm hand for the Abbey of Regina Laudis in Bethlehem, Conn.

He claims both the abbey and St. Cecilia's Parish in Wilbraham, where is sister is a parishioner, as his home parishes. He served his diaconate assignment at the Immaculate Conception in Holyoke. He will say his first Mass at St. Patrick's Church in South Hadley on Sunday, June 3, and will be assigned to Our Lady of the Sacred Heart in Springfield.

Tags: religion,   Springfield Diocese,   

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