Fairfield University hosts priestly ordination of Fairfield Prep graduate Joseph Palmisano, S.J.


Image: ordination of Joseph Redfield PalmisanoFairfield Prep graduate Joseph Redfield Palmisano, S.J., of Monroe, was ordained to the priesthood on June 14 at the Chapel of St. Ignatius Loyola on the Fairfield University campus by the Most Reverend William E. Lori, Bishop of Bridgeport. It was the first rite of ordination to take place in the Chapel.

About 400 people attended the ordination, including family, friends, Fairfield Prep teachers and administrators, priests from the Fairfield Jesuit Community and Diocese of Bridgeport and others who have encouraged Rev. Palmisano on his journey toward becoming a priest. He took his vows surrounded by more than 100 priests, including University President Rev. Jeffrey P. von Arx, S. J., as well as former Fairfield professor, Rev. Thomas Regan, S.J., the Provincial Superior of the New England Province of the Society of Jesus, and Rev. John J. Higgins, S.J., his executive assistant and former Rector of the Fairfield Jesuit Community.

The most solemn moment of the joyous celebration came when Bishop Lori laid his hands on Fr. Palmisano's head and prayed, invoking the Holy Spirit upon him. All the priests present then did the same. It signified that they were welcoming him to the brotherhood of priests and that they all belonged to the priesthood of Jesus Christ. His deacon's stole was removed and he was presented with a priestly stole.

Fr. Palmisano, 33, graduated from Fairfield Prep in 1993, and he recently returned there to deliver the commencement address to the Class of 2008. He told graduates of his hope that they become "agents for positive change" and they too find passion in their lives, urging them to "fall in love and stay in love with this wonderful world." "I am confident, very confident, my brothers, that while you might have some anxiety about the future - that you will become even more sensitive to the beauty and fragility of our world through your tending to the brokenness in the lives of others through healing and raising them up."

Fr. Palmisano entered the Society of Jesus on August 23, 1998, and pronounced vows on August 12, 2000. After Fairfield Prep, his Jesuit education continued at Boston College, where he earned a B.A. in theology in 1997. At Fordham University, he did First Studies, and earned a M.A. in Philosophical Resources. He then went on to earn a M. Phil. in ecumenical theology at Trinity College in Dublin in 2003. He later taught religion and did campus ministry at Campion College in Kingston, Jamaica, while serving pastorally at St. Anne's Parish and Annotto Bay.

In 2007, he graduated with an S.T.L. degree in systematics/missiology from The Milltown Institute of Theology and Philosophy in Dublin, Ireland. In September, he returned to Trinity College to pursue a doctorate in theology, with a concentration in Jewish-Catholic dialogue. He is also taking part in a two-year program in spiritual direction training sponsored by the Manresa Jesuit Retreat House in Dublin.

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Media Contact: Meg McCaffrey, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2726, mmccaffrey@fairfield.edu

Posted on June 17, 2008

Vol. 40, No. 288