Thomas, Peter, Christian, Ravi, John Thomas
On April 28 and May 2, 2023, we welcomed two of our international priests to the Province of Saint Ann – USA. Blessed Sacrament (SSS) Father Joselito (Lito) Hitosis came from the Philippines after a vacation from his previous assignment in Hilo, Hawaii arriving in Holiday, Florida, to be the new parochial vicar (assistant priest and the updated term from Canon Law) for the parish of Saint Vincent de Paul. He will also collaborate with the Filipino Community in the Diocese of Saint Petersburg since they need a chaplain now. He joins Father William (Bill) Fickel SSS, the pastor, and Father Dominic Long SSS, the current parochial vicar. They will be a community of three again, a sacred Trinity of ministry.
from left to right: fathers Dominic, Joselito, Bill
As of July 1, 2023, Father Bill will retire as pastor and serve full-time in the formation and ministry needs of the Aggregation of the Blessed Sacrament (Associates), who are in several parishes in the dioceses of Saint Petersburg and Orlando. He will continue to live in the Holiday Community and serve as Vicar Provincial for the Province of Saint Ann. Father Dominic will become pastor on July 1 and be officially installed on September 24.
On May 2, Sri Lankan SSS Father Christian Christopher also took the long flight. He arrived in Houston, Texas, to become one of the chaplains in the hospital ministry in the extensive medical center of Houston, near our parish of Corpus Christi. Father Christian will also reside in the Houston community and assist with Masses in our parish. He replaces Father Ravi Earnest Sebastian (now part of the USA province, originally from India and assigned as parochial vicar of the parish of Saint Jean Baptiste) and Father Peter Van Tuong Nguyen (who, after his spiritual direction class in University Heights, Ohio, another suburb of Cleveland across from John Carroll University is returning to his native Vietnam). Father Christian is no stranger to hospital ministry, having served in Lenox Hill Hospital, New York City, several years ago. We are grateful to Fathers Peter and Ravi Earnest for their dedication and service in Houston for four years.
Father Mark del Rosario will soon come to San Antonio, Texas and our parish on the Riverwalk, Saint Joseph Downtown Church. He has been serving in the Diocese of Pueblo, Colorado as a pastor there for many years, a mission of the Philippine Province. Father Mark will now be collaborating with Saint Ann Province as pastor of this historic church as of July 1, 2023. He will replace Father Norman Pelletier, coming to the Provincialate in Highland Heights, Ohio (Cleveland) this summer to work in the Center for Eucharistic Evangelizing and with our Associates and their formation. While a USA citizen, Father Mark will remain a Philippine Province member and work with parochial vicar Father Joseph Thai Minh Tran of the American Province.
Internationality was a theme of our USA Chapter in August 2022. It is a long and arduous process to work with American homeland security. More SSS students and priests will be arriving soon, for their visas are in process. We will be pleased to share their stories at a later date.
In the meantime, we are so grateful to the Sri Lankan and Philippine Provinces (for now Vietnam and India are also working with us on the visa challenges) and these men for hearing the Eucharistic call to come to serve with us.
Stay tuned for more exciting news and collaboration as we grow in our international Eucharistic mission for the USA.
May 13, 2023
Feast of Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament
Father John Thomas Lane SSS,
Provincial of the Province of Saint Ann