“Receive the Gospel of Christ whose herald you have become,” Bishop Frank J. Caggiano said at St. Augustine Cathedral in downtown Bridgeport when he ordained three men as transitional deacons on Saturday.
Harry Alfredo Prieto, 29, and José Abelardo Vásquez, 32, both natives of Bogotá, Colombia, and Timothy A. Iannacone, 26, a native of Norwalk, Ct, took their final steps on their way to the priesthood in front of family, friends and priests throughout the diocese.
All three men are currently completing seminary studies and are working toward final ordination to the priesthood next year.
Harry Alfredo Prieto
Harry Alfredo Prieto, 29, was born in Bogotá, in a family of three boys and one girl. His parents, Alfredo and Juz Jaramillo Prieto are parishioners at Santiago Apóstol Parish in Bogotá.
He attended Annunciation Elementary school and graduated from Neruda High School in Bogotá in 2003. Always interested in intellectual challenges, he earned first place in a Regional Problem Solving Competition during high school.
Discerning a religious vocation, he went to the Seminario Mayor de Bogotá, then earned a bachelor of science degree from the Universidad Javeriana in that city. Coming to this country, he completed a Bachelor of Arts degree from Fordham University, where he was elected a member of Phi Sigma Tau National Honor Society in philosophy in 2013.
After graduating Fordham in 2014 he entered the Theological College of Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., where he expects to complete his S.T.B. degree in 2017.
Deacon Prieto will assist at his first Mass in his home parish of St. Joseph in Danbury on July 3 at 12 noon. Father Samuel Scott, St. Joseph’s pastor, will celebrate the Mass and deliver the homily.
“Being in love with God is the deciding factor, the greatest source of inspiration to serve the Christian community,” he says. “From this comes the spiritual resolve to become more and more like Jesus Christ, who healed, supported, comforted and challenged, and laid down his own life so that we might have life.”
José Abelardo Vásquez
José Abelardo Vásquez, 32, was also born in Bogotá. His parents, Bernardo and Elsy Campos Vásquez are members of Santiago Apostol Parish. He has one brother, Rodrigo, also living in Bogotá.
An energetic young man, active in soccer and accomplished on the guitar, he attended Antonio Noriño Elementary School and Politechnico Mayor high school, graduating in 2005. He entered the Seminario Mayor de Bogotá, and earned a bachelor’s degree from the Universidad Javeriana in 2010.
Responding to a call for priests in this diocese, he entered St. John Fisher Seminary and studied at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield. His home parish is the Church of the Asumption in Westport. He will complete his theological studies at St. Joseph’s Seminary in Yonkers, N.Y., in 2017.
“One reason I have discerned the priesthood is because I want to answer the call of the Lord Jesus Christ,” he says. “The world needs more holy priests dedicated to serving God and his people. I want to administer the sacraments of the Church, especially the Eucharist and Reconciliation, in order to bring people closer to Jesus.”
Timothy A. Iannacone
Timothy A. Iannacone, who will be 26 when he is ordained, was born in Stamford and currently lives in Norwalk, where his home parish is St. Mary’s. His parents, Patricia and Timothy Iannacone, and brother Christopher are members of St. Thomas the Apostle in Norwalk. He attended Wolfpit Elementary School and Norwalk High School.
Always active in jazz bands and symphony orchestras throughout the years, he graduated from Merrimack College in North Andover, Mass., in 2012 with a B.A. degree in religious and theological studies and a second degree in philosophy. He received the Augustinian Award from Merrimack in 2009, and the Lamond Award for witness to the Catholic faith in 2012. He was inducted into Theta Alpha Kappa, the National Honor society for Religious and Theological Studies in 2012.
He is currently fulfilling his seminary studies at the Theological College of the Catholic University of America, hoping to complete his degree in 2017.
“My spiritual development during my time of formation has been a gradual process,” he says. “I now approach my faith with a greater understanding of the Church, realizing that belief cannot be based on some sophomoric notions I clung to earlier in life. Rather than being disillusioned by the temporal faults of the Church, I have learned to focus on the fullness of the Church’s message and her role as the merciful redeemer of mankind. Furthermore, my spiritual development has given me a greater ease in knowing that I have no obligation to control every aspect of my spiritual life, instead leaving myself open to God’s will.”