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Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany
May 23, 2015
For immediate release

Close to 300 attend ordination of four new deacons of Diocese of Albany

Close to 300 clergy, religious, family, friends and well-wishers bore witness today to the ordination of four men as the newest deacons of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany.

Three of four men ordained as deacons are preparing to eventually become priests of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany. For the three of the four, now in their fifties, this religious life represents a second career.

This grand ceremony, celebrated by Bishop Edward B. Scharfenberger, was held at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Albany. In his homily, Bishop Scharfenberger said those committed in this way to Jesus Christ are “putting ourselves in the Lord’s hands as servants.”

 The one man ordained as a permanent deacon, Frank Garceau of Latham, has stated that love is the overriding factor in what has brought him to this greater embrace of the Church. In his words, “My greatest inspiration and source of spiritual, as well as physical strength, is my wife of 29 years, Kathy, who has taught me how to love God fully by the example of her words and deeds towards others.”

The youngest new deacon in line for the priesthood, Brian Kelly, 33 of Latham, beginning in his teen years, took a very active and later leadership role in parish life. “I worked at Holy Trinity Parish in Cohoes beginning in high school doing grounds and maintenance work in 1997.” Since then he became a parish business manager and even cemetery administrator.
The two men who have decided later in life to become priests include: Patrick Rice, of Loudonville who has been surrounded by deeply religious family members for most of his life. After 27 years in the commercial tire business he left to prepare for the priesthood. Steve Matthews, now of Saratoga Springs, spent two years in seminary as a young man, but ended up working in the banking and credit card worlds before deciding to re-enter religious life.

The men to be ordained as transitional deacons, Brian Kelly, Patrick Rice and Steve Matthews, will spend about a year of service in that role before they are expected to become priests of the  Albany Diocese.

[see below for more detailed bios on all four men]

As a deacon, their ministry, first and foremost, will be one of service. They assist at the Eucharist (Mass), and may officiate at weddings, baptisms and funerals. They will be able to proclaim the Gospel and may be given faculties (permission) to preach. They also will bless objects and persons within liturgical celebrations.

This lifelong commitment and responsibility comes after at least three years of intensive training and formal dedication to the church. Pope Paul VI, in outlining the deacon's role, described it as fulfilling the duties of social assistance, administration and sustaining the good works of a parish. In practice, deacons perform a variety of ministries from visiting the sick, serving as prison chaplains to administering a parish.

Permanent Deacon:
Frank Garceau of Latham - He was born in 1961 in the city of Cohoes, N.Y. and lived there with his parents Joseph and Lorraine. His mother is 80 years old and his father passed away in 2005 at 73. He has a sister, Sharon Brunick, and her husband Bill of Troy. Brother, Joe and his wife Kelly live in Cohoes. His home parish is Immaculate Heart of Mary in Watervliet

He is a graduate of Hudson Valley Community College and graduated with a degree in Information Technology. Mr. Barceau worked for  UPS until 2008 after 22 years due to health reasons.

Along with his wife Kathy as his greatest inspiration, he says the other very strong influence in his decision to enter religious life has been Fr. Ed Deimeke, “who introduced me to the joy that is found in service of others, and his guiding inspirational influence and support has been pivotal in my diaconate formation.”

Outside of his religious devotion and time with his family, “my favorite thing to do, when I can, is to sit behind my drum set and play as long as I can.

Mr. Garceau said, “I believe that my disabilities have prepared me to be a servant of God and to His people, one who has a unique perspective on those suffering from illness. While my disabilities are in fact mine, I understand the frustration that can arise from always being looked at as different, or the fear that comes from learning to restructure your life. I feel I can relate to those who suffer from long or short term illness by offering myself as one who can empathize with their plight.”

Transitional Deacons:
Brian Kelly of Latham – He was born Albany and grew up in Latham. His parents, Thomas J. Kelly Jr. and Dr. Kathleen Kelly are Latham residents. He has a brother Sean Kelly, married, to Krista Kelly. They live in Bryn Mawr, PA. Mr. Kelly grew up going to Faith Formation through confirmation at Our Lady of the Assumption Latham, NY. Today his home parish is Holy Trinity in Cohoes.  He is a graduate of LaSalle Institute, Hudson Valley Community College and Siena College.

While in high school he worked at Holy Trinity in Cohoes for 14 years beginning with grounds/maintenance work in 1997. In 2006 he became the parish’s business manager until leaving for seminary in 2011. He also served as bookkeeper at St. Rita/Sacred Heart and St. Bernard’s in Cohoes.

His discernment was strongly influenced by the fact that his grandfather and father both went to seminary to study for the priesthood. “Obviously having decided it wasn’t their vocation, they brought their faith into our families, helping us to grow up with and lead faith oriented lives,” Mr. Kelly said. In addition, his uncle Richard, my first godfather was a priest. After his death, Mr. Kelly’s second godfather, Fr. Arthur Becker, basically adopted me as another godson. For 13 years I worked for him at Holy Trinity parish in Cohoes. “I got to see firsthand all that a priest does for the community and when he was dying, the result of his influence, love and concern for the faithful was returned as they went above and beyond to help him.” Many other priests he came to know, including those through his family connections, have helped him in his life and consideration of the priesthood.

Patrick Rice of Loudonville – He was born in Teaneck NJ, lived in River Edge NJ for most of his childhood. He is one of eight children born to Mary and Joseph Rice. His mom is now 91 lives by herself in River Edge, NJ.. His father died in 1991 at 75 years of age. A brother Greg and wife Carol live in Philadelphia. Brother Michael lives with his wife Kimberly in River Edge, NJ, and a third brother John is married to Laquisa. They live in San Diego. Sister Kam is a Teaneck, NJ resident. His sister Kathryn lives in Santa Fe, NM. Sister Maureen and her husband Greg live in River Edge, NJ, and sister Mary Jane became a member of Opus Dei at 18 years old and took vows, never married and has dedicated her life to Christ.

Today Mr. Rice’s home parish is St. Pious the 10th in Loudonville. He is a graduate of Manhattan College and has worked in the commercial tire business for nearly all of his adult life.

He credits his parents as being extremely influential regarding following a faith-filled life. He alos notes that his older brother Greg and wife Carol are daily communicants and have always had a strong commitment to their faith and raised their children with those same principles their parents instilled in the family. His father was a permanent deacon in the parish we grew up in in NJ, where his brother Mike, and sister Maureen and Mom are all still members. As for his own decision to study for the priesthood, he said, “I just felt there was something missing in my life and realized when I entered the church doors I felt a sense of peace come over me and felt that was what was missing and knew then that I was being called.”

He recalls working with a former manager at his last job, who told him he was too patient sometimes customers. “As soon as he said I was too patient I realized that was exactly what I needed to hear. Patience was going to be a bonus where I felt I was being called!”

Steve Matthews of Saratoga Springs – He was born in Queens, and raised in Mineola, one of seven children of Harry and Rita Matthews, both deceased. He went to Corpus Christi Elementary School, Mineola High School and St. John's University in Queens, graduating with a BA in Psychology and a minor in Theology. Mr. Mathews then went to the Seminary of the Immaculate Conception in Huntington, NY for 2 years and later returned as a layperson to complete his MA in Theology in 1989. From there his career in banking took him to California where he lived and worked for 22 years. “All throughout my life both laypeople and priests have been encouraging me to pursue a vocation to the priesthood.  While I did so when I was in my 20's, the time wasn't right and I wasn't ready,” Mr. Matthews said. “However, God is very persistent and has been gently pursuing me for many years. During my time in California I was able to assist my mother (who had been widowed when I was a teenager) on a financial basis.  Only after my mother passed away in 2011 was I at the stage in life where I was finally free to answer God's call, which had been planted many years earlier by the Church.” He ended up coming to the Albany Diocese to pursue this calling for several reasons, including the fact that this diocese recognizes the value in second career priests. In addition, he said he has very good friends, one from high school, who live in the diocese along with a brother, sister-in-law and nephew. So he moved to the Albany Diocese in 2012 where his home parish is St. Peter's in Saratoga Springs.