Scattered across the Diocese of San Jose, several priests are celebrating anniversaries of their ordination to the priesthood.
Bishop Emeritus Pierre DuMaine marks 60 years as a priest this year. Meanwhile Father Edward Samy is celebrating 50 years. Father John Hurley, CSP, marks 40 years as does Father Steven Brown. And Father Andres Ligot marks 25 years as a priest.
Here’s some insight into each of them, written by them.
Father Edward Samy
The first thought that comes to my mind when I think of the 50 years of priesthood is a sense of gratitude to God’s providence that has led me through these years. There were events in my life that were frightening and assignments that were threatening. Looking back I realize not only did God lead me through those but let me learn from them and come out stronger in the end.
In the Pontifical Atenaeum, Pune, the seminary I went to, there was another tradition. Every year as the day of Ordination approached we read about the Ordination ceremony during dinner time. One quotation from the Ordination ceremony had a real impression on me and that has been my guiding principle throughout my priestly life: “Understand what you do and imitate what you celebrate.”
One thing I enjoyed most in my life was the rich experience of getting to know and ministering to parishioners and people from variety of social, economic and cultural backgrounds and realizing that in giving we receive too. And of course nothing could exceed the power of the Eucharist and the Word of God . These and the faith and prayers of family and people gave me the strength I needed in my life as a priest. For all these all I could do is to be grateful to God and to God’s people and sing with the Psalmist “What shall I return to the Lord for all His goodness to me. I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the Lord.” (Ps. 116: 12-13).
Father Steven Brown
Forty years of blessings and never-dreamed-of experiences of God’s people and places, is what my life has been as a priest.
My never dull, always stretching, forever rewarding ministry among God’s people began with the blessing of being part of a newly forming community of Saint Julie, as a deacon 1976-77; the greatest blessing of all my years of studies, was my final one in Rome after my Ordination, studying Spirituality in Italian 1977-78; and then being welcomed and learning from Saint John Vianney community for six years 1978-84 how to be a priest.
That was followed by five years of blessings 1984-89 honing those skills and beginning Spanish under the guidance of Saint Catherine’s Community in Morgan Hill, from which I petitioned and received permission from Bishop Pierre DuMaine to work with Maryknoll Missionaries. With my Spanish skills Maryknoll assigned me to seven years of blessings living and ministering in Swahili, in Tanzania, East Africa, in the Serengeti (home of the largest concentration of wild game animals in the world. (There were 2.5 million wildebeest in our parish territory).
I was blessed and challenged to grow through so many experiences of extreme poverty, faith, and generosity; sweet blessing was the warm welcoming community of Sacred Heart for six months January-June ’97 transition upon my return from Tanzania, and while beginning lessons in Spanish again in preparation for an assignment to another seven years of blessings (1997-2004) walking with and being encouraged by the forgotten, faithful Spanish speaking folks of Star Of The Sea community in Aviso on the periphery of Silicon Valley.
Then 2004-2014 were ten years of multi-cultural blessing in Vietnamese, Filipino, Spanish, and English, from the 7,000 plus families of Santa Maria Goretti Community; and now the surprising blessing of coming full circle from my first assignment in 1978 to my final one in 2014 at Saint John Vianney Community, where I am still being blessed by those who taught me how be a priest to begin with, such a treat to return and share the blessings of my life of experiences as we continue to build together God’s Kingdom among us.
Every place I have served has been filled with wonderful people as well as great challenges. The Holy Spirit has always come through (when I have allowed it) with new life, and wisdom. I’ve always been blessed and given life by steadfast and loving parishioners, many who have become life-long friends, and all of whom have blessed me with their prayers and presence in my life.
As Mama Maria says: “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, my Spirit rejoices in God my Savior” for these forty years of priestly ministry.
Father Andres Ligot
The Very Rev. Andres “Andy” Cantoria Ligot was born on November 30, 1965 in Laoag City, the Philippines. The fifth child of his parents Ismael (+) and Eulalia (+) His vocation to the Priesthood was cultivated early in his life mainly upon the influence of his uncle, Bishop Victorino C. Ligot, the brother of his late father.
Father Andy started teaching Philosophy and Sociology at the Manila Central University after graduation from College. When he finished his Master of Arts in Philosophy from the University of Santo Tomas in Manila, he flew to Spain to start his seminary formation at the Colegio Eclesiastico Internacional Bidasoa, an International Seminary in Pamplona, Navarra (Spain) entrusted to Priests of the Prelature of the Holy Cross and Opus Dei.
He obtained a full university scholarship from the Fundación Banco de Vasconia de España. He finished his Bachelor of Sacred Theology and Masters in Theology (Magna Cum Laude) at the University of Navarra, Spain in June of 1992. He was ordained to the Priesthood for the Diocese of Laoag, the Philippines by his Holiness Pope John Paul II on June 14, 1992 at Saint Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City.
After ordination he was sent to study Missiology at the Catholic School of Evangelization for Asia and Oceania in Singapore and later served as the National Director for New Evangelization 2000 Philippines and traveled all over South East Asia training Lay Leaders for the New Evangelization.
In 1995, Father Andy went to Spain to study Canon Law. He finished his Licentiate in Canon Law in 1997 (Magna Cum Laude) and his JCD (Doctorate in Canon Law) (Summa Cum Laude) in June of 1999. He came to the United States in 1999 and was hired as Defender of the Bond and later as Judge of the Tribunal by Bishop Patrick McGrath. In 2003, he was incardinated to the Diocese of San Jose. He served as Parochial Vicar of Saint John Vianney Parish in San Jose (2003-2005) and was later appointed as Pastor of Saint Lawrence the Martyr Parish from 2005-2009.
He was Vicar for Filipino Ministry in January of 2007 to January of 2017. He was appointed Judicial Vicar in July of 2008 and Spiritual Adviser to the Filipino Cursillo Movement and continues to serve the Diocese in that capacity. He is also at present a Member of the Priests’ Council and the Board of Consultors.
On June 17, Father Andy celebrated his 25th Anniversary of Ordination to the Priesthood at the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Joseph with a Mass of Thanksgiving. Aside from the gift of Ministerial Priesthood, Father Andy is very thankful for the gift of a new lease on life after undergoing a very serious health challenge quite recently. He is very appreciative of the prayers of so many people that made possible this miracle of healing.
Father John Hurley, CSP
Since my ordination in 1977 by Cardinal Terence Cooke in New York, the Spirit has taken me all over the country and beyond. I experience the richness of diversity among God’s people and that is the single largest blessing in my ministry. Evangelization is an essential part of my ministry going back to 1979 founding a Paulist Center for Evangelization in Portland, Ore. Returning to San Francisco in 2014 little did I know I would now be working with my long-time friend, Bishop McGrath, as Vicar for Evangelization. I am energized by our diocesan community and excited about the possibilities that the Holy Spirit has in store for us.
Editor’s Note: At the time we went to press we had not received information from Father William Pagnam, Father Joe Van Tinh, Monsignor J. Patrick Browne, Father Larry Hendel and Monsignor Ludwig Andre. Please stay tuned for a future issue of The Valley Catholic for their anniversary reflections.