On June 3, the Rev. Patric F. D’Arcy’s first Sunday officiating at his new parish as a newly ordained Roman Catholic priest in the Bronx, he offered Mass in crystal-clear Spanish in a packed sanctuary. Later, at a lunch celebration, his new parishioners welcomed him with trays of rice, beans and roasted chicken, and a white cake adorned with golden icing.
It was a festive event ”” a thanksgiving for the blessing of a new priest ”” that would normally take place in early June in at least several of the 370 parishes in the Archdiocese of New York. But this year the New York Archdiocese has ordained only one new priest, Father D’Arcy. It is the first year that has happened since the archdiocese opened its seminary more than 110 years ago.
Being the archdiocese’s sole member of the Class of 2012 is a slightly uncomfortable distinction for Father D’Arcy, 33, a soft-spoken man who prefers to stay out of the spotlight. He is not a native New Yorker, nor even an American citizen. Father D’Arcy comes from a small suburb of Toronto, about 80 miles northwest of Niagara Falls, and transferred to the seminary here three years ago, he said, because he had a special interest in working with Latin American immigrants, and had heard that New York needed such priests.