BRISTOL – The Rev. Gary Simeone, pastor at St. Gregory the Great Parish, is one of nine priests in the Archdiocese of Hartford who Pope Francis has named monsignors, at the request of Archbishop Leonard P. Blair.
The title of monsignor means that a priest has been made an honorary member of the pope’s own household. This custom dates back many centuries, and is given to designated priests who are at least 65 years old and who are distinguished for their service.
Father Simeone has served faithfully in parochial ministry in the archdiocese for over 40 years. He has served as pastor of five parishes, urban and suburban, in which his ministry has been fruitful and well received. Four of those parishes also included the spiritual and temporal care of a large parish school. Under his guidance and leadership, the parishes and schools flourished. He currently serves as priest chairman of the Archbishop’s Annual Appeal.
The other eight priests are: the Rev. Thomas Barry, pastor at Saint Patrick Parish in Farmington; the Rev. Joseph DiSciacca, pastor at Divine Mercy Parish in Hamden; the Rev. Joseph Donnelly, pastor at Sacred Heart Parish in Southbury; the Rev. John Georgia, pastor at Resurrection Parish in Wallingford; the Rev. Gene Gianelli, pastor at Assumption Parish in Woodbridge; the Rev. Frank Matera, pastor at Saint Mary Parish in Simsbury; the Rev. Robert O’Grady, pastor at Mary, Gate of Heaven Parish in Windsor Locks; and the Rev. James Kinnane, adjutant judicial vicar at the archdiocese’s Metropolitan Marriage Tribunal.
Archbishop Blair recommended the priests last May, and was pleased when Pope Francis recently confirmed them, especially as the archdiocese is celebrating its special anniversary.
“My intention on the occasion of our 175th anniversary is simply this: to recognize the service of all our priests by honoring a few representatives out of the many who so faithfully teach, sanctify and shepherd the people of God, especially in these challenging times for the church and for priests. The fact that this is a papal honor also underscores the close bonds of communion between our local church and the Holy Father in Rome. And when a parish priest is named a ‘monsignor’ it is an honor for his parishioners too,” he said.
There will be a celebration of the conferral of these papal honors at a prayer service on Sunday, Feb. 24, at 4 p.m., at Saint Thomas Chapel at the Pastoral Center in Bloomfield. Tickets are required due to limited seating.
Archbishop Blair said that other papal honors will be announced for members of the laity and religious of the archdiocese over the next few months.