A beloved Sunset Park priest is now a bishop.
On Sunday, Father Kevin Sweeney served his final Mass at St. Michael’s R.C. Church, 352 42nd St. On Wednesday, he became the eighth bishop of the Diocese of Paterson, N.J.
“Thank you for a wonderful 10 plus years as your pastor at St. Michael’s,” said Sweeney during the online Mass. “I ask for your prayers and you’ll be in my prayers forever, always.
“While I am humbled and grateful to be chosen for this ministry, I am saddened because it means that I will be leaving St. Michael’s, the beautiful, faithful community and family that makes this parish so special.”
Afterward, a car parade was held outside the church. Local residents honked their horns in tribute.
Members of the 72nd Precinct attended and helped with the event.
“Today we say goodbye to Father Kevin Sweeney of St. Michael’s Church, who has been a staple in the Sunset Park, #Brooklyn community for 10 years,” the precinct tweeted. “We wish him all the best on his next chapter!”
Sweeney, a Queens native, is a graduate of Cathedral Prep High School. He studied at the Cathedral Seminary House of Formation in Douglaston, earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from St. John’s University in 1992, and earned a master’s degree in divinity from the Seminary of the Immaculate Conception in Huntington.
He was ordained a priest of the Diocese of Brooklyn on June 28, 1997, and was assigned to St. Nicholas of Tolentine in Jamaica and Our Lady of Sorrows in Corona. In 2004, Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio appointed him as the vocations director for the Diocese of Brooklyn. He was appointed pastor of St. Michael’s in January 2010.
St. Michael’s Church thanked Father Sweeney for his service.
“We the parishioners of St. Michael give thanks to God for the gift you are to each and every one of us and wish you luck as you move on to become the Eighth Bishop of Paterson,” the church said. “You became our pastor, but also our father and friend.”
Cardinal Joseph Tobin, Metropolitan Archbishop of Newark, ordained Sweeney to the Order of Bishops and installed him as the new Bishop of Paterson. Bishop DiMarzio and Bishop Arthur J. Serratelli were the co-consecrating bishops.
“We will always remember this year 2020, especially our loved ones who have died,” Sweeney said. “We will see happier and brighter days ahead and I hope that I will have the privilege of seeing you all when we can gather together in church for Mass and celebrate our 150th anniversary. Until then, let us continue to remember each other in prayer.”