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Qns priests promoted to auxiliary bishops

Monsignor Raymond Chappetto (c.) breaks ground on an Our Lady of the Snows building project to construct a new church in 2008. Photo courtesy Our Lady of the Snows
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It was unexpected but welcome news for two Queens Catholic priests, including one from Floral Park, after Pope Benedict XVI promoted them to auxiliary bishops of the Diocese of Brooklyn, according to Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano.

In an announcement last week, Vigano said Benedict promoted Monsignors Raymond Chappetto, 66, of Our Lady of the Snows in Floral Park, and Paul Robert Sanchez, 65, a vicar for Queens, to bishops after serving much of their lives in Queens.

Both will be ordained at Our Lady of Angels R.C. Church, at 73-20 4th Ave. in Brooklyn, July 11.

“It was totally unexpected,” Chappetto said. “This isn’t something you aspire to. It’s something that’s given to you as a gift.”

Chappetto was born in Astoria and ordained as a priest in 1971. He earned a bachelor of arts and a master of divinity degree from Out Lady of Angels Seminary in the Diocese of Albany and also earned a master’s degree in religious education from St. John’s University.

Chappetto said it was always his goal to serve as a priest and he had done so at various locations in Rockaway Point, Jamaica, Queens Village, Howard Beach and Brooklyn before joining the church at Floral Park in 1999.

“All I ever wanted to do was become a priest,” Chappetto said. “I’m very grateful to God for doing this for me.”

The Diocese of Brooklyn serves nearly 1.4 million Catholics in Queens and Brooklyn.

Sanchez was born in Brooklyn and ordained as a priest in 1971. He had served at various churches in Forest Hills, Woodside, Brooklyn, Astoria and Long Island City before he was named vicar for Queens North in 2008 and vicar for Queens in 2009.

He holds a bachelor’s degree from St. Bonaventure University, a master’s degree from the University of Notre Dame and a licentiate in theology at North American College in Rome.

Both bishops-elect will join Frank Caggiano and Octavio Cisneros in assisting Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio of the Brooklyn/Queens Diocese.

Chappetto said he felt lucky to be given such an opportunity, which he referred to as a major turning point in his life. When asked about his time spent in Floral Park, Chappetto said he was blessed to have worked with such a giving community.

“The people here are warm and friendly,” Chappetto said. “We bonded very well and I will take the memory of the good holy people here with me when I go. They are like family to me.”

Reach reporter Phil Corso by e-mail at pcorso@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4573.

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