Priests celebrate decades of service

60 years

Msgr. John T. Cilinski, in residence at St. Agnes Parish in Arlington, was born June 6, 1924, in Alexandria, the son of Peter and Amelia Cilinski. He attended St. Mary Elementary School in Alexandria and graduated from St. Mary's Academy in 1941. He attended St. Mary's College and Seminary in Baltimore, and was ordained to the priesthood in 1948 by Cardinal Patrick O'Boyle, then-Archbishop of Washington. He was elevated to monsignor by Pope John Paul II in 1990. Msgr. Cilinski served as parochial vicar in a number of parishes as a member of the Richmond Diocese Missionary Fathers including St. Mary Parish in Richmond; St. Ann Parish in Arlington and St. Vincent Parish in Newport News. In 1955, he became director of the Richmond Diocese Missionary Fathers. In 1960, he was appointed pastor of St. John the Baptist Parish, Front Royal. He became pastor of St. John Parish, Waynesboro, in 1964, and a year later was named pastor of St. Philip Parish, Falls Church. In 1981, he became pastor of St. Ann Parish and was named rector of the Cathedral of St. Thomas More from 1989-94. He was pastor of Our Lady of Angels Parish in Woodbridge from 1994 until his retirement in June 1999. He was also a diocesan consultor and dean of Deanery V prior to his retirement. Msgr. Cilinski is one of seven children, two of whom also entered the religious life. His brother, Father Julius Cilinski, also a priest of the Arlington Diocese, died May 8, 2004, and his sister, Holy Cross Sister M. Camilla, died Nov. 27, 2007. His nephew, Father Robert Cilinski, is pastor of All Saints Parish in Manassas.

55 years

Missionhurst Father John B. Peters was born Jan. 1, 1929, in Belgium to Jan and Anna Maria (Tans) Peters. He entered Missionhurst in 1947 and pronounced his first vows Sept. 8, 1948. He was ordained a priest Aug. 2, 1953, in Scheut, Brussels. In January 1955, Father Peters was sent on his first mission assignment in the United States where he served as pastor of St. John Parish in Strawn, Texas, where he remained until June 1956. He served as parochial vicar of St. John Berchmans Parish in San Antonio, 1956-63; and pastor of St. Stephen Parish in San Antonio, 1963-66. He became a naturalized U.S. citizen 1960 in San Antonio. Father Peters came to the East Coast in September 1966 when he was assigned as rector of the Missionhurst Seminary in Washington, a position he held until June 1967 when he was elected as a council member of the General Government of the Congregation in Rome, Italy. He served as a member of the General Government until May 1974 when he was assigned to Brazil as pastor of Our Lady of Remedies Parish in Paraty, State of Rio de Janeiro, where he served for the next 20 years. In 1994, Father Peters was re-assigned to Rome where he served as rector of Missionhurst's International College. In June 1998, he returned to Brazil and served as pastor of St. Ann Parish in Itacuruçá for the next seven years until returning to the U.S. in May 2005. Father Peters is in residence at Dominion House in Arlington. He celebrates Mass on the weekends at Sacred Heart Parish in Manassas, and maintains an active ministry to the Portuguese-speaking Brazilian community.

50 years

Missionhurst Father Leo J. Zonneveld was born in Holland Sept. 8, 1934, to Johannes and Querina (Westerhoven) Zonneveld. He has six siblings. He entered Missionhurst in 1952, pronouncing his first vows a year later on Sept. 8, 1953. He was ordained to the priesthood July 25, 1958, in Nijmegen, Holland. Father Zonneveld's mission assignment in the United States began in 1959 where he continued studies at Catholic University in Washington. During that assignment he did parish work at St. John the Beloved Parish in McLean. He taught at Msgr. Bonner High School in Drexel Hill, Pa., 1961-64; and was parochial vicar of Holy Spirit Parish in Annandale, 1965-67. From 1967-69, Father Zonneveld was the assistant director of novices at Missionhurst. During those years he continued his studies and obtained a master's and a doctorate in philosophy from Catholic University, where he also lectured until 1969. That year he became a naturalized U.S. citizen in Washington Father Zonneveld was appointed the Provincial Superior of Missionhurst's U.S. Province in 1969, a position he held until 1979. He has also held a number of other leadership positions within the community. In 1979, he was appointed pastor of Precious Blood Parish in Culpeper, where he continues to serve. He has served as dean of Deanery IV, as a diocesan consultor, as a member of the diocesan Finance Committee and as judge on the Tribunal. Franciscan Father Joseph J. Nangle was born in Lexington, Mass., July 20, 1932. He entered the Order of Friars Minor August 11, 1951, at St. Bonaventure Church in Paterson, N.J. He made his final profession of vows Aug. 16, 1955, at Christ the King Seminary in Allegany, N.Y., and was ordained a priest April 25, 1958, at Mt. St. Sepulchre Friary in Washington. Father Nangle's first assignment was St. Anthony Shrine in Boston, Mass., 1958-59. He was assigned to a mission in Bolivia in 1960, where he served for three years before being named pastor of Holy Name Parish in Lima, Peru, 1963-74. In 1977, Father Nangle was appointed as an adviser for political issues in the department of social development and world peace of the U.S. Catholic Conference. He went on to serve in a variety of outreach and social justice ministries, including as a staff member for the Conference of Major Superiors of Men, 1982-90, and associate director of Sojourners magazine in Washington, 1990-94. Father Nangle served as executive director of the Franciscan Mission Service in Washington, 1994-2005. He began assisting on weekends as a part-time associate pastor of Our Lady Queen of Peace Parish in Arlington in 1990. He currently works three or four days a week at the parish.

45 years

Jesuit Father Jon J. O'Brien assists at St. Stephen the Martyr Parish in Middleburg.

Father Luis M. Valdivieso teaches at Bishop O'Connell High School in Alexandria.

40 years

Father Gerry Creedon is pastor of St. Charles Borromeo Church in Arlington.

35 years

Missionhurst Father Michael F. Hann is rector of Missionhurst in Arlington.

30 years

Father George J. Griffin is pastor of St. Isidore the Farmer Parish in Orange. Father Joseph Biniek is retired and resides in New Orleans, La.

Third Order Regular Franciscan Father Christopher J. Dobson is parochial vicar of St. Joseph Parish in Herndon.

Oblate of St. Francis de Sales Farther Anthony J. Pinizzotto is in residence at St. William of York Parish in Stafford.

Augustinian Father Cedric Wilson is in residence at St. Leo the Great Parish in Fairfax.

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2008