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Seventeen priests in the Diocese of Arlington celebrate ordination jubilees

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65 years

Fr. Joseph Smits, CICM

Congregation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary

Born: Dec. 6, 1929, Zutendaal, Belgium
Parents: Herman Smits and Anna Bosmans Smits
Siblings: Maria, Herman, Elisa, August, Trinette, Lambert (also a Missionhurst priest, now deceased)
High School: Heilig Hart College in Mechelin and in Maaseik, Belgium, 1943-50
Seminary: Zuun, Belgium, 1950-51
Higher Education: philosophy, Nechin, Belgium, 1951-53; theology, Scheut, Belgium, 1953-54; theology, Louvain, Belgium, 1954-57; master’s in education and counseling, Villanova University, Pa., 1967-69.
First Profession of Vows: Sept. 8, 1951
Perpetual Profession of Vows: Sept. 8, 1955
Priesthood Ordination: Aug. 5, 1956
Assignments: Taught Latin, Guadalupe Minor Seminary, Philippines, 1957-66; taught religion, guidance counselor, Archbishop Wood High School, Warminster, Pa., 1966-74; counselor, Cora Services, 1975-87; chaplain, Gwynedd Mercy College, Gwynedd Valley, Pa., 1987-98.
Current Assignment: retired

50 years

Fr. David Curran, CICM

Congregation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary

Born: July 15, 1942, Boston, Mass.
Parents: Daniel Alexander Curran and Bertha Elaine Gallant Curran
Siblings: Daniel Alexander, Donald Anthony, Anne Mary
Military service: U.S. Navy (USS Brattleboro, New London, Ct.), 1960-62
Higher Education: Xaverian College, associate’s in art, 1963; The Catholic University of America, Washington, philosophy, 1964-66; Oblate School of Theology, theology, 1968-71.
Seminary: Immaculate Heart Missions (Missionhurst Seminary), 1963-71
First Profession of Vows: Sept. 8, 1964
Perpetual Profession of Vows: Sept. 8, 1967
Priesthood Ordination: Oct. 9, 1971, at Holy Spirit Church, Annandale
Assignments and years: Missionary to Haitian Sugar Cane Cutters, formation team for theologians, provincial superior for the province of the Dominican Republic, pastor, 1971-96; and prison ministry in San Antonio, Texas, 1997-2000, Middleton House of Correction, Mass., 2000-01 and Arlington, 2002-16.
Current Assignment: retired at Dominion House

Fr. Richard J. Ley

Born: Sept. 11, 1944, Norfolk
Parents: Jack William and Hilda Louise Ley
High School: Churchland High School, Portsmouth, 1962
Higher Education: St. Mary College Seminary, Hardin’s Creek, Ky., 1967
Seminary: Mount St. Mary’s Seminary, Emmitsburg, Md., 1971
Advanced Degree: Canon Law, The Catholic University of America, Washington, 1979
Diaconate Ordination: April 11, 1970
Priesthood Ordination: May 15, 1971
Assignments: associate pastor, St. Leo the Great Church, Fairfax, 1971-74; vocations director, 1974-78; chancellor, 1974-78; studies at Catholic U., 1978-79; vice chancellor, 1979-81; moderator of the curia, 1979-1981; in residence Queen of Apostles Church, Alexandria, 1979-81, and St. Mary Church, Alexandria, 1981-82; temporary administrator, 1982, and pastor, 1982-87, St. John the Apostle, Leesburg; pastor, St. John the Beloved Church, McLean, 1987-94; tribunal judge, 1987-94; pastor, St. Louis Church, Alexandria, 1994-97; board of consultors, 1997-2000; pastor, St. Ambrose Church, Annandale, 2000-06; worked in Diocese of Baker, Ore., 2006-08; parochial vicar, Our Lady of Lourdes Church, Arlington, 2008-10; parochial vicar, Our Lady of the Shenandoah Mission, Basye, 2010-20.
Current Assignment: retired

Fr. Franklyn M. McAfee

Born: Dec. 13, 1943, Detroit, Mich.
Parents: Franklyn W. And Cecelia O. McAfee
High School: Sacred Heart High School, Detroit
Higher Education: Sacred Heart, Detroit, 1962-63; Catholic U., 1963 – 66
Seminary: Catholic U.’s Theological College, 1967-71
Diaconate Ordination: May 1, 1970
Priesthood Ordination: May 15, 1971 (for the Diocese of Richmond)
Assignments: parochial vicar, Cathedral of St. Thomas More, Arlington, 1971-75; in residence at St. Philip Church, Falls Church, 1975-77; chaplain Bishop O’Connell High School, Arlington, 1975-77; founder and director, diocesan Office of Family Life, 1977-88; in residence at St. Rita Church, Alexandria, 1978-83, St. Agnes Church in Arlington, 1983-85 and Our Lady of Lourdes Church, Arlington, 1985-88; director of the Notre Dame Pontifical Catechetical Institute, 1985-92; pastor, St. Lawrence Church, Alexandria, 1988-97; director, Notre Dame Institute, 1992-97; pastor, St Catherine of Siena Church, Great Falls, 1997-2005; pastor, 2005-09, and pastor emeritus, 2009-15, St. John the Beloved Church, McLean; retired, Jeanne Jugan Center, Washington, 2015
Current assignment: retired

Fr. William J. Metzger, OSFS

Oblates of St. Francis de Sales, Wilmington-Philadelphia Province

Born: Oct. 27, 1942, Baltimore
Parents: William and Anne Metzger
High School: Mount St. Joseph High School, Baltimore
Higher Education: bachelor’s, Niagara University, N.Y.; master’s, Villanova University, Pa.
Seminary: De Sales School of Theology, Washington
First professions of vows: Aug. 21, 1962
Final profession of vows: Sept. 25, 1965
Priesthood Ordination: June 5, 1971
Assignments: Salesianum High School, Wilmington, Del., 1972-84; Bishop Ireton High School, Alexandria, 1984–2000, 16 years on staff and 11 years as principal; pastor, Our Lady of Good Counsel Church, Vienna, 2004-16; parochial Vicar, Our Lady of Good Church, 2016-18
Current Assignment: retired in residence at Our Lady of Good Counsel Church.

Fr. John T. B. Trong

Born: April 14, 1944, Ninh Binh, Vietnam
High School:
 Kim Thuong School in Gia Kiem, Vietnam, and Phat Diem School in Phu Nhuna, Saigon. 
Seminary:
 Philosophical Seminary of Saigon, 1967
Advanced Education:
 master's in theology, State University of New York; master's in social psychology, the New School for Social Research in New York; doctoral candidate at Columbia University in New York.
Priesthood Ordination:
 May 22, 1971 
Assignments:
Department of the Army chaplain, counselor to Vietnamese refugees at Ft. Indiantown Gap, Pa., June-December 1975; editor of Cong Dong magazine, writing commentaries, 1971-73, and contributing to several other Vietnamese magazines; director of the Vietnamese Apostolate for the Richmond Diocese, 1976-77; parochial vicar of Holy Family Church, Dale City, 1977-80; St. Ann Church in Arlington, 1980-82; and St. Leo the Great Parish in Fairfax, 1982-84; pastor of St. Francis de Sales Church in Kilmarnock, 1984-87; Spanish-language studies, North American Mexican Institute of Cultural Relations in Mexico City, summer 1987; special assignment at Our Lady of Lourdes Church, Arlington, 1987-88; and pastor of Holy Martyrs of Vietnam Church, Arlington, 1988-2000, until Vietnamese Dominicans took over administration.
Current Assignment:
 retired, St. Rose of Lima Priests’ Retirement Villa

25 years

Fr. Paul A. Berghout

Born: Sept. 6, 1963, San Francisco
Parents:
 Jan M. Berghout and Anna Maria (Sasso) Berghout
Siblings:
 three brothers, one is his twin
High School:
 Mercer Island High School, Mercer Island, Washington, 1978-82
Higher Education:
 bachelor’s in communications, Washington State University, 1986
Seminary:
 Mount St. Mary’s, Emmitsburg, Md., 1996
Diaconate Ordination:
 May 27, 1995
Priesthood Ordination:
 May 18, 1996
Assignments:
 diaconate year, St. Charles Borromeo Church, Arlington, 1995; parochial vicar, All Saints Catholic Church, Manassas, 1996-97; chaplain, Diocesan Spirituality Center, 1997-99; parochial vicar, St. Anthony Church, 2000-02; parochial vicar, Our Lady of Angels Church, 2003-06; Canon Law studies and Tribunal assignment, part-time prison ministry while in residence at Cathedral of St. Thomas More, Arlington, 2006-10; parochial vicar, Our Lady of Lourdes Church, Arlington, 2010-11.
Current Assignment:
 Tribunal Defender of the Bond while in residence at Our Lady of Lourdes

Fr. Joseph J. Clark

Born: Feb. 9, 1958, West Roxbury, Mass.
Parents
: Arthur George Clark and Patricia (McWeeney) Clark
Siblings:
 four brothers and two sisters 
High School:
 Woodward High School, Rockville, Md., 1975
Higher Education:
 accounting, University of Scranton, Scranton, Pa., 1980
Seminary:
 Mount St. Mary’s Seminary, Emmitsburg, Md., 1996
Diaconate Ordination:
 May 27, 1995
Priesthood Ordination:
 May 18, 1996
Assignments:
 parochial vicar, Holy Spirit Church, Annandale, 1996-2000; parochial vicar, Sacred Heart Church, Manassas, 2000-01; parochial vicar, St. Agnes Church, Arlington, 2001-02; parochial vicar, St. Andrew the Apostle Church, Clifton, 2002-05; leave of absence, 2005-15; retired, 2015
Current Assignment:
 retired

Fr. John C. De Celles

Born: Aug. 19, 1960, San Antonio, Texas
Parents:
 Daniel Howard De Celles and Barbara Therese (Fritton) De Celles 
Siblings:
Two brothers and two sisters 
High School:
 Central Catholic High School, San Antonio, Texas, 1978
Higher Education:
 bachelor’s in business, accounting, San Antonio College, University of Texas at San Antonio, 1981
Seminary:
 Mount St. Mary’s Seminary, Emmitsburg, Md., 1996
Diaconate Ordination:
 May 27, 1995
Priesthood Ordination:
 May 18, 1996
Assignments:
 diaconate assignment, St. Timothy Church, Chantilly; parochial vicar, Blessed Sacrament Church, Alexandria, 1996-99; parochial vicar, St. Andrew the Apostle Church, Clifton, 1999-2002; parochial vicar, St. Michael Church, Annandale, 2002-06; parochial vicar, St. James Church, Falls Church, 2006; parochial vicar, St. Mary Church, Alexandria, 2006-10
Current Assignment:
 pastor, St. Raymond of Peñafort Church, Springfield

Fr. Ronald J. Gripshover

Born: 1966, Michigan
Parents:
 Ronald Joseph Gripshover Sr. and Sharon Gripshover
Siblings:
Three brothers and three sisters 
High School:
 King George High School, King George, Va., 1984
Higher Education:
 associate of applied science, police science, Germanna Community College, Locust Grove, Va., 1988; bachelor’s in physics, Mary Washington College, Fredericksburg, 1989
Seminary:
 Mount St. Mary’s Seminary, Emmitsburg, Md., 1996
Diaconate Ordination
: May 27, 1995
Priesthood Ordination:
 May 18, 1996
Assignments:
 diaconate assignment, St. Mary Church, Alexandria; parochial vicar, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church, Lake Ridge, 1996-99; parochial vicar, St. Bernadette Church, Springfield, 1999-2000; parochial vicar, Cathedral of St. Thomas More, Arlington, 2000-02; parochial vicar, St. Louis Church, Alexandria, 2002-04; parochial vicar, St. John the Beloved Church, McLean, 2004-08; parochial vicar, St. Leo the Great Church, Fairfax, 2008-09; participated in sabbatical program, 2009; parochial vicar, St. Patrick Church, Fredericksburg, 2009-12; parochial vicar, Our Lady of Lourdes Church, Arlington, 2012-15
Current Assignment:
 pastor, St. Lawrence Church, Alexandria

Fr. Christopher D. Murphy

Born: April 19, 1969, Washington

Parents: John D. Murphy IV and Mary Ann (Miller) Murphy

Siblings: Two brothers and one sister

High School: Bishop O’Connell Catholic High School, Arlington, 1987

Higher Education: Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, 1989

Seminary: bachelor’s in philosophy, St. Charles Borromeo Seminary, Overbrook, Pa., 1992; Pontifical North American College in Rome, 1992-96, bachelor’s in sacred theology, Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome

Diaconate Ordination: Oct. 5, 1995

Priesthood Ordination: May 18, 1996

Assignments: parochial vicar, St. Mary Church, Alexandria, 1996-2000; parochial vicar, St. John the Evangelist Church, Warrenton, 2000-04; parochial vicar, St. Francis Church, Banica, and St. Joseph Church, Pedro Santana, Dominican Republic, 2004-06; pastor, St. Joseph Church, Pedro Santana, 2006-11; St. Peter Church, Washington, Va., 2011-14

Current Assignment: pastor, St. Stephen the Martyr Church and St. Katharine Drexel Mission, Middleburg

Very Rev. Paul D. Scalia

Born: Dec. 26, 1970, Charlottesville
Parents:
 Antonin Scalia and Maureen (McCarthy) Scalia
Siblings:
 Four sisters and four brothers 
High School:
 Langley High School, 1988
Higher Education:
 bachelor of arts in classics, College of the Holy Cross, Worcester, Mass., 1992
Seminary:
 Pontifical North American College, 1996
Diaconate Ordination
: Oct. 5,  1995
Priesthood Ordination:
 May 18, 1996
Assignments:
 parochial vicar, St. Bernadette Church, Springfield, 1996-2000; parochial vicar, St. Patrick Church, Fredericksburg, 2000-04; parochial vicar, St. Rita Church, Alexandria, 2004-08; pastor, St. John the Beloved Church, McLean, 2008-12
Current Assignments:
 Vicar for Clergy, 2012-present; director of Diaconate Formation, 2015-present; and pastor, St. James Church, Falls Church, 2019-present

Fr. Stefan P. Starzynski

Born: May 11, 1969, Bangkok, Thailand
Parents:
 Paul Florian Starzynski and Florence (Alff) Starzynski
Siblings:
 One sister
High School:
 Bishop Ireton High School, Alexandria, 1988
Higher Education:
 bachelor of arts, Gannon University, Erie, Pa., 1992
Seminary:
 Mount St. Mary’s Seminary, Emmitsburg, Md., 1996
Diaconate Ordination:
 May 27, 1995
Priesthood Ordination:
 May 18, 1996 
Assignments:
 diaconate assignment at St. Lawrence Church, Alexandria; parochial vicar, St. Michael Church, Annandale, 1996-98; parochial vicar, St. Mary Church, Alexandria, 1998-2001; parochial vicar, 2001-02, and administrator, 2002-04, St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception Church Fredericksburg; 2001-02, St. Patrick Church, Fredericksburg, 2004-07; parochial vicar, St. Mary of Sorrows Church, Fairfax, 2007-13; parochial vicar, St. Timothy Church, Chantilly, 2013-15
Current Assignment:
 chaplain at INOVA Fairfax Hospital

Fr. Celso Acabado Tabalanza, CICM

Congregation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary

Born: July 9, 1965, Naga City, Philippines
Parents:
 Juan Alves Tabalanza, Magdalena Acabado
Siblings:
 Mariflor Tabalanza Ballesteros, Alvin Silvero Acabado Tabalanza, Frances Tabalanza Bernardo, Norman Acabado Tabalanza
Higher Education:
 St. Louis University and Maryhurst Seminary, philosophy, 1983-87; Maryhill School of Theology, philosophy, 1988-92.
First Profession of Vows:
 May 29, 1988
Perpetual Profession of Vows
: 1995
Priesthood Ordination:
 Sept. 7, 1996
Assignments:
 Parochial vicar, 1996-2001, Paroisse Ste Elizabeth, Banalia, DRC; in residene, St. Andrew, Lylte, Texas, 2002–03; parish administrator, 2003-06, and pastor, 2006-10, Sacred Heart, Mercedes, Texas; pastor, St. Bonaventure, San Antonio, Texas, 2011–17
Current Assignment:
 U.S. Provincial Superior, Arlington, 2017–present.

Fr. Jerry A. Wooton

Born: May 15, 1969, Vicenza, Italy
Parents:
 Jerry Wooton and Elizabeth Ann (Zeilman) Wooton
Siblings:
 Two sisters and one brother 
High School:
 Woodbridge Senior High School, 1987
Higher Education:
 Northern Virginia Community College, 1990
Seminary:
 St. Charles Borromeo Seminary, Wynnewood, Pa., 1996
Diaconate Ordination:
 May 27, 1995
Priesthood Ordination:
 May 18, 1996 
Assignments:
 diaconate assignment, St. Mark Church, Vienna; parochial vicar, St. John the Apostle Church, Leesburg, 1996-99; parochial vicar, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church, Lake Ridge, 1999-2003; parochial vicar, St. Leo the Great Church, Fairfax, 2003-05; parochial vicar, St. Michael Church, Annandale, 2005-07; parochial vicar, Holy Trinity Church, Gainesville, 2007-12; parochial vicar, St. Patrick Church, Fredericksburg, 2012-13; on leave for discernment, 2013-14; parochial vicar, St. Bernadette Church, Springfield, 2014-15; parochial vicar, St. Elizabeth of Hungary Church, Colonial Beach, 2015-16; parochial vicar, St. Patrick Church, 2016-20
Current Assignment:
 parochial vicar, Holy Spirit Church

Fr. John A. Ziegler

Born: Jan. 4, 1954, Detroit, Mich.
Parents:
 Donald Earl Ziegler and Dolores Ann (Meier) Ziegler
Siblings:
 One brother and two sisters 
High School:
 University of Detroit High School, Detroit, 1972
Higher Education:
 bachelor’s in marketing, Michigan State University, 1976; juris doctor, Marshall College of Law, Cleveland, 1983
Seminary:
 Mount St. Mary’s Seminary, Emmitsburg, Md., 1996
Diaconate Ordination:
 May 27, 1995
Priesthood Ordination:
 May 18, 1996
Assignments:
 diaconate assignment, St. Agnes Church, Arlington; parochial vicar, St. Lawrence Church, Alexandria, 1996-2000; parochial vicar, Sacred Heart Church, Manassas, 2000-01; parochial vicar, St. Ambrose Church, Annandale, 2001-05; parochial vicar, Our Lady of Angels Church, Woodbridge, 2005-06; administrator and pastor, St. Elizabeth of Hungary Church, Colonial Beach, and St. Anthony Mission, the Hague, 2006-10
Current Assignment:
 pastor, St. Patrick Church

Fr. Matthew H. Zuberbueler

Born: March 14, 1970, Del Rio, Texas
Parents:
 John Ulrich Zuberbueler and Mary Elizabeth (Kelly) Zuberbueler
Siblings:
 Five brothers, one is his twin, and one sister 
High School:
 Comstock Independent School District, Comstock, Texas, 1988
Higher Education:
 bachelor’s in philosophy, Christendom College, Front Royal, 1992
Seminary:
 Mount St. Mary’s Seminary, Emmitsburg, Md., 1996
Diaconate Ordination:
 May 27, 1995
Priesthood Ordination:
 May 18, 1996
Assignments:
 diaconate assignment, Our Lady of Angels Church, Woodbridge; parochial vicar, St. Timothy Church, Chantilly, 1996-99; parochial vicar, Blessed Sacrament Church, Alexandria, 1999-2002; parochial vicar, Cathedral of St. Thomas More, Arlington, 2002-06; parochial vicar, Sacred Heart of Jesus Church, Winchester, 2006-08: chaplain, Saint John Paul the Great Catholic High School, Fairfax, 2008-12; administrator and pastor, St. Louis Church, Alexandria, 2012-17
Current Assignment:
 pastor St. Anthony Church, Falls Church

Biographical information courtesy of the diocesan Office of Clergy.

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