New leadership at St. Stan’s values education, Catholic presence
by Jennifer Khedaroo
Apr 04, 2017 | 2867 views | 0 0 comments | 86 86 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Monsignor Joseph Calise and Father Edward Doran are the new leadership at St. Stanislaus and Transfiguration parishes in Maspeth.

Earlier this year, Calise stepped down from his pastorship at Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Williamsburg, where he spent the last nine years.

And after 30 years, Doran stepped down from the pastorship on February 1. His last post was at St. Charles Borromeo in Brooklyn Heights.

Doran and Calise have worked together in the past, specifically at St. Leo’s Church in Corona during the 1980s. Both men are educators and hope to bring the value of education to the forefront.

“The bishop named him pastor, a former high school principal, and asked me to be the onsite assistant, a former high school principal and college teacher,” Calise said. “He made sure he sent people with an educational background, not only because of the credentials but also because we care.”

Calise and Doran plan to become more involved with the youth programs at St. Stanislaus Kostka, which Calise deemed an unsung bright spot.

“The youth programs need more priest presence to help maintain a Catholic identity,” Calise said.

He plans to attend CYO games at nearby Martin Luther School.

“We should be able to walk over and stand there during a basketball game so the kids could see that we’re supporting them,” he said. “And to let coaches know that we’re grateful for the work that they’re doing.“

Calise taught for 13 years, 10 years of which he served as principal at Cathedral Prep School and Seminary in Elmhurst. As a leader at Cathedral Prep, Calise took several measures to grow the school.

He invited people into the school, such as priests of the diocese. There, they were able to celebrate mass with the students and meet for discussions.

The priests would then go back to their grammar schools and often encouraged students to attend Cathedral Prep. He also created a monthly newsletter as a form of communication.

The 76-year-old Doran, who is an adjunct professor at St. John’s University and psychologist, teaches a course entitled “Internship in Counseling and Psychotherapy” where he supervises one year of development for his dozen students.

In the past, Doran invited alumni to talk about their careers to inspire students.

“Sometimes bringing together the various strengths and resources from the community can increase motivation,” Doran said. “It’s something our school can benefit from.”

Doran's reputation is that he works hard with the community to build the membership of the parish.

“Increasing membership is generating awareness of what the church does,” Doran said. “Every Sunday, for as long as I’ve been a pastor, I’ve said the same thing, 'do me a favor and bring in one friend next week.'”

Reaching out and connecting with the community is something both Calise and Doran hold dear. On April 23 at 12:30 p.m., after the Spanish mass with about 150 churchgoers, Calise will be attending a coffee-and-cake social.

For the past 26 years, Calise has been working with men and women in 12-step recovery. There are a few meetings held at St. Stan’s currently, but his first observation was that there aren’t enough.

During his time in Williamsburg, Calise said the church hosted about 43 recovery meetings every week. While there isn’t a current space to hold that many meetings at St. Stan’s, an increase in meetings could help those in the neighborhood.

The recovery meetings focus on anything from addiction to alcohol and drugs to eating disorders and gambling problems.

“If you look at New York City, this area is not overwhelmed with opportunities for recovery meetings,” said Calise, who is in recovery himself.

Once a month, the parish will host Serenity Sundays, a 4:30 p.m. mass offered for people in recovery. It’s a program that Calise originally started in Williamsburg.

During the mass, there will be a Rite of Anointing followed by a potluck supper and a meeting featuring two people from any 12-step program.

Calise hopes to get a feel from the community regarding what particular meetings are needed to serve residents.

“We would like to encourage more people who need the help to come and get it,” Calise said. “We all need grace.”

As for needed improvements on the buildings and grounds, the new leadership will need to figure out a method for consolidating efforts.

St. Stanislaus Church was built in 1923 at 61st Street and Maspeth Avenue, while Transfiguration Church, the first Lithuanian church in the nation, was built on Perry Avenue in 1962.

Calise said having an office at both St. Stanislaus and Transfiguration “doesn’t make sense.” Due to Transfiguration’s rich history, they will continue to utilize the office space but perhaps for other means.

As they redesign the rectories, the bishop has asked that the offices and living quarters be moved to St. Stan’s, while Transfiguration’s rectory is transformed into a house of prayer, specifically for the clergy.

The house of prayer would benefit a priest who wants to spend a day in reflection, or a cluster of priests who want to go somewhere overnight to have meetings and hold evening and morning prayer.

Currently, the closest place with a similar setup for the diocese is in Huntington.

The parish is also looking into the idea of holding a day program for priests and even, possibly, a small overnight or transitional program for priests.
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