Br. Patrick Ordained a Priest: History Made in Newark Abbey


Joseph Ranaletta

Patrick Winbush, a Benedictine monk of Newark Abbey being ordained a Priest

Joseph Ranalletta, Staff Writer

On Saturday, May 20, at 10:30 a.m., the ordination ceremony of Br. Patrick Winbush began. The excitement could be felt in the air; with family and friends there to experience the big day. Clergymen and many other members of the church came from different communities across all of New Jersey and beyond to come and see the ordination. When it was all said and done, Fr. Patrick, no longer Br. Patrick said thank you to all who helped him get to where he was and then joined the long line of Priests in Newark Abbey.

Fr. Patrick is not a rookie to the monastic life. He started his journey with the abbey all the way back when he was eighteen after being introduced to Fr. Edwin Leahy ’63,  O.S.B. at his home parish, Blessed Sacrament St. Charles. Fr. Patrick explained, “During my junior year of high school, I started talking to Fr. Edwin about my interest in religious life and priesthood, so he invited me over to the monastery. . . From the first moment I stepped on the property, I felt right at home.” From this point, Fr. Patrick would begin his journey, and soon after, as a freshman at St. Peter’s University, he would officially make his vows and become a member of Newark Abbey.

Twenty years later, when Abbot Melvin Valvanno ’56, O.S.B. asked him if he would consider becoming a priest, Fr. Patrick said yes. He was then enrolled in Immaculate Conception Seminary, which is on the campus of Seton Hall University, and began his studies. However, the decision to become a priest meant that he could no longer teach at St. Benedict’s, and had to commit all of his time to his studies.

All of these experiences have led to his ordination, where Br. Patrick became Fr. Patrick, with the help of the Archbishop of Washington D.C., who was also chosen for a special reason. The Archbishop, in a similar manner to Fr. Patrick, was the first African-American Cardinal in the Church. This gives even more meaning to such a momentous event. Two African-American men, who were both the first in their field, have come together to celebrate the occasion. This was an auspicious event for the African-American Catholic Church. This was a milestone for Newark Abbey. But most importantly, this was a day to celebrate Fr. Patrick and his past service and future service to our community.