|| Rev. Msgr. James P. Swiader , Pastor|
(516) 747-3535 Ext. 113
Msgr. Swiader is a native Long Islander, who studied theology at the Seminary of the Immaculate Conception, Huntington, NY. He was ordained for the Diocese of Rockville Centre in 1975 and assigned as an associate to St. Joseph Parish, Garden City. Subsequent parish ministry included that of associate in St. Mary, Manhasset, and pastor of Curé of Ars, Merrick, and St. Kilian, Farmingdale. Other experience encompassed work in priestly formation, in St. Pius X Preparatory Seminary as Dean of Students and Chair of the English Department, and later in the Seminary of the Immaculate Conception, Huntington, as Dean of Seminarians, Director of Pastoral Formation, and Vice-Rector. He was an adjunct member of the faculty of Molloy College, Rockville Centre, where he taught philosophy from 1984-92. He was named a Prelate of Honor by the Pope John Paul II In 1996 and was inducted into the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem in 2011. As well as serving as the pastor of St. Joseph since 2011, he is currently the director of on-going priestly formation for the Diocese of Rockville Centre in the Office of Priestly Life and Ministry.
|| Reverend Prasanna W. Costa , Associate Pastor |
516-747-3535 ext. 120
Rev. Prasanna W. Costa is a Missionary Priest, belonging to the Diocese of Kandy, in the Central Hill Capital of Sri Lanka. He was born on January 13, 1965 in the North Western Province. He had his primary and secondary education in the cities of Matale and Kandy. Father Prasanna entered the Junior Seminary of the Diocese in 1980 and proceeded to the Major Seminary in 1982. Upon completing his Philosophical and Theological studies in the National Seminary of Our Lady of Sri Lanka in Kandy, he obtained his Bachelor’s Degree in Philosophy & Theology. He was ordained a Priest on October 28, 1989 in his home town Parish of St. Thomas in Matale. He served in the Junior Seminary, as well as in many Parishes, and was the Procurator in the Chancery Office of the Bishop. Most recently Father Prasanna held the position of Cannon of the Cathedral of Kandy. He has also served as the Chaplain to the Sri Lankans in the Gulf and for the last two years, served as a fidei donum Priest in the Diocese of Sale, in the state of Victoria, Australia. Father also has a Master’s Degree in Moral Theology obtained from University of Alfonsianum, in Rome, Italy. Father Prasanna speaks Sinhalese, Tamil, English and Italian. Father has also served in our Diocese during the summer of 1996 at Cure of Ars in Merrick. and again the following summer at St Killian’s in Farmingdale.
|| Reverend Hilary Nwajagu , Associate Pastor |
516-747-3535 Ext. 119
Rev. Hilary Obinna Nwajagu is a Priest of the Catholic Diocese of Awka, Anambra State - Nigeria. He was born to the family of Sir Godfrey and Late Lady Elizabeth Nwajagu on May 21st, 1976 in Awgbu, Orumba North district. After his Primary education, he proceeded to St Dominic Savio Seminary and St John Bosco minor Seminary both in Anambra State for his Secondary Education. He obtained his Bachelor of Philosophy and Theology respectively from Bigard Memorial Seminary Enugu and Blessed Iwene Tansi Major Seminary Onitsha. Both institutions were affiliate of Pontifical Urban University Rome. Having completed all the requirements for priestly ordination, he was ordained a Priest in his home parish at St Patrick’s Church Awgbu, on September 2nd, 2004. He served in three different Parishes as Associate Pastor and became the Parish and School Administrator at St Peter’s Church, Uga in 2008. He later became the School Administrator at Loretto Special Science (High) School Adazi Nnukwu from 2010 – 2018. He had a PGD in Education and was enrolled into the Teachers Registration Council of Nigeria. In October 2018, he was appointed the Education Secretary and Superintendent of School for Awka Diocese as well as the Chairman of Diocesan Education Advisory Board. His proclivity for education led him to participate in some International education conferences like The World Congress of Catholic Education in Rome 2015; OIEC World Education Summit in Fordham, New York 2019. He joined the Pastoral staff of Church of St Joseph’s Garden City on May 5th 2021. He Speaks English and Igbo Languages fluently and enjoys Basket and Volley balls.
|| Rev. Mr. John J. McKenna, Deacon , Director of Stewardship & Family Ministry |
I was raised in Holy Spirit Parish in New Hyde Park and I attended Holy Spirit Grammar School, Chaminade High School and Fordham University. Maria and I have been married since 1978 and we are parishioners of St. Joseph’s since August of 1988. Our three children John, Catherine and Suzanne all attended St. Joseph School. We are the proud grandparents of 7 beautiful grandchildren. Maria was very active in St. Joseph PTA and I was on the St. Joseph School Board for many years. I was ordained to the diaconate on May 18th, 2002 and assigned to serve here at St. Joseph’s. I have been blessed to serve this parish and the parishioners here have been very supportive of me and of my ministry. I have had the great joy to celebrate many baptisms, wakes and marriages with our parishioners. I have had the opportunity to share their many joys and to comfort them in their times of sorrow. I have taught in our CCD program since 2004. I have had the pleasure to share the Faith with many young couples over the years in our Baptism Preparation and Pre-Cana programs. I look forward to many more years of serving the Lord through this wonderful ministry.
|| Ms. Marcela Chavez , Principal |
Ms. Marcela Chavez is a life-long native of Queens, NY and a 100% product of Catholic education. She attended St. Anthony of Padua Elementary School and St. John’s Preparatory High School in Astoria, NY. She graduated from Molloy College in 2010 with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Biology 7-12 Secondary Education. Majority of her teaching/administrative career has been in the Diocese of Brooklyn. In the Spring of 2020, she earned a Master’s degree in Administration and Supervision from Fordham University. Marcela is excited and honored to have this opportunity to work as Principal with so many dedicated teachers, staff, parents, and outstanding students of the St. Joseph Community.
|| Mrs. Rori Martello , Assistant Principal |
Mrs. Rori Martello was born and raised on Long Island and is a product of Catholic Education through the Diocese of Rockville Centre. After graduating from St. Peter of Alcantara School and Sacred Heart Academy, Mrs. Martello continued her education at Manhattan College, where she earned her Bachelors of Arts degree in Secondary Education and English 7-12. From there, Mrs. Martello earned a Masters degrees in Literacy Education 5-12 and another in School Building Leadership. She is currently a doctoral candidate in Literacy Education at St. John's University. Mrs. Martello's twelve years in education span from teaching 7th and 8th Grade ELA in the New York City Department of Education, the Diocese of Brooklyn, as well as the Diocese of Rockville Centre. From 2014-2019, Mrs. Martello was the Assistant Principal of St. Francis de Sales Catholic Academy in Belle Harbor, Queens. She is thrilled to join the team at St. Joseph School as the new Assistant Principal. Mrs. Martello lives in Merrick with her husband, twin daughters, and their adopted dog, Mona Lisa.
|| Ms. Anna Maria Sirianni, LMSW , Director, Parish Human Services|
Anna was born in Manhattan and attended St. Michael’s Parish grammar and high schools. She graduated from Fordham University in 1974 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English. With a desire “to help people,” she pursued employment in the field of social work as a caseworker for families and children in need. In 1981 Anna completed her Master’s in Social Work at Hunter College School of Social Work. Anna worked for ten years as a clinician and team leader at Fordham-Tremont Community Mental Health Center in the Bronx with a Spanish-speaking psychiatric population. Here she learned the importance of presence, listening and “walking with people” when problems are persistent and do not yield easily to solutions. She is fond of quoting Maryknoll Missioner Ita Ford who was martyred in El Salvador in 1980: “Can I say to my neighbor: I have no solution for this situation, I have no answers, but I want to go with you and look for them with you? Can I allow myself to be evangelized by this opportunity? Am I able to see my own poverty and accept what I learn from others?” In 1993 Anna began employment as Parish Outreach Coordinator at St. Anthony’s Church in Oceanside where her responsibilities included the supervision of an office, a food pantry and a clothing room. She is a graduate of the diocesan Pastoral Formation Institute, a process which helped Anna grow toward an understanding of Parish Social Ministry as an expression of faith and discipleship. Anna is pleased to be a member of the Pastoral Staff and looks forward to serving the community in partnership with the parishioners of St. Joseph’s.
|| Mr. Joseph Cangialosi , Director of Liturgy & Music |
516-747-3535 ext. 129
His commitment to liturgy and music in our Diocese dates back to his teen-age years when he served as organist and Music Director at St. Brigid's in Westbury from 1976 until 1989. In September of 1989 he began his ministry as Director of Liturgy and Music at Saints Cyril and Methodius Church in Deer Park. In October of 1999 he became Director of Liturgy and Music at St. Aloysius Church in Great Neck where he served until beginning his ministry at St. Joseph's in June of 2002. Joseph was educated at Blessed Sacrament School in Jackson Heights, NY (graduated in 1974), at the Bronx High School of Science (1978), at New York University (1983), and our Diocese's Seminary of the Immaculate Conception (Master of Arts in Theology, 2000). In addition, Joseph works with brides and grooms in preparing celebrations of the Sacrament of Marriage and with bereaved families in planning celebrations of funerals and memorial Masses. Taken together, all of these activities constitute a ministry whose purpose is to enrich the celebrations of the Church's liturgy – the "source and summit" of the Christian life for the parish community and for individuals and families within the parish.
|| Mrs. Lisa Spohr , Director, Religious Education |
Mrs. Lisa Spohr joins our parish after teaching for thirteen years at St. Aidan School, Williston Park. She taught 4th Grade and chaired numerous committees and collaborative teams. Mrs. Spohr received her Bachelor’s Degree from Hofstra University and her Master’s Degree from Adelphi University. She is a recent graduate of the Diocese of Rockville Centre’s School of Missionary Disciples, a two-year process of personal, intellectual, spiritual, and pastoral formation for adult Catholics. It offers an exciting, integrated approach to discipleship through instruction, prayer, faith sharing and the development of leadership skills.
Mrs. Spohr grew up in Elmont and attended St. Vincent de Paul School and Sewanhaka High School; and presently lives in Garden City South with her husband, Bob, and their three children, Amy, Steven, and Gina. She is an active parishioner at St. Catherine of Sienna in Franklin Square, where she serves as a lector and an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion. Mrs. Spohr was also a volunteer catechist in the parish for several years.