by Patrick Rocchio
St. Frances de Chantal parish has a new administrator as of July 1, with Father Michael Sullivan replacing Monsignor Leslie Ivers as leader of the Throggs Neck flock.
After a vacation to Ireland where Sullivan, who is of both Irish and Italian decent, got in touch with his ancestral roots, he assumed the role as administrator of the day-to-day operations of St. Frances’ church and school.
Sullivan is no stranger to St. Frances. The Staten Island-native taught for three years at the parish school and lived on Pennyfield Avenue as a parishioner before being ordained a priest by Edward Cardinal Egan on May 14, 2004. After an assignment to Holy Family Parish in New Rochelle as parochial vicar, he was tapped to head St. Frances, a parish he described as “tight knit.”
“The great thing about Throggs Neck is that people stay here for generations and pass houses down to their relatives,” Sullivan said. “This is my first time leading a parish. The people of God are good everywhere and they are good here.”
Sullivan joined the priesthood after working as a printer for more than seven years. He worked his way up to foreman before deciding that something was missing from his life, despite financial and career success.
“I had been working as a printer since I graduated from high school,” Sullivan stated. “I began to go to Mass daily. The more and more I thought about how I could give of myself completely, I realized the best way was to become a priest.”
Sullivan is assuming the role of administrator, which is an interim position to being named pastor of St. Frances de Chantal. He will perform all duties Monsignor Ivers performed.
“This is my first administrative assignment; by this time next year, I expect to be named to a six-year term as pastor,” Sullivan stated. “Being an administrator requires a lot of clerical and office work. But I will not forget that I am a priest and will not be chained to my desk. I expect to be a presence in the school and around the parish. I first came to know St. Frances as a seminarian, and then as a teacher in the elementary school, and it is good to be home.”
Sullivan plans to create an advisory parish council consisting of ten parishioners who can provide advice as to what services they think the parish can provide and where they can save money.
“I have a lot of common sense,” Sullivan said. “I am good at finding where we can save money. I also don’t pretend to have all of the answers. We are going to form an advisory parish council so we can see what programs are working, and which ones aren’t, and where we can save money or spend more.”