Rev. Kevin P. Abels, Pastor
I was born and raised in Middle Village Queens and credit my parish to my wonderful parish of Our Lady of Hope. After spending my grammar school years at Hope I went on to cathedral Prep High school for four wonderful year! (1990-1994). It was during the time when I felt that the Lord was calling me to the priesthood. From there I went on to St. John’s University with residence at the Immaculate Conception Seminary. After completing my college studies I entered the major Seminary in Huntington, LI. I was ordained a priest May 31, 2003. I spent my first year at St. Sebastian Parish and then as a Director of the Vocation for the diocese of Brooklyn. By the grace of the Holy Spirit I have returned as pastor of this great parish of St. Sebastian. I look forward to many years of service to God’s people.
Rev. Rodnev Lapommeray
To visitor and parishioner alike, I greet you in the Name of Our Savior Jesus Christ! Born in New York City to parents of Haitian origin, I grew up in Flatbush, Brooklyn. As a child and high school student, I worshiped at St. Jerome’s Church and was involved in many of their groups and ministries. Through the love of my family, the vibrancy of the parish and the grace of God, I grew in faith, hope and love. As a young man, I wanted to become a medical doctor, yet God had other plans. Through prayer and the support of priests, people of faith, Our Lord Jesus Christ and Our Blessed Mother, after college, I discerned a vocation to priesthood. I entered seminary formation and by the grace of God, I was ordained a priest of the Diocese of Brooklyn and Queens in June of 2011 by Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio. During my three years as a priest I have ministered to and been involved with the communities of Our Lady of Angels in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, Ozanam Hall of Queens Nursing Home in Bayside, and St. Andrew Avellino in Flushing.
I am happy to be a parochial vicar of St. Sebastian Church. I look forward to serving God and ALL of you here in Woodside and beyond. Feel free to contact me. If you feel God may be calling you to be a priest, please come talk to me or any of the priests here. As I hope you can tell from my own experience, it took time and discernment before I entered the seminary; so there is no harm in talking about the possibility.
To one and to all at St. Sebastian parish and to all visitors to this website, I wish you all of God’s blessings and peace. I desire to work together with you to build up the Kingdom of God here in Woodside. For “with God all things are possible” (Mt. 19:26). May Blessed Mother Mary, St. Joseph and St. Sebastian pray for us.
Rev. Henry Torres
The second of three sons born Margarita and Jose Torres, immigrants from the Dominican Republic, Father Torres grew up in St. Michael-St. Malachy parish, East New York. He received a strong foundation in faith from his parents, who made sure they went to Mass as a family every week.
He attended P.S. 214 and I.S. 171, both East New York; and Acorn H.S. for Social Justice, Bushwick. He holds an associate’s degree in liberal arts from Queensborough Community College, and a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Queens College. Upon completing his studies at St. Joseph Seminary, Dunwoodie, he earned his bachelor of sacred theology degree, and master’s degrees in theology and divinity.
Father Torres’ first discerned his call to religious life at the Hispanic Catholic Charismatic Center in the Bronx, where he had a profound experience while on retreat as a teenager.
“I had an encounter with the person of Christ,” he said. “That was when the faith became very real to me. That’s when everything kind of clicked.”
On his journey to ordination, he served summers at St. Joan of Arc, Jackson Heights, and Mary’s Nativity-St. Ann, Flushing, where he also spent his diaconate year. In his priesthood, Father Torres aspires to model the sacrificial spirit of his parents. Like his father, he wants “to work hard to provide for the people of God,” but to also have the heart of his mother, “compassionate and understanding.”
Rev. Joey Francisco
Rev. Fr. Joey Francisco was born in Davao City, Philippines. His father, Sixto Francisco, Sr., worked as a city health dentist and his mother, Adelita Cervantes, was a city librarian. Both parents are now deceased. He has three brothers and a sister.
He finished his elementary and high school education at the Holy Cross College of Calinan, Davao City. He was accepted at Saint Francis Xavier College and Regional Major Seminary and completed his college education with a degree in Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy and Theology.
On April 15, 1993, he was ordained a priest in the parish of Sacred Heart by the late Archbishop of Davao, Most Rev. Antonio Mabutas, DD. After his ordination, he was assigned in several parishes in Davao.
He was sent by his bishop to pursue further studies and finished his degree in Theology at St. John University in Queens, New York in 2006. During his studies, he served in different parishes in the Archdiocese of New York. Afterwards, he returned to his home parish of the Archdiocese of Davao. He came back to the United Stated in July 2011 to serve as Parochial Vicar at Our Lady Help of Christians Church in Brooklyn for five years until Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio assigned him to the Saint Sebastian Parish, Woodside and where he officially started his ministry on Sept 30, 2016.
Deacon Stephen T. Damato
I was raised in Astoria, Queens and had a public school education. I attended St. John’s University and earned a bachelor’s of science degree in Biology. I was married in St. Sebastian’s Church in 1971 to Dorothy Fitzpatrick from Woodside. We have two grown children and four grandchildren. I worked for the FDNY for thirty years and ended as the Captain of Ladder Co. 14 in Harlem. I was ordained to the diaconate in 1990 and was assigned to St. Fidelis Church in College Point. In June of 1994 I was reassigned to St. Sebastian’s where I continue to serve. I was the Master of Ceremonies for Bishop Renee Valero and presently do the same for Bishop Paul Sanchez.
Deacon Rogelio Vega
I was born in Brooklyn, NY on June 21st. 1970 and my parents are from Puerto Rico. I am married to Flor Vega which is from Mexico. We have 4 children and a nice grandson. For many years my wife and I had work with the Evangelization and this is the way I had received the call to serve God thru the Diaconate Ministry. I was ordained as a permanent Deacon in May 28, 2011. I live in Maspeth.
I was assigned to this beautiful parish since December 2015 and I am happy to be here serving this wonderful community and together to continue working with the evangelization in order for other to meet Jesus in their lives.
Es una alegría de estar en esta hermosa parroquia para trabajar juntos con ustedes y así llevar a cabo la tarea de servir al pueblo de Dios.