Celebrating 25 Years of Priesthood

In 2019, 8 priests in the Diocese of St. Petersburg will celebrate the 25th anniversary of their ordination. They will be recognized by Bishop Parkes during the annual Chrism Mass on Tuesday, April 16. They are:

Rev. Erwin Belgica Rev. Erwin Belgica

He was born in Malinao, Philippines and was ordained for the Diocese of Sorsogon on July 15, 1994. He came to the Diocese of St. Petersburg in 2008 and later became a priest of this diocese.  Father Belgica currently serves as Pastor of Our Lady of Grace Parish, Beverly Hills.


Rev. Joseph P. Chacko 

A native of Kozhichal, India.  On October 22, 1994, he was ordained ta priest of the Diocese of Monalhavady.  He has resided in our diocese since 2014, after being accepted as a Chaplain at James A. Haley V.A. Medical Center, Tampa, where he currently works.


Rev. Salim Joseph, O.F.M.

Rev. Salim Joseph, O.F.M. 

He came to the Diocese of St. Petersburg in September 2018.  He was born in Karimkunnam, India and ordained for the Franciscan Order of Friars Minor on April 5, 1994.  Father Joseph serves as Parochial Vicar of Sacred Heart Parish, Tampa.


Rev. Joel M. Kovanis Rev. Joel M. Kovanis 

He was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and completed his seminary studies at St. Vincent de Paul Seminary, Boynton Beach.  He was ordained a priest of the Diocese of St. Petersburg on May 21, 1994 and has served as Pastor of Prince of Peace Parish, Sun City Center since 2008.


Rev. Emery N. Longanga Rev. Emery N. Longanga 

He is originally from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where his family still lives.  He was ordained for the Diocese of Tshumbe on August 21, 1994.  After completing studies at Notre Dame University, he began working in the Diocese of St. Petersburg in 2011.  Now a priest of our diocese, he is Pastor of Holy Cross Parish, St. Petersburg.


Rev. Brian J. McColl

He grew up in Hamilton, Ontario and was ordained for the nearby Diocese of Peterborough on May 27, 1994.  Now retired from his diocese, he provides assistance to Prince of Peace Parish, Sun City Center, during the fall and winter months.


Rev. Clement Oyafemi

He was born and raised in Nigeria and ordained for the Diocese of Oyo on August 13, 1994.  He came to our diocese in 2017, after being hired as a Chaplain for St. Joseph Hospital, Tampa, where he continues to serve.


Rev. Robert H. Young

He was born in Schenectady, New York. His family later moved to Florida, where he was ordained a priest of the Diocese of St. Petersburg on May 21, 1994.  After serving in parishes of our diocese, he completed doctoral studies in Rome. Father Young is retired and living in New York, where he cares for his mother, who recently celebrated her 101stbirthday.