Father George Witt, S.J., is a native of Flushing, Queens. He entered the Society of Jesus in Syracuse, NY in August 1996, and was ordained a priest in June 2006 at Fordham University Church.
Prior to becoming a Jesuit, Father Witt taught high school English and religious education, and served as a guidance counselor and track coach. He has a bachelor’s degree in English and theology and a master’s degree in philosophy, both from Fordham University, and a master’s degree in divinity from the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley, CA (JSTB). He also earned a licentiate in sacred theology while at JSTB in the area of Christian Spirituality.
Father Witt served for two years as a retreat minister at St. Ignatius Loyola Retreat House (Inisfada), Manhasset, NY, where he offered spiritual direction, directed and preached retreats, and days and evenings of prayer. Proficient in American Sign Language, Father Witt served as a deacon and spiritual director at St. Benedict’s Parish for the Deaf in San Francisco.
He joined the Parish staff at St. Ignatius in January 2007. He has been serving as Pastor since July 31, 2009.
Father William J. Bergen was born and raised in Manhattan, attended Jesuit schools, and entered the Jesuit Novitiate in Poughkeepsie in 1955. He was ordained to the priesthood by Cardinal Francis Spellman in 1965 at Fordham University Church. Following advanced studies in theology at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D. C., he taught theology at St. Peter’s College in Jersey City. During these years he was also active in retreat work at Mount Manresa, the Jesuit retreat house on Staten Island. From 1983 to 1989, Father Bergen worked as a parish priest at St. Ignatius Church in Baltimore, Maryland, and as a retreat director at Bon Secours Spiritual Center in Marriottsville, Maryland. Since 1989 he has been on the Parish staff here at St. Ignatius Loyola.
Joanne Cunneen holds an MS degree from Hunter College in Early Childhood Education and an MA degree in Theology from the Seminary of the Immaculate Conception in Huntington, Long Island.
She came to St. Ignatius Loyola Parish in 1994 as an experienced teacher and religious educator. Her teaching career began at All Saints parish in Brooklyn as a first grade teacher in the parochial school. After eleven years of service there, she moved to Epiphany Parish in Manhattan as a grammar school teacher and Director of Religious Education.
At St. Ignatius in 1994, Joanne began as the Director of the Interparish Religious Education Program which has grown through the years to serve the religious education needs of over 500 students from diverse parishes on the upper eastside of Manhattan and throughout the metropolitan area. This program is now situated in St. Ignatius Loyola Grammar School and St. Joseph Grammar School on East 87th Street. This faith formation program brings children from kindergarten age through the eighth grade into contact with the religious teaching and sacramental life of our Church. Joanne’s work has been nationally recognized by the catechetical leadership of the Catholic Church.
Shortly after her arrival at St. Ignatius, Joanne initiated the “Liturgy of the Word for Children” program as a very popular addition to our extensive Parish liturgical services. Each Sunday, approximately 75 children are taken to hear the Sunday Scripture readings proclaimed and explained in a way that is especially accessible to young pre-school and early school-age children. At the 9:30 AM Mass, the children are brought to the Lady Chapel. At the 11:00AM Wallace Hall Family Mass, the 3-5 year olds go to the Lady Chapel, while those 5 years of age and older are brought to Loyola Chapel.
Joanne’s responsibilities at St. Ignatius include overseeing the baptismal preparation program for parents, the sacramental programs for the reception of Reconciliation, First Eucharist and Confirmation, the preparation of engaged couples for marriage, and the religious education program in our parochial Grammar School. She also works directly with the Archdiocese of New York through her participation in programs to train teachers of religious education. From 2007-2009 Joanne took part in the Companions of Prayer Program sponsored by Loyola Press in Chicago.
Sister Kathryn, a member of the Franciscan Sisters of Peace, has been on the staff of St. Ignatius Loyola Parish for six years. She was a Campus Chaplain at New Jersey Institute of Technology and Rutgers University, Newark, N.J. She has been a spiritual director and retreat director for over twenty five years. As an adjunct faculty member in the Practicum in Giving Spiritual Direction in the Graduate School of Religion and Religious Education, Fordham University, she helped to develop a training program for giving the directed retreat as a collaborative program between the Graduate School and Mariandale Retreat and Conference Center where she was Program Director for nine years. Sister Kathryn has also been involved in the leadership of her religious congregation and in the formation of future women religious. In that capacity she was Novice Minister for a collaborative formation program for fourteen congregations of women religious. In this capacity she was a presenter for an international meeting for formation of women religious in Rome, for women religious in formation in Namibia, Africa, and for Franciscan formators in Scottsdale, Arizona. She recently collaborated with Dr. Janet Ruffing in teaching a course on supervision for spiritual directors in Melbourne, Australia.
Father Ugo Nacciarone was born in Brooklyn in January of 1933. After a year at Fordham University following high school, he entered the Jesuits in 1950. In addition to his usual Jesuit studies in classics, philosophy and theology, he also obtained a Master’s degree in chemistry. Ordained in 1964, he completed his formation in 1966. In 1967, he was missioned to Africa and remained there for 40 years in Nigeria, Ghana and Zambia. He returned to the New York Province in October 2007 so that he might reflect on his experiences and share them with others.
Fr. Joe Marina SJ was born in Phillipsburg, NJ. He entered the Society of Jesus in 2004 and was ordained to the priesthood on June 9, 2012 at Fordham University Church. Fr. Marina earned a bachelor’s degree in physics and masters in secondary education from St. John’s University (NY), a master of divinity and master of theology from Boston College, and a Ph.D. in administration/supervision from Fordham University.
Prior to joining the Jesuits, Fr. Marina served as Dean of the School of Continuing Education at Providence College, Assistant Dean for the College of Science and Mathematics at Montclair State University, and in various administrative positions at St. John’s University. He is a former trustee of Canisius College and currently sits on the boards of Le Moyne College, Regis University (Denver, CO) and Xavier High School (NYC).
Fr. Marina’s pastoral experience includes spiritual direction, services for the homeless, retreat work, and evangelization/catechesis. He joined the Parish staff at St. Ignatius in June 2012.
Organist, pianist, conductor, and composer K. Scott Warren joined the music staff in 2011 as Associate Director of Music. He was named Interim Director of Music in August 2011 and became the Director of Music in May 2012. Scott had previously served as Associate Musician (part-time) at St. Ignatius Loyola from 2001 to 2007. His experience as a liturgical musician includes serving as Music Director or Interim Director at several Manhattan churches, including Immanuel Lutheran Church, Park Avenue United Methodist Church, and Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church. In addition to his work at St. Ignatius, Scott currently serves as Organist/Choirmaster at Congregation Emanu-El of the City of New York, the largest Jewish house of worship in the world, where he plays the 4-manual, 135-rank Glück pipe organ and directs the 17-voice professional choir in over 120 choral liturgies annually.
Scott’s active career as a collaborative musician has led him to perform as organist and pianist with the New York Philharmonic, the American Symphony Orchestra, the New York Pops, the Orchestra of St. Lukes, the Dresden Philharmonic, and such notable choral ensembles as Musica Sacra, the Oratorio Society of New York, and Voices of Ascension. His work as an accompanist has been featured on local radio station WQXR, and on NPR and PBS.
A long-time love of choral music has recently led Scott to compose for the medium. Several of his pieces are published by Oxford University Press, and have been performed in New York City churches and in liturgies and concerts throughout North America, Europe, and Japan.
Scott’s musical interests are not limited to classical music. While growing up in Dallas, Texas, he played in a variety of local bands, including a five-year stint with the Al “TNT” Braggs Show Band, a popular Dallas-based rhythm and blues revue.
Scott is a graduate of the University of North Texas, where he studied organ with Jesse Eschbach and piano with Mary Nan Mailman.
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Fernando Castro joined The Church of St. Ignatius Loyola in March 2005. He is the Treasurer for St. Ignatius Loyola Church, Grammar School and Day Nursery, as well as the Jesuit Residence. His experience in the finance and non-profit sector spans more than 15 years. Prior to joining St. Ignatius, Mr. Castro was an Outsourcing Manager at Fiscal Management Associates (FMA), LLC, and was responsible for supervising their outsourced accounting engagements, software consulting projects, and fiscal services to start-up organizations.
Mr. Castro’s past positions also include working as a Field Agent with The Internal Revenue Service. In this role, he was responsible for conducting independent audits and related investigations of income tax returns, which covered a diversified spectrum of individual business taxpayers to include sole proprietorships, partnerships, C Corporations, and S Corporations. After leaving the IRS, Mr. Castro founded a tax and consulting firm focused on providing tax, payroll and bookkeeping services, including audits and other finance-related services. He later sold his practice to take a high level position with FMA.
Mr. Castro holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from New Jersey City University and became a Certified Public Accountant in 2000.
Chester was born in Galicja, Poland, and was raised and educated in Silesia. He completed his masters in Information Science from Silesian University and continued his studies in business administration at the Academy of Economy in Katowice.
Chester emigrated to the United States in 1988 and formed his own company, C.F.C Contracting Corp., in 1993. Operating as a general contractor, he managed a wide variey of building construction projects throughout New York City, including projects for New York University and the Archdiocesan Building Commission.
Since 2003, Chester and C.F.C. Contracting have done a number of projects in the St. Ignatius Loyola complex. Chester served as general contractor for the renovation of the Grammar School and the restoration of Wallace Hall. He also played a major role in the 2008 Church restoration.