History of Parish Leadership for the University Parish of Christ Sun of Justice - As a community of faith, Christ Sun of Justice is a living example of who we are called to be as followers of Jesus.
Reverend Thomas W. Phelan was the first pastor of the University Parish of Christ Sun of Justice, (1971 - 2001)
Father Phelan was born April 11, 1925 in Albany, N.Y. Raised in Rensselaer, he attended St. John's School and Christian Brothers Academy. He went on to receive a A.B. in English from the College of Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass., where he graduated early in order to enlist in the U.S. Navy. After returning home, he answered his call to the priesthood, entering the seminary at the Theological College at Catholic University in Washington, D.C. He later continued his studies at Campion Hall, Oxford, where he pursued a doctorate of philosophy. He was ordained a priest of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany on June 5, 1951. Father Tom (TP) passed into eternal life on March 31, 2006.
In 1959, Father Tom came to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute as the resident Catholic chaplain. He became a lecturer in history and later a professor. He was dean of the school of humanities and social sciences from 1972 to 1995 and then became the institute dean, institute historian and senior advisor to the president. During his tenure, the school of humanities and social sciences experienced exceptional growth and national recognition.
In 1971 Father Phelan was assigned by then Bishop, Most Rev. Edwin Broderick as the first pastor of the University Parish of Christ Sun of Justice and was instrumental in the building of the Chapel and Cultural Center. Father Phelan co-authored two books: The Hudson-Mohawk Gateway and Rensselaer: Where Imagination Achieves The Impossible. A recipient of grants, awards and honors, he either chaired or served on many boards of Ecclesiastical, academic and charitable organizations. Principal among those were the Catholic Art Association, the Architecture and Building Commission of the Roman Catholic Diocese and the Hudson-Mohawk Gateway. Thomas Phelan was always moving forward. He wore many formal hats: teacher, writer, administrator, preservationist and some informal ones as well: mentor, cheerleader and friend. Above all, however, he was a priest and he considered this central role as the one that allowed him to excel in all of his others.
Father Ed Kacerguis - ”fred” (Fr. + Ed) to many RPI students—has been serving the Diocese of Albany in the priesthood since 1982. He is the Treasurer of the Rensselaer Newman Foundation and has served as Religious Programs Coordinator for RPI, and Pastor of the University Parish of Christ Sun of Justice from 2001 through June 2019. On June 30, 2019 “fred” retired as Pastor and Catholic Chaplain.
“fred” comes from Bethlehem, CT and is the oldest son of Edward and Anastasia Kacerguis now deceased. He has loads of family all over the country but the majority are still residing in and around his hometown. His brothers David and Peter are both deceased; his nephews, Chris and Daniel, live in Austin, TX.
Fr. Ed’s varied educational interests have led him to studies at Providence College, Kent State University (OH), The University of Virginia, the University of Edinburgh (Scotland) and St. Mary’s Seminary and University Baltimore, (MD).
Before ordination to the priesthood in 1982 “fred” taught at Hampton Institute in Hampton, VA for 10 years. His interest then and now are history, geography, theology. Fr. Ed’s ministerial assignments have him as Associate Pastor at Our Lady of Victory here in Troy, Pastor in Amsterdam, Administrator of St Anthony’s in Schenectady. He arrived at Christ Sun of Justice and RPI in 1989 and served as Catholic Chaplain from that time through the 2018-2019 academic year. Upon the retirement of Rev. Tom Phelan in 2001, Father Ed was appointed Pastor of the University Parish of Christ Sun of Justice through June, 2019. Father Kacerguis continues to celebrate and serve in his priestly ministry. Other interests enjoyed by Father Ed are traveling, reading, movies, cooking.
Upon his retirement from Rensselaer campus and as pastor on June 30, 2019, Father Ed was asked by Bishop Most Rev. Edward B. Scharfenberger, Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany, to serve as Sacramental Minister to the parishes of Notre Dame-Visitation, Schuylerville; St. Joseph’s, Greenwich and Holy Cross, Salem. We wish him well in this new chapter of his priestly ministry.
Father John Cronin - As part of an interim transition team, Bishop Scharfenberger has appointed Rev. John Cronin as Interim Parish Priest and Deacon Joseph Romand, as Parish Administrator, for the parish, effective July 1, 2019. We welcome Fr. John as celebrant for Daily Mass and the Weekend Masses and ministering the parish community in prayer and sacraments. Fr. John’s ultimate journey toward his vocation as a priest includes an earlier time in his life where he drifted away from the catholic faith. By college, he was exploring different belief systems. In his 30s, he came back to the church, realizing that God had always been present in his life, even when he had not believed it. What had been a curiosity question in his 20s -- "What if I had stayed the course and become a priest?" -- now turned into a persistent tug at his soul.
For more about Fr. John’s journey, please see this link to the Evangelist (https://evangelist.org/Content/Features/People-of-faith/Article/New-priest-is-marking-days-till-ordination/16/69/26308).
Deacon Joe - was ordained a Permanent Deacon in 2013 by Bishop Emeritus Howard J. Hubbard, DD at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception here in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany. His first pastoral/liturgical assignment was here at RPI in campus ministry and the University Parish of Christ Sun of Justice, where Joe continues in his role as servant leader. He currently serves as the Parish Administrator, appointed by Bishop Scharfenberger, as part of an interim transition team, along with Fr. John Cronin.
Celebrating 40 years of marriage this Fall (2019), Deacon Joe is married to Tracey J. Burke Romand. Together, they raised three now adult children: Brian, Andrew and Meaghan. Tracey and Deacon Joe are happy to call this parish faith community our spiritual home, a place where we have been, and continue to be, nurtured, encouraged, supported and loved.
Deacon Joe recently began his 35th year of public service at New York State Teachers’ Retirement System (NYSTRS), a public pension fund for public school teachers outside NYC. He currently works there full-time as a Contract Specialist, beginning his expansive career at NYSTRS as an Internal Auditor for nearly 15 years. Joe is a former local president of CSEA Local 658 at NYSTRS.
Deacon Joe holds a Bachelor’s in Business Administration from Siena College (1983) and a Master of Arts in Pastoral Studies from St. Bernard’s School of Theology and Ministry (2017).
Rev. Randall Patterson -