Martin J. Burnham, PSS
Director of Discernment & Admission
The installation of Fr. Dominic Ciriaco, PSS, as the seventeenth rector of Theological College occurred on October 29, 2020, at Mass in The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception with then-Cardinal-Elect Archbishop Wilton Gregory of Washington presiding. Concelebrants of the mass included Fr. Daniel Moore, PSS, acting provincial of the American Society of St. Sulpice; Fr. Gerald McBrearity, PSS, and Fr. Phillip Brown, PSS, the sixteenth and fifteenth rectors respectively; Theological College formation faculty; priest faculty of The Catholic University of America; several of Fr. Ciriaco’s Sulpician confreres; and diocesan priests. President John Garvey of Catholic University of America, seminarians, and friends were also in attendance. Due to COVID-19 concerns, Fr. Ciriaco’s family were not able to travel from New Jersey to be at Mass. However, the service was live-streamed so that his family could participate in the celebration remotely.
After Fr. Ciriaco proclaimed the gospel for the Mass, then Cardinal-elect Gregory preached a homily that focused on Mary, Seat of Wisdom, a Marian title that holds pride of place among the Sulpicians. Mary’s wisdom, Cardinal-elect Gregory reasoned, came from her maturity, her experience of life’s challenges and her ability to overcome them, leading her to a greater perspective on life. Mary’s wisdom is sourced in her initial “yes” to God and in her ability to remain faithful to that “yes” despite what life brought her way. According to Cardinal-elect Gregory, wisdom comes with experience.
Before Fr. Ciriaco led all present in the profession of faith, Cardinal-elect Gregory instructed him with these words: “Remember Dominic, my dear brother, you must always be a loving father, a gentle shepherd, and a wise teacher so that you may lead others to Christ, who will strengthen all that you do.
Fr. Ciriaco comes to his position of Rector of Theological College with many years of lived experience as a diocesan priest. Fr. Ciriaco has had extensive parish and archdiocesan experience as a parochial vicar, as the pastor of St. Mary’s Church in Dumont, New Jersey, for three years, and as the Dean of Bergen County, New Jersey. He served in parish and high school ministries for a total of fourteen years. Fr. Ciriaco holds an MDiv and a Master’s degree in Systematic Theology from Seton Hall University in South Orange, New Jersey (where he attended seminary at Immaculate Conception Seminary at SHU). He is currently completing a Doctor of Ministry in Preaching at Aquinas Institute of Theology.
Fr. Ciriaco also comes to this position as no stranger to Theological College. As a Sulpician Candidate, he received his first Sulpician assignment to Theological College in 2015. He joined the formation faculty as both spiritual director and advisor. He served as the Director of the Basselins and Associate Director of Intellectual Formation from 2017 to 2019 before being appointed Vice-Rector in 2019.
Fr. Ciriaco’s installation at the Shrine was followed by a joyful, socially distanced reception and banquet at Theological College.