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Three priests in the family

Bishop Michael F. Burbidge (second from left) with three Vaccaro brothers after celebrating the ordination of Redemptorist Fr. Brian Vaccaro, CSsR (second from right)

When people hear that Frances and Vincent Vaccaro have three sons who are priests, they might wonder how the parents “did it,” and assume they must be super-saints.

“They might – however, they’re wrong,” said Frances, a long-time parishioner of St. Michael Church in Annandale. “It’s all in the hands of God. I would be presumptuous to say it was my doing.”

The Vaccaros have been married 51 years and raised seven children. Their oldest son, Father Brian Vaccaro, 46, was ordained a Redemptorist priest in Washington in July. Two other sons are priests in the Arlington diocese: Father Christopher T. Vaccaro, 44, is chaplain and director of Catholic campus ministry at the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg and Father Stephen M. Vaccaro, 34, is parochial vicar of Sacred Heart of Jesus Church in Winchester.

While priestly vocations are from God, the brothers all say their parents’ influence was important, though they never pushed their sons toward becoming priests. “They laid the foundation in how they raised my brothers and sisters — who are all still practicing the faith,” Father Brian said. - from the

On July 23, 2022 at 10 a.m., Brian Vaccaro, C.Ss.R., was ordained through the imposition of hands and the invocation of the Holy Spirit by The Most Reverend Michael F. Burbidge, Bishop of the Diocese of Arlington. The ordination took place at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, in Washington D.C.

Brian Vaccaro, C.Ss.R., is the third member of his family to become a priest, joining Fr. Christopher Vaccaro and Fr. Stephen Vaccaro, priests of the Diocese of Arlington.

From Brian Vaccaro, C.Ss.R.:

When Jesus called His twelve apostles, He called them to a radically different way of life. Leaving behind their old ways of living, they were challenged to put their trust in Jesus and follow Him in His work of evangelizing. I can relate to the apostles’ experience because I feel that my own calling to religious life and the priesthood was similar. After having worked for a number of years in a variety of fields, God called me to serve the Church and God’s people in a completely different way – as a Redemptorist and as a priest. On July 23, 2022, the Most Reverend Michael F. Burbidge, Bishop of the Diocese of Arlington, will ordain me to the priesthood, and I will begin a new phase of my ministry to God’s people.

In his work, Dignity and Duties of the Priest, St. Alphonsus Liguori, the founder of the Redemptorists, highlights several important duties of priests. First, priests are to make God known to people, His perfections, His justice, His love, and His mercy. Second, they are to help people to appropriately respect and love God and to deepen their relationship with God. Finally, they are to seek the lost sheep and, when necessary, to give their lives for them.

This understanding of the priesthood was not simply a theoretical ideal for St. Alphonsus. He strove to live it each day of his priesthood, and like St. Alphonsus, my goal is to do the same. I want to be one of God’s holy priests – one who brings the Good News of Jesus to our world; one that helps people to deepen their relationship with God; and one that helps people to experience God’s love, mercy, and concern for them in their lives. As a Redemptorist, I will do this in a unique way in my ministry among the poor and most abandoned of our world.

The apostles trusted Jesus, heeded His call, and joined Him in His work of evangelization. With my ordination to the priesthood, I will begin to serve the Church and God’s people in a new way. I ask that you please pray for me so that I will always be a priest who follows in the footsteps of the apostles and of St. Alphonsus. -


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