By Christie L. Chicoine
CS&T Staff Writer

PHILADELPHIA – Pope Benedict XVI has bestowed the title of monsignor upon 17 priests of the Philadelphia Archdiocese and elevated the rank of a current monsignor.

Cardinal Justin Rigali announced the conferral of papal honors Monday, Dec. 14.

“I ask you to join me in giving thanks to the Lord for this honor bestowed upon our brothers and the entire presbyterate of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia,” the Cardinal said in a letter to all priests of the Archdiocese.

Cardinal Rigali will preside at vespers at 5 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 17, at the Cathedral Basilica of SS. Peter and Paul in Philadelphia to publicly acknowledge the papal honors.

A monsignor is a priest below the rank of bishop. Diocesan priests receive the honor by a pope, at the request of the diocesan bishop, in recognition of the outstanding example of their priestly vocation and service to the Church.

Pope Benedict named three priests Prelates of Honor and 14 priests Chaplains of His Holiness. In addition, a priest who had been a Chaplain of His Holiness has been named a Prelate of Honor.

Prelate of Honor and Chaplain of His Holiness are two of the three ranks of “monsignor,” an ecclesiastical title that makes a priest a member of the pontifical household.

The monsignors are as follows:

Prelates of Honor

Msgr. Daniel J. Kehoe, pastor emeritus of Holy Spirit Parish, Sharon Hill, Delaware County (Ordained a priest in 1939, Father Kehoe, 97, is the oldest living diocesan priest in the Philadelphia Archdiocese.)

Msgr. Donald E. Leighton, pastor of St. John Baptist Vianney Parish, Gladwyne, Montgomery County

Msgr. Michael C. Picard, pastor of St. Andrew Parish, Newtown, Bucks County

Chaplains of His Holiness

Msgr. Ralph J. Chieffo, pastor of St. Mary Magdalen Parish, Media, Delaware County

Msgr. Anthony J. D’Angelico, pastor of Our Lady of Good Counsel Parish, Southampton, Bucks County

Msgr. David E. Diamond, vice rector, St. Charles Borromeo Seminary, Wynnewood

Msgr. Paul A. DiGirolamo, pastor, Old St. Mary’s Parish in the Society Hill section of Philadelphia and assistant judicial vicar, archdiocesan Metropolitan Tribunal

Msgr. Joseph P. Gentili, pastor of Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish, Buckingham, Bucks County

Msgr. Charles H. Hagan, pastor of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish, Doylestown, Bucks County

Msgr. Kevin C. Lawrence, regional vicar for Philadelphia-South and pastor of St. Malachy Parish in North Philadelphia

Msgr. Joseph L. Logrip, regional vicar for Philadelphia-North and pastor of Mother of spanine Grace Parish in the Port Richmond section of Philadelphia

Msgr. George A. Majoros, regional vicar for Delaware County and pastor of Our Lady of Fatima Parish, Secane, Delaware County

Msgr. Michael P. McCormac, pastor of St. Frances Cabrini Parish, Fairless Hills, Bucks County

Msgr. Joseph C. McLoone, pastor of St. Katharine Drexel Parish, Chester, Delaware County

Msgr. Gerard C. Mesure, archdiocesan chancellor and pastor of St. Mary Parish, Conshohocken and St. Gertrude Parish, West Conshohocken, Montgomery County

Msgr. Joseph J. Nicolo, pastor of St. Helena Parish, Blue Bell, Montgomery County

Msgr. Patrick E. Sweeney, pastor of St. Eleanor Parish, Collegeville, Montgomery County

From Chaplain of His Holiness to Prelate of Honor

Msgr. Nelson J. Perez, pastor of St. Agnes Parish, West Chester, Chester County

The Cardinal also acknowledged those who were not named monsignor.

“There are, moreover, many other priests of the Archdiocese who would be worthy of such an honor,” the Cardinal concluded in his letter. “To all of these, I express my deep gratitude for their priestly life and ministry.”

CS&T Staff Writer Christie L. Chicoine may be reached at