2018 Grand Marshal
Father Sean Gann
Father Sean J. Gann to lead Kings Park Parade
The Kings Park St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee is pleased to announce the selection of Fr. Sean J. Gann, Pastor of St. Joseph’s Church, in Kings Park, as the 2018 Grand Marshal, for the St. Patrick’s Day Parade. The parade, to be held on Saturday, March 3, 2018, promises to showcase more than 100 bagpipe bands, marching bands, floats, organizations and businesses, making it the largest St. Patrick’s Day parade on Long Island. Fr. Sean will be honored at the Parade Committee’s annual “Grand Marshal Ball,” on Friday, November 17, 2017, at Flowerfields.
The Parade Committee noted that Fr. Sean more than met the requirements for selection of Grand Marshal. Fr. Sean immense popularity springs from the combination of compassion, concern and affability that he imbued in his pastoral duties. Upon his selection as Grand Marshal, congregants from three parishes commented on his “approachability,” as Fr. Sean makes them feel important, comforted and welcome. Parade Committee member Kevin Malloy said, “Fr. Sean has led a movement whereby many younger adults joining St. Joseph’s Church.” Fr. Sean has become an integral member in the lives of his parishioners, at St. Joseph’s Church, (Kings Park), as well as in the lives of parishioners at St Lawrence the Martyr (Sayville) and Christ the King (Commack). His innate senses of piety, compassion and humor resonate with everyone with whom he meets. Parade Committee member Colleen Shivers noted, “Fr. Sean is highly regarded by the entire Kings Park community!” For many years, he has served as Chaplain to the Suffolk County Police Emerald Society, whose pipe band is the first to march in the Kings Park parade, each year. In addition, Fr. Sean also serves as Chaplain to: the Suffolk County Police Pipe Band, the United Emerald Firefighters, the Knights of Columbus, the Smithtown Division of the Ancient Order of Hibernians, and the Catholic Daughters of America.
Roy Starke, a member of the Parade Committee noted that Fr. Sean “was instrumental in establishing an ecumenical service, for Thanksgiving, in conjunction with other local parishes.” Rev. Schoepflin, of the Lutheran Church of Abiding Presence (Fort Salonga) stated, “It’s been great working with Fr. Sean on the Thanksgiving service. I look forward to other opportunities to work with him.”
Fr. Sean’s mother, Mary (nee Ryan) Gann, emigrated to America from St. Mullins, County Carlow, Ireland at the age of twelve, to live with a maternal aunt in Kings Park NY, where she attended the St. Joseph’s Parochial School. Like many other Irish émigrés in Kings Park, she went to work at the Kings Park Psychiatric Hospital. Fr. Sean, born on December 11, 1964, was baptized at St. Joseph’s Church. After the family moved to Centereach, he graduated from Centereach High School, later attending Johnson and Wales University. During his formative years, Fr. Sean developed a strong understanding of a calling to the priesthood. Sean entered the College Seminary in Douglaston, Queens in 1985. Upon his graduation, he continued his studies at the Immaculate Conception Seminary, in Huntington. From the original twenty-one men who entered in 1985, Father Sean was the only one in the group to be ordained nine years later.
Fr. Sean was ordained by Bishop John McGann, at St. Agnes Cathedral, in Rockville Center, on May 28, 1994. He was assigned to St. Lawrence the Martyr parish, in Sayville, where he served for five very rewarding years. In 1999, Fr. Sean was transferred to Christ the King parish, in Commack, serving its parishioners for nine happy years, before being appointed pastor of St. Joseph’s Church, in Kings Park, in June of 2008. Ironically, Fr. Sean’s installation as pastor was officiated by Msgr. T. Peter Ryan, the same priest who baptized Father Sean forty-four years earlier! The Suffolk County Police Emerald Society selected Father Sean as its “2013 Irishman of the Year,” whereby he was honored by leading the members of the Emerald Society in the New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Recently, Fr. Sean was a recipient of the “John Barry Medal,” presented by the Ancient Order of Hibernians Kevin Barry Division 3, Smithtown, in recognition of his support and fidelity to the AOH.
Fr. Sean, according to his mother, Mary Gann, states, “Sean loves everything about Ireland, its culture, history and music.” (In fact, Fr. Sean recently returned from a visit to Ireland.) She and the entire Gann clan are quite proud of his achievements, pointing out that her son enjoys presiding over the mass for Our Lady of Knock, held each August. Kevin Johnston, a member of the Parade Committee stated, “Fr. Sean has developed a tremendous rapport with his parishioners. His takes the requisite time to establish ties with people, as he is a good listener and trusted counselor. The Kings Park St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee takes great pride in its selection of Fr. Sean Gann as “2018 Grand Marshal.”