Father Stephen M. Grozio, CM is a member of the Eastern Province of Congregation of the Mission, and a graduate of Niagara University. He was ordained in 1978 and in his first assignment he taught religion and mathematics at Archbishop Wood High School in Warminster, Pennsylvania.
In 1981 Fr. Grozio was chosen to do migrant ministry in the Diocese of Kalamazoo, Michigan. This was a missionary work very close to the heart and spirit of St. Vincent de Paul. After learning Spanish, “Padre Esteban”, as he was called, served the Spanish-speaking farmworkers and residents of the diocese and even became a “migrating priest”, accompanying the farmworkers to their towns and villages in Texas, Florida, and Mexico. The words of our Savior, “Whatever you do for the least of these, you do for me,” took on new meaning as he journeyed with these hard working immigrants and attended to their spiritual needs.
A change was in store for Fr. Grozio in 1989. Though he had volunteered for the missions in Panama, he was sent instead to St. John the Baptist Parish, a financially struggling, but spiritually alive parish in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn, New York. There he served as an associate pastor for two years and as pastor for four more. Life in the inner city was quite different from that in the country. Farm labor camps were replaced by tenements, tomato fields by traffic, and blueberry bushes by “brownstone houses”. Urban poverty was different and perhaps even more devastating than the economic poverty of the farmworkers. People needed hope, even more than help. Sitting and talking with the men and families in the soup kitchen was just as important as serving them food and providing them with basic medical care.
Father’s six years in Brooklyn were interrupted by a five-year appointment as Assistant Provincial. Though he had to pull back from hands-on ministry to the poor, he was able to provide support and assistance to the other Vincentian priests and brothers of his province. During this time he was able to travel to Panama several times as a translator for the Provincial and witnessed the work being done by lay and religious members of the Vincentian family there.
In 2000 Fr. Grozio was named the director of the Hispanic Evangelization Team which served the Spanish-speaking communities of five parishes in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. He was also named the Provincial Treasurer of the Eastern Province in 2002, in effect splitting his time between the spiritual needs of the immigrant poor and the financial management which enables the Vincentians to serve them competently.
Since 2007, Fr. Steve has been the director of the Hispanic Apostolate of the South Fork of Long Island, which offers Catholic Mass, sacraments and other services in Spanish in seven parishes on the east end of Long Island. He, Fr. Jesus Arellano, CM, Fr. Cesar Lara, C.M. and Sr. Margaret Smyth, OP on the North Fork serve immigrants from Ecuador, Mexico, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Colombia, El Salvador, and Paraguay, among other countries.
With this quick review of what he has done you can see the wealth of experience he brings to his new ministry.
CMEAST hopes to bring you “Part B” of “Getting to know our new Provincial.” He is understandably in the midst of his own personal transition as well as finding his replacement in his ministry on the South Fork of Long Island. As soon as we can we will share with you an interview as he begins he new ministry.