Wednesday, 03 July 2013 14:00
Father Christopher Costigan has been assigned to the position of Associate Pastor of the Church of Saint Mary, effective June 26, announced Reverend Monsignor John J. McGann, pastor.
Father Christopher Costigan was raised in Oceanside and attended Saint Christopher’s Church and Elementary School in Baldwin. As a 1998 graduate of Chaminade High School, Costigan attended the University of Notre Dame and graduated with a degree in government and international studies in 2002, minoring in philosophy and theology. He worked for one year as an emergency medical technician, entering the Seminary of the Immaculate Conception in Huntington in 2003 to study for the priesthood. He was ordained on June 14, 2008 and was assigned by Bishop William F. Murphy to Saint Bernard’s parish in Levittown.
Costigan realized his calling to the vocation, saying “It was a gradual process that always seemed to be in the back of my mind.” A blend of priests served as examples for him from the time he was an altar server on. “It was actually Holy Thursday night, my sophomore year in college at Notre Dame,” he recalled. “I was very involved in the Basilica there, so it was at that Mass when I made the decision to see the vocation director.”
The seminary years were quite different from his first assignment. Not only was he still learning to be a priest, he was learning about the parish and the people. He pointedly recalls that he had to “jump right in with both feet” to minister to the people at St. Bernard’s. “It was very real,” he said, when they celebrated the funeral Masses of 12 parishioners under the age of 25 in his first few years at the parish, and the families were seeking a source of strength and an emotional support.
He has adjusted very well to preaching and finds “the heard of everything” in the oft-referenced Bible verse from Luke 9:22-23, when Jesus says “If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” “Priests often refer to it,” Costigan notes, “because we don’t always get everything our way.”
Costigan is grateful for his time at St. Bernard’s parish, noting how kind the parishioners have been to him over the years. He is looking forward to his ministry at Saint Mary’s and the ability to work with the school community as well as the parishioners, since St. Bernard’s school had closed shortly after his arrival there.
He has been a member of the Oceanside Fire Department since 1998 and was appointed Department Chaplain in 2008, still serving in that capacity today. He is also the Chaplain for North Bellmore and Point Lookout Fire Departments.
Reflecting on the past year, the new pastor commented on what it was like as a priest and firefighter, witnessing people working together to help one another after Hurricane Sandy. “The Department was on 24 hour standby since the day before the storm. That status continued for over 1.5 months,” he explained. “I was struck by the generosity of the people in Oceanside, as well as many people who immediately came to assist from surrounding towns and upstate New York.”
In addition to being a volunteer firefighter, Costigan enjoys rooting for the New York Yankees, New York Jets, and the New York Islanders in addition to his “Fighting Irish.”