Over the weekend, we learned that Brooklyn’s auxiliary bishop Guy Sansaricq entered eternal life. Many in Brooklyn are heartbroken. Here was a good and holy man and a wonderful priest, beloved by so many here and in his native Haiti. In all my dealings with him, I was always struck by his generosity, his gentleness, his thoughtfulness. His warm smile never failed to lift people’s hearts. He was a spiritual father to many in my diocese.
Bishop Guy Sansaricq, a retired auxiliary of the Diocese of Brooklyn and the first Haitian-born bishop in the United States, died Saturday at age 86.
“He was a symbol of the progress of the Haitian people here and, as someone who served as a bishop, gave the Haitian community some recognition and stature as immigrant people, a ministry he served very well,” Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio of Brooklyn said.
Bishop Sansaricq died Aug. 21 at the rectory of St. Gregory the Great Church in Crown Heights, Brooklyn.
The bishop was born in Jérémie, Haiti, Oct. 6, 1934 to a devout Catholic family. Feeling a call to the priesthood as a teenager, he was ordained a priest June 29, 1960 for the Diocese of Les Cayes. He had studied at Saint Paul’s Seminary in Ottawa, where he earned his licentiates in philosophy and theology.
Father Sansaricq was assigned to serve as chaplain for Haitian immigrants in the Bahamas, ministering from the Benedictine Priory of St. Francis in Nassau, a post he would serve at for seven years. He later won a scholarship to study social sciences at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, where he received a master’s degree in 1971.
He began ministry in the Brooklyn diocese in 1977, and Sansaricq served as national director of Haitian Ministry since 1987. He was incardinated into the Brooklyn diocese in 1991.
He spoke English, French, and Creole, and was named a Prelate of Honor in 1999.
In 2006 he was consecrated a bishop, and appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Brooklyn. He retired in 2010 at age 76.
After the devastating 2010 earthquake in Haiti— from which the island is still recovering to this day— Bishop Sansaricq was named to a Haiti Advisory Group created by the U.S. bishops to aid in the Church’s response. Several members of the group visited Haiti a few months after the quake to assess the damage.
U.S. bishops called for special prayer services and vigils immediately after the quake, and asked all dioceses to take up a collection for immediate emergency needs, leading to some $30 million donated to a Haiti Relief Collection fund within weeks of the disaster.
The brief video below has more.