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Parish Life
Parish Leadership

Meet the Pastor and Clergy

Our Pastor, Very Rev. Patrick Woods, C.Ss.R.

Father Patrick Woods is a native of Brooklyn, New York, raised in the parish of the Basilica of Our Lady of Perpetual Help. After making his first vows as a Redemptorist in 1968, Father Woods attended St. Alphonsus College in Suffield, Connecticut, majoring in philosophy, and received his final four years of seminary training at Mount Saint Alphonsus Seminary in Esopus, New York where he received a Master of Divinity and a Master of Religious Education. Father Woods was ordained as a priest in June 1975 and then, after earning a Master’s Degree in English at Fordham University, taught for ten years at the very high school seminary he had attended near Erie, Pennsylvania. During his time teaching, Father Woods also earned a Master of Science in Guidance and Counseling from Gannon University. Father Woods previously served as the Director of Formation at Holy Redeemer College in Washington, D.C. and was elected Provincial Vicar of the Baltimore Province, a position he held for twelve years, before serving as Provincial Superior for six years.  Father Woods served as pastor at St. Martin of Tours in Bethpage, Long Island for eight years before coming to St. Mary’s. 

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  • Clergy

    Rev. Alistair Elias, C.Ss.R. 
    Father Alistair Joseph Elias is 39 years old and comes from the Caribbean island of Grenada.  Number 11 of 12 children, Fr. Elias was born to Monica Elias and Albert Thomas.  He attended school from kindergarten through high school and taught at a high school before entering the Redemptorist Congregation at the age of 22 in the year 2002.  Fr. Elias began his formation on the U.S. Virgin Island of St. Croix and in 2004 moved to New York where he obtained a bachelor’s degree in Philosophy and Theology.  After his undergraduate studies, Fr. Elias went to the novitiate in Glenview, Illinois from July 2007 to July 2008.  He took his first vows as a Redemptorist on August 1, 2008. After his novitiate, Fr. Elias was sent to Trinidad and Tobago in the Caribbean until September 2009 when he went to Boston to obtain his Master of Divinity degree at Boston College.  Fr. Elias took his final vows on August 16, 2011, and on October 6, 2012, was ordained to the diaconate at Boston College. On June 3, 2013, he was ordained to the priesthood in Grenada and then was assigned to St. Lucia, Dominica and now St. Mary's Annapolis. Fr. Elias looks forward to serving the parishioners of St. Mary’s.

    Rev. John Harrison, C.Ss.R.
    Father John Harrison, C.Ss.R., has been ordained 56 years, is a native Annapolitan who attended St. Mary’s Elementary School and served here from 2005 to 2015. He spent 16 years in Brazil, mostly in seminary education. Other service posts include Ellicott City, Odenton, and Seaford, DE. Father John most recently served for 8 years in health care at the St. John Neumann Residence at Stella Maris in Timonium.
    Rev. Michael Houston, C.Ss.R.
    Fr. Mike Houston grew up in a small town near Lancaster, Pennsylvania, also known as the Amish Country. He has a great respect for the Amish, and believes that their deep faith and strong sense of community had an influence on his desire to enter into the religious life. Many of the seeds of his vocation were planted by the Church and school he attended during his youth, both of which were run by the Redemptorist Fathers.  After completing high school and working various part-time and full-time jobs, he worked for 8 years on the shipping docks of the Dart Container Corp. located in Leola, PA; he believes that his years on the shipping docks have served him well in ministry, giving him a strong work ethic. After having a dramatic conversion experience in his early 20s, he felt the call to serve the Lord as a Redemptorist priest.  After his ordination to the priesthood in May of 1998, he was immediately sent to the Caribbean where he served for nearly 13 years. He studied Spanish in Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic and was then stationed on the island of St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands where he served for 6 years as a missionary.  He then served as a pastor, house superior, and Episcopal Vicar of the Western Vicariate in the Roseau diocese on the island of Dominica in the West Indies for 5 years, and served a short time on St. Lucia before being transferred to St. Gerard parish in Lima, OH where he was stationed as an associate pastor for 8 years.  He then served as an associate pastor  in St. Gerard’s in San Antonio Texas for 2 years.  Fr. Mike has experience working on Redemptorist Missions in both the Caribbean and the U.S.  Prior to his ordination, he did his pastoral internship at the shrine of St. Anne-de-Beaupre’ in Quebec, Ca. and he has been involved in both Hispanic (including migrant) ministry and the charismatic renewal.  He enjoys teaching adult religious ed.  He also has experience in youth ministry and as a guitarist for various musical ensembles.  In his spare time, he enjoys the occasional ride on his Harley and has a real passion for playing blues and jazz improvisation on the guitar. Father Mike has had a special devotion to Blessed Francis X. Seelos who was once stationed here in Annapolis.
    Rev. John McKenna, C.Ss.R.
    Father John McKenna, a native of Brooklyn New York, professed his first Redemptorist Vows in 1970 after studying for the Priesthood at St. Mary’s Seminary in North East Pennsylvania and St. Mary’s College in Ellicott City, Maryland. Father McKenna holds a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy from Saint Alphonsus College as well as a Masters in Religious Education and a Masters in Divinity from Mount Saint Alphonsus. He was officially ordained as a priest in 1977 by Cardinal Terrance Cooke and assigned by the Baltimore Province of the Redemptorists to work in the Vice Province of San Juan, Puerto Rico in 1978. While in Puerto Rico, Father McKenna served in many Redemptorist parishes including in Mayaguez, Caguas, Guayama and San Lorenzo before returning to the United States and taking a sabbatical at the Catholic Theological Union in Chicago in 1999. Father McKenna has previously served at Parish of Immaculate Conception in the Bronx, New York; Parish of St. Martin of Tours in Bethpage, New York; Parish of Our Lady of Lourdes in Seaford Delaware as pastor; and most recently, at Parish of the Basilica of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Brooklyn, New York.

    Rev. Hever Sanchez, C.Ss.R. 

    Rev. Joy Poonoli, C.Ss.R.
    Father Joy Poonoli, C.Ss.R., was born in Kerala, India, and raised in a devout Catholic family of eight children; one brother is a priest and one sister is a religious nun. He was ordained in 1993 and assigned to a Redemptorist parish. He then served in many different positions including the mission team, vicar, rector and the prefect of the major seminarians. Fr. Joy chose to be a missionary working together with the Baltimore Province and was assigned as the associate pastor of a parish in Lima, OH and the chaplain of the prison there. While serving in Lima, he was elected as the Provincial of the Liguori Province of the Redemptorists in India. After 8 years as provincial, he took a sabbatical for one year and then worked as the pastor in a parish in India for two years. In July 2023, Fr. Joy was invited by the Baltimore Province of the Redemptorists to join the parish pastoral team at St. Mary’s and to work as the chaplain in the Hospital at Annapolis.
    Rev. Clement Vadakkedath, C.Ss.R. 
    Fr. Clement Vadakkedath, C.Ss.R., was born in Kerala, India. He grew up in a devout Catholic family of seven children (five boys and two girls) and joined the Redemptorists as a teenager and graduated from the Jesuit College in Bangalore, India. He was professed a Redemptorist on June 27, 1982, the feast of Our Mother of Perpetual Help. Fr. Clement was ordained a priest on April 19, 1990, and was attached to a Redemptorist parish in Mumbai then moved back to Kerala to join the mission band which gave him a wide experience of preaching missions and evangelizing people from different walks of life. In 1996, he was appointed as the formator of Redemptorist minor seminarians while serving as consultor on the provincial team. Fr. Clement obtained his licentiate in Moral theology in 2000 and a Doctorate in 2004 from the Alphonsian Institute of Higher Studies, Rome. On his return from Rome, he began teaching moral Theology in the Redemptorist Major Seminary where he studied and also served as a member of the board of trustees of the Alphonsian Academy, Rome. In the following year, he was elected Provincial of the Liguori Province of the Redemptorists in India. On completion of his term as Provincial in 2011, he chose to work together with the Baltimore Province of the Redemptorists and was assigned as pastor of Fatima Parish in Dominica of the English-speaking Caribbean islands. He moved to Our Lady of Lourdes, Seaford, Delaware in 2015 as pastor and when the Redemptorists handed over the care of the parish to the Diocese of Wilmington in 2019, he was asked to join the parish pastoral team at St. Mary’s.

    Deacon Steve House
    Deacon Steve House has been assigned to St. Mary’s since July of 2021. He and his wife, Rochelle, moved to Annapolis from Columbus, Indiana, in June, 2016. He is a retired psychologist, having practiced psychology for over 30 years.  His wife is a retired high school guidance director. They have been happily married for 46 years.  They have three children. One son's family live in Leesburg, Virginia. A second son and family live in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. They live with their daughter here in Annapolis. Their move from Indiana brought them closer to their children and 7 granddaughters. Although he grew up in Philly, he lived in Indiana for 35 years. The move to Maryland was planned but probably hastened by the fact that their daughter has Natalie, a 7 year old special needs child. Deacon Steve was ordained in the Archdiocese of Indianapolis in 2012. He has participated in men’s ministry, prison ministry,youth ministry and music ministry. The church has been a big part of his and his wife’s lives. The diaconate has been a perfect fit for his spiritual needs. It is a beautiful gift from God.  To be able to serve others is a fulfilling way to live out his Christian vocation. Deacon Steve is happy to be a part of the St. Mary’s parish family.  

    Deacon Leroy Moore

    Deacon Moore was ordained in July of 1988 by Archbishop William Borders, D.D. He currently is focused only on Diaconate ministry: baptisms, weddings, funerals, and St. Mary's Elementary School K-2 prayer services. An Annapolitan, Deacon Moore is the proud parent of six children; all five of his daughters are graduates of St. Mary's High School. He has greater joy in being Grandpa to 12 grandchildren, with his wife Kathleen.

    Deacon Anthony Norcio, JCL
    Deacon Norcio was ordained in 1996 by William Cardinal Keeler. Deacon Norcio is a canon lawyer and is a Judge on the Metropolitan Tribunal of the Archdiocese of Baltimore. He served as the Assistant Director of Clergy Personnel for Deacon Formation for 22 years and has served as a Master of Ceremonies at Archdiocesan liturgies. He was previously assigned to St. Mary’s for 16 years and for seven years at St. Andrew by the Bay. He has a Ph.D., a Licentiate in Canon Law (JCL), and a MA in Systematic Theology as well as Graduate Certificates in Biblical Studies and Advanced Biblical Studies. He is a Professor Emeritus of Information Systems at UMBC. His family has been in St. Mary’s parish since 1979. His wife, Ellie, retired from St. Mary’s Elementary School after 22 years. He has two daughters, who attended St. Mary’s School, and four grandchildren.

    Deacon George Russell is a tutor at St. John's College, Annapolis, and a native of Brooklyn, New York. He is the husband of Mary Ellen Russell, Director of the Maryland Catholic Conference, and the father of four sons, two of whom are married, Daniel and Sarah, Tobias and Margaret, Luke and James. He and his family, which includes four grandchildren, have lived in St. Mary's Parish since 1995.

  • In Residence

    Rev. Eric Hoog, C.Ss.R.
    Ordained in 1973, Father Eric Hoog has had assignments in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and St. Croix in the US Virgin islands before receiving permission to enter the military as a Navy Chaplain.  Fr. Hoog served as a Navy Chaplain from 1998 until 2007, when he was honorable discharged with the rank of Lieutenant Commander.  He is currently a part-time civilian RC priest at the US Naval Academy.

    Rev. Peter Vang Cong Tran, C.Ss.R. 
    Father Vang entered the Redemptorist seminary in Vietnam in 1962. At the fall of Saigon in 1975, as a Redemptorist novice he left Vietnam by helicopter during the last evacuation, and settled down Jacksonville, Florida. In 1976 he entered the Noviciate in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin as a member of the Vice Province of Richmond.  Father Vang attended St. Alphonsus College in Suffield, Connecticut from 1977 to 1979 and then moved on to Mount Saint Alphonsus Seminary in Esopus, New York from 1979 to 1983, where he received a Master of Theology and Religious Education. In 1983, Father Vang was ordained a priest in Esopus, New York, and stationed at his first assignment at Our Lady of Perpetual Help church in Opa-Locka, Florida where he founded the Vietnamese community.  He was transferred to Concord, North Carolina in 1989 where he helped start the first Vietnamese community. In 1997, Father Vang served as Chaplain in the detention centers for the boat people of Hong Kong. In 1998, after the camps were closed, he returned to the United States, and began preaching parish missions to Vietnamese and Americans throughout the country while based in Hampton, Virginia. In 2009, Father Vang was transferred to North Carolina, helping out at the parishes of Saint James the Greater and St. Joseph Catholic Church, and ministering to the Montagnards in Raleigh and the Karenni (Myanmar) in Winston Salem. On August 1, 2019 he was transferred to St. Mary’s to serve as a missionary for the Vietnamese ministry.  He also started a Redemptorist mission to the Montagnards in the Highlands of Vietnam, in 1998, which remains his primary ministry to this day. Father Vang started a non-profit organization to to serve the Montagnards named Viet Toc Foundation (www.viettoc.org).