Sean Magaldi ’09 almost didn’t come to Adelphi. “I was planning to attend a different university but, at the last minute, something told me I should come to Adelphi instead,” he said. Magaldi has no doubt that he made the right decision. “Adelphi really shaped me,” he said. “It put me on the path to where I am right now.”
In his freshman year, Magaldi met Adelphi Chaplain Father Brian Barr, who asked if he was interested in getting involved in Catholic life on campus. Magaldi, collaborating with several other classmates, went on to establish the Newman Club at Adelphi, an organization whose mission is to bring students into a deeper understanding of the Catholic faith through liturgical, sacramental, social and educational events.
“The Newman Club was a small organization for a long time,” he said. “Over the course of my years at Adelphi, we were trying to develop a real identity for it.” Adelphi’s Newman Club took part in retreats and organized projects in the surrounding area year-round. “We did a lot of local work like volunteer at soup kitchens. We had a senior prom at a Hempstead nursing home. We made visits to Momma’s House, a home for young mothers and their babies. We would go there and help make dinner or spend time with the kids,” he said.
In addition to what he did locally, he also took part in national and international service work. During his undergraduate years, Magaldi and his Adelphi classmates traveled to Kentucky, Philadelphia, New Orleans and Jamaica on mission trips.
In 2009, at the time he was graduating from Adelphi, Magaldi applied to be a campus minister of the Diocese of Rockville Centre, and he was placed in a position at Hofstra University. “Even though I wasn’t working at Adelphi, we collaborated with Adelphi’s campus ministry often,” he said.
In January 2010, the two universities traveled together on a missionary trip to Benque Viejo del Carmen, Belize. “One of the jobs we worked on was laying the foundation of a house,” said Magaldi. “During the trip we had a cement machine for just one day because it was expensive. We worked 13 hours straight, pouring cement to make sure we could finish,” he said. “That was a long day, but a great memory.”
With the experience he had as an undergraduate student at Adelphi, combined with working for a year in this capacity at Hofstra, Magaldi decided he wanted to enter the seminary. “Priesthood was something that had always been in the back of my mind when I was studying at Adelphi,” he said. “I decided if I’m not going to stop thinking about it, I need to give it a chance and see where it takes me.”
He entered the Cathedral Seminary House of Formation in Douglaston, Queens and completed 30 credits in philosophy at St. John’s University. He then moved from the minor seminary to the major seminary to complete his graduate studies in theology. This experience culminated at St. Joseph’s Seminary in Yonkers, New York.
“There are four pillars of formation: academic, human, spiritual, and apostolic,” explained Magaldi. Over the course of several years he did apostolic work, such as hospital ministry, working with students with special needs, and volunteering his time at nursing homes.
In November 2014, he was ordained a deacon. In May 2015 he graduated at the top of his class. In June 2015, he was ordained a Catholic priest for the Diocese of Rockville Centre.
When asked what he is looking forward to most, his answer was simple: being with people. “I completed another five years of schooling after graduating from Adelphi,” he said. “At this point, I am ready go get out there and work with people.”
“The little experiences I’ve been able to have outside the classroom have been very humbling. I have found that, as a priest, people trust you with things they wouldn’t necessarily trust anyone else with. You are there for people in their happiest moments and in their saddest moments…you are a part of their lives in a very special and unique kind of way,” he said.
He is currently the associate pastor at St. Patrick’s Church in Smithtown and the Catholic chaplain at Stony Brook University. “I’m excited to finally be able to take everything that I’ve learned, take the joy that I have from this work and from my belief in God, and to bring that to people.”