Ordination was not the end for me but rather a beginning to be part of the daily lives of others. I yearned to embrace the role of Priesthood not from any pedestal because it was never a question of my worthiness. The seminary was most difficult for me despite the endless value of being in the presence of so many wonderful persons. My life had been enriched by classmates and teachers but I was glad to be able to experience more freedom of thought and practice. In essence I wa…s the typical Italian male that viewed all rules as suggestions.
My first mass was a thrill and so many of my relatives and friends attended the mass and the reception. One of my friends Jimmy Colgan in typical city fashion said’The National Guard had to be called out to protect looting of all of the citizens because they were all at Tag’s first mass.It truly was a marvelous experience ,and I felt humbled by the reverence and love that was showered on me.
The next two weeks were filled with joy and fulfillment. It was truly a whirlwind and it was so new and exciting, but I could not wait to hear where I would be serving. Finally the day came and I was informed that I was to be assigned to Holy Trinity Parish in Westfield. Hearing those words despite my usual upbeat approach to life hit me like a sledgehammer. It was common knowledge that some assignments were one way tickets to the clerical merry go round that leads to one difficult assignment after another. HolyTrinity was known in clerical circles as one of”The stations of the Cross.” The pastor went through curates year after year and then they would be transferred to another station of the cross parish.
After the initial disappointment I had a long chat with myself and decided that if this was the place that I was assigned then I would make it the best assignment in my class. It did not take me long to realize that despite an aging Pastor who thought the world had gone to hell the parish was filled with marvelous human beings. Almost instantly I realized that Westfield was a place where I could thrive and have some meaning to my life.