Ordination was not the end for Sal but rather a beginning to be part of the daily lives of others. He yearned to embrace the role of Priesthood, not from any pedestal because it was never a question of his worthiness. Some of his classmates had more easily adapted to the seminary and the process fit them like a glove. However, the seminary was most difficult for him despite the endless value of being in the presence of so many wonderful persons. Sal’s life had been enriched by classmates and teachers, but he was glad to be able to experience more freedom of thought and practice. In essence he was the typical Italian male that viewed all rules as suggestions.
His first mass was the high point of the last few days, and as he walked from the rear of the church to the main altar each pew was filled with persons that had been vital in his life. He was thrilled that so many of his relatives and friends attended the mass and reception. One of the neighborhood wits Jimmy Colgan in typical city fashion said’The National Guard had to be called out to protect looting from homes of all of the citizens ,because they were all at Sal’s first mass.It truly was a marvelous experience ,and Sal felt humbled by the reverence and love that was showered on him..
The next two weeks were a whirlwind, and it was so new and exciting but he could not wait to hear where he would be serving. Finally the day came ,and he was informed that he was to be assigned to Holy Trinity Parish in Westbury. Hearing those words, despite his usual upbeat approach to life, hit Sal 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, Sal had a long chat with himself, and decided that if this was the place that he was assigned then he would make it the best assignment in the class. It did not take him 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 Sal realized that Westbury was a place where he could have meaning and purpose..