Whew!!! The whirlwind weekend with the celebration of the ordination to the priesthood of Fr. Paulo Puccini is over. We not only survived intact, but we pulled off a complicated choreography of sacrament and celebration that was TOTALLY AWESOME! There was a wonderful dinner prepared by Paulist in-house chef extraordinaire, Fr. Larry Rice, CSP, on Friday evening, hosting Paolo’s family and visiting classmate, Fr. Evan Commings, CSP. On Saturday we had a wonderful celebration of ordination presided over by Bishop Joe Vasquez, with added video congratulations from Paulist President Fr. Eric Andrews, CSP. And Sunday saw Fr. Paulo’s First Mass of Thanksgiving right here at 8:45, with Fr. Larry Rice doing a great job on the homily. Finally, to wrap it all up there was an exuberant and fun congratulatory “drive by” by many parishioners on our blacktop playground. Organized by the Knights of Columbus it went smoothly and was totally fun. Even the weather cooperated with the rain holding off for the reception in the courtyard and the drive-by. Truly the Holy Spirit was present in this event.
CONGRATULATIONS to Fr. Paolo Puccini, CSP. We are so happy that he is assigned here as a third priest on our parish staff. If all goes as planned, he will be here for four years, much as Fr. Steven Bell was here his first four years of priesthood, and Fr. Rene Constanza was here his first four years of priesthood. I am especially happy that Fr. Rich Andre will continue to be with us for at least another year. Beyond that, who can say???
Many thanks to all who helped to make this whole weekend such a beautiful, moving, holy and fun experience. It was truly memorable. It is a real feather in the St. Austin cap! With the live-streaming of the ordination and the First Mass I think we impressed Paulists around the country as well as ourselves. So, a BIG THANK YOU to all of you who helped in any way to make this past weekend so memorable and successful. You are way too many to name. This event was truly a community event that required a community effort, and you all came through in spades! THANK YOU!!!
Thanks to the diligent work of our parish archivist, Ms. Mary Lou Gibson, I have subsequently learned that Fr. Paolo is NOT the first Paulist to be ordained at St. Austin Parish. That honor goes to Fr. William Blakeslee, CSP. Mary Lou sent me the following:
Here is an excerpt Fr.om “The History of St. Austin’s Parish, 1908 – 1947”
“In 1925 Fr. William Cartwright came as Pastor. It was during Father Cartwright’s pastorate that St. Austin’s experienced a great joy in the ordination of her first priest, one of her first altar boys, the first native son to be elevated to the Holy Priesthood. William Blakeslee, son of Judge and Mrs. William Blakeslee, having completed his studies at the Paulist Seminary, was ordained in St. Austin’s Chapel, through special dispensation, by the Rt. Rev. Christopher E. Bryne.”
So, Fr. Puccini is NOT the first Paulist to be ordained in this parish, though he is the first to be ordained in this church building. Obviously, we have a tradition going! Please continue to pray for more vocations to Paulist priesthood, and that we may in the future soon celebrate another priestly ordination here at St. Austin Parish.