26 Jubilarians The Salesians celebrated 1,600 years of vocational fidelity—divided among 26 priests and brothers—at the Marian Shrine in Haverstraw, N.Y., on Sunday, Sept. 25.
The jubilarians included 17 men celebrating anniversaries of religious profession: Fr. Bob Savage, 75 years; Frs. Jim Curran, Eugene Palumbo, and Phil Pascucci, 70 years; Fr. Jerzy Schneider, 65 years; Frs. Louis Aineto and Frank Wolfram, and Bro. Andy LaCombe, 60 years; Frs. Tom Dunne, George Harkins, Joseph Ho, and Tito Iannaccio, and Bro. David Iovacchini, 50 years; Bro. Bernie Dubé and Frs. Mark Hyde, Jim McKenna, and Stephen Schenck, 40 years; and Fr. Zgibniew Majcher, 25 years.
The jubilarians also included 14 priests observing ordination jubilees: Fr. Bob Savage, 65 years; Frs. Jim Curran, Eugene Palumbo, and Phil Pascucci, 60 years; Frs. Louis Aineto and Dominic DeBlase, 50 years; Frs. Bob Bauer, Paul Cossette, John Grinsell, Joseph Ho, Frank Kelly, and Jeremiah Reen, 40 years; and Frs. Vincent Paczkowski and David Sajdak, 25 years.
The jubilee observance included the celebration of Mass at the chapel of the Marian Shrine. Fr. Tom Dunne, the provincial of the Salesians’ New Rochelle Province, presided and preached. Fourteen of the 26 jubilarians were able to be present, the others prevented by infirmity, distance, or pastoral commitments.
In addition to the jubilarians there were 34 other concelebrating priests and a deacon. The chapel was filled with several hundred family members, Salesian brothers, Salesian sisters, Salesian Cooperators, former Salesians, past pupils, and other friends of the jubilarians, and faithful who regularly worship at the Shrine on Sundays.
Fr. Dunne’s homily noted that the Sunday gospel involved a response to God’s call, and the prophetic reading pointed to the cost of failing in one’s vocation. For those celebrating an anniversary of religious profession or ordination, he said, these readings were both helpful and sobering. So we can reflect on fidelity in fulfilling our vocation.
For Salesians, Fr. Dunne continued, vocational fidelity entails community, the evangelical vows, and mission. He cited very brief examples from the lives of the jubilarians.
It isn’t just “perseverance,” counting off so many days till a jubilee comes. Fidelity involves struggling through difficulties and growing in one’s vocation. It means saying “yes” to God’s call even after having sometimes said “no”—an ongoing conversion. It means letting go of ourselves and embracing the cross. We appreciate the spirit of sacrifice these 26 confreres have shown over the course of 25, 40, 50, 60, 65, 70, and 75 years, Fr. Dunne said.
A banquet followed, at which Fr. Steve Schenck spoke the gratitude of all the jubilarians. His thanks included the confreres who preceded them in the history of our province, laying the foundation for their vocations and apostolic work; the Congregation that gave them such an excellent education and the opportunity to develop their specific talents for ministry; the young, collaborators in the mission, and other people in their lives; men and women who’ve shown them the real meaning of heroism; and finally, those who’ve “put up with” them in daily community life.
At the dinner the 50-years-professed confreres were presented, on behalf of the Rector Major, with a statuette of Don Bosco. As the senior confrere present, Fr. Phil Pascucci (right, in photo above) presented the statuette to Fr. Tom, and Fr. Tom presented one to Fr. Joseph Ho. Frs. Harkins and Iannaccio and Bro. Iovacchini, who weren’t present, will receive theirs at another time.