May 1, 2024 at 12:35 p.m.

LAST STEPS OF THE JOURNEY

As his ordination nears, Deacon Tom Fallati sees his priestly ministry as a gift
Deacon Tom Fallati spent his pastoral year at the St. Kateri Tekakwitha Parish in Schenectady and is shown with Father Robert Longobucco, pastor.
Deacon Tom Fallati spent his pastoral year at the St. Kateri Tekakwitha Parish in Schenectady and is shown with Father Robert Longobucco, pastor.

By Deacon Tom Fallati | Comments: 0 | Leave a comment

For my prayer card for my upcoming ordination to the priesthood, I chose a quotation from Psalm 116 that expresses my gratitude to the Lord: “How can I repay the Lord for all the good done for me? I will raise the cup of salvation and call on the name of the Lord.”  (Ps. 116:12-13) It serves to remind me that my priestly ministry will be a gift that I am simply offering back to the Lord.

SAVE THE DATE

The combined Priesthood and Diaconate Ordination will take place on Saturday, May 18, at 11 a.m., at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Albany. Deacons Thomas Fallati, Adam Feisthamel, Paul McDonald, Anthony Onu and Joseph Tuan Pham will be ordained to the priesthood, and Eric Ramirez will be ordained to the permanent diaconate. You can watch the ordination live at www.rcda.org/livestream. Watch for more Vocation Voices stories in coming editions of The Evangelist as we near ordination. Next week we will hear from Deacons Feisthamel and Onu. 

As I approach ordination to the priesthood on May 18 and write this final installment as a seminarian, I look back on the final steps of formation over this past year with gratitude. I have had the privilege of concluding my formation with a pastoral year at St. Kateri Tekakwitha parish in Schenectady with Father Bob Longobucco.

My experience started in the fall with the opportunity to share in the celebration of Father Bob’s 25th anniversary. In the joy and appreciation I saw in so many parishioners, I was reminded how relationships form the foundation of priestly ministry.

And my service here has allowed me to build relationships with parishioners. This is the goal of a pastoral year, allowing a seminarian to gain a deeper exposure to parish life and priestly routines, to take what we have learned in theological studies and bring it into our encounters with others.

This pastoral year has been especially rewarding because I was ordained a deacon in November. As a deacon, I have been able to deliver homilies, celebrate baptisms and conduct funeral services.

Some of the pastoral experiences have also pushed me in new directions. Fielding questions from grade-school students in the parish school and giving church tours to second-graders certainly challenged me! And parish ministry brings encounters in so many different contexts: discussing prayer with Confirmation candidates, sharing faith experiences with engaged couples preparing for marriage, meeting with family members who are preparing for a loved-one’s funeral. The days can be so varied, and throughout it all I continue to find myself renewed seeing the Lord’s presence in so many ways and through so many people.

Most of all, being rooted in a parish community has allowed me to work alongside Father Bob and to learn concretely about priestly ministry. And he has served as a mentor to me, offering me advice that has helped shape my understanding of priestly life. No doubt, after ordination I will continue to grow in living out priestly ministry, but I can do so on the foundation of this past year.

When I recently saw the proof for my ordination prayer card, it was the first time that I saw my name with the title “Father” in print. Until now, when asked “What do you do?” I typically have said that after a career in law I am pursuing a new path as a seminarian of the Diocese of Albany. The prayer card visibly reminded me that after ordination, priesthood will be my new identity. And that priestly ministry will simply be a repayment to the Lord for all of the good that he has done for me.

Deacon Tom Fallati is a seminarian of the Diocese of Albany and a parishioner at St. Pius X Church in Loudonville.


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