December 8th, 2016mass-2

St. Patrick School Community,

Have you ever heard the phrase: “you don’t appreciate what you have until it’s gone”?  Too often in our fast paced and often times cynical society we don’t get the time to really realize and celebrate the blessings that we have until after they are gone.  There is one blessing in all of our lives that I want to make sure we recognize and show our appreciation for.

Today marks the 20th Anniversary of Father Mario Orrigo’s Ordination into priesthood.

“When a man receives Holy Orders, he is configured to Christ, which means that when he carries out his ministerial work he is acting in the power of Christ, and not in his own power. We call this a special grace of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit could be described as God’s power, energy and wisdom. In the most profound way possible, ordination creates a new man, one who, if living his vocation (calling) faithfully, can say with St. Paul: ‘It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.’ (Galatians 2:20)” (Pope Benedict XVI)

I continue to come across so many people in school and the parish that talk to me about their experiences with Father Mario.  I think everyone has a Father Mario story that they can tell.  That speaks volumes to the man he is and how he truly lives out his vocation.  Energized with the power of the Holy Spirit and an embodiment of Christ-like diligence to the community his personality is magnetic and captivating.  I most certainly owe him a tremendous thank you for all the support he has shown me and my family throughout our transition to St. Patrick’s.  It’s always authentic with Father Mario and since the day I first met him I was welcomed into the community as a part of his family.

There is no set timeline for how long Father Mario will be here as the Pastor at St. Patrick School and Church.  I am asked often whether I know or not when Father Mario will be leaving.  As most of us know, pastors and priests are moved around the diocese to utilize their various skills all the time.  With Father Mario’s plentitude of skills, you could imagine that he is probably a pretty sought after commodity.  During this special time for Father Mario on his 20th anniversary, and while we still have him here with us, I hope that we can all take time to pray for him and let him know that the support that he shows all of us is reciprocal.

At the end of the Christmas Pageant on December 16th the students will present Father Mario with a special gift to commemorate his 20th anniversary.  This will be a gift from the entire school community.  We will be accepting donations of any amount from the faculty, staff, parents and students to help purchase the gift.  If you would like to send in a donation, please put it in an envelope labeled 20th Anniversary.  The students in each homeroom will also be making a page for a special hand-made prayer book for Father Mario.

I thank you all in advance and pray that each of you can take the time to reflect upon and appreciate the many more blessings that you have in your life.  Especially during this time of the season when the hustle and bustle and secular social constructs can get in the way of celebrating what this advent season is truly about.  A very Merry Christmas to all of you and may God continue to bless each and every one of your families. Capiche!

With Appreciation,

Anthony Fontana

Principal Letter December 8th, 2016