PROVIDENCE — With the sounds of applause and beautiful music filling the air, the Diocese of Providence welcomed two new priests last Saturday during the traditional Rite of Ordination celebrated at the Cathedral of SS. Peter and Paul.
Ordained to the priesthood were Fathers Albert Peter Marcello III and Donald Andrew Messina.
Father Marcello, the son of Norma (Bizier) and Albert P. Marcello Jr., is a member of Holy Name of Jesus Church, Providence. Father Messina, the son of Dorothy (Garruto) and the late Dominic Messina, is a member of St. Peter Church, Warwick.
Bishop Thomas J. Tobin was the main celebrant of the ordination Mass, which was concelebrated by Archbishop George H. Pearce and Bishops Louis E. Gelineau and Francis X. Roque, and numerous diocesan priests. Bishop Fernando Arecias Rifan of Campo, Brazil, who was visiting Holy Name of Jesus Church, Providence, was also in attendance.
Music for the Ordination Mass was provided by The Gregorian Concert Choir, under the direction of Msgr. Anthony Mancini.
During the Rite of Ordination, the two priest-candidates were called forward by Deacon Derek Puleo, and presented to Bishop Tobin by Father Michael J. Najim, diocesan Director of Vocations. Once the worthiness of the candidates was confirmed, the bishop formally “elected” or chose the candidates for ordination to the presbyterate.
In his homily, Bishop Tobin told those gathered for the ordination that it was “a privilege and a joy” to welcome them to the holy event.
He reminded the ordinandi that the priest is a servant of the people, not one who is set above others.
“A priest promises to pray for and with his people every day,” Bishop Tobin emphasized.
Noting that next week begins the “Year of the Priest” as proclaimed by Pope Benedict XVI, the bishop reminded the congregation that the year will be a time to the faithful to reconfirm their priests and to pray for and encourage more vocations to the priesthood.
The bishop told the new priests that “Jesus is central to the priesthood and ministry” and by following Jesus, they would continue to grow in holiness.
“Your success in your ministry will depend on your personal relationship with Jesus Christ,” Bishop Tobin said. “Keep your eyes fixed on Jesus. Without Christ you can do nothing, but with Christ, all things are possible.
“It is for this day that God created you,” Bishop Tobin added, commending the lives of the ordinandi to the protection of Blessed Mother. He told the new priests to imitate Mary and follow her example of humility.
“If you stay close to Mary, she will lead you to Christ.” Bishop Tobin concluded.
Father Marcello described the ordination as “humbling.“
“The experience of it all leads you to realize what a gift and privilege the priesthood really is,” he acknowledged. The privilege of offering holy Mass—bringing the Eucharist to people — is awe inspiring,” Father Marcello continued. “The ordination was truly the centerpiece of my entire life.”
Father Messina said he was grateful to everyone who had planned or participated in the liturgy.
“It was nothing short of awe-inspiring,” he said. “It was very moving, grace-filled and very exciting.”
Father Messina’s brother, Charles, revealed that he was “ecstatic” and described the Ordination Mass
as “incredibly spiritual.”
“I am very happy for him,” Messina said. “I actually don’t think I know the right words right now.”
He added that Father Messina, 54, had discussed his vocation with his brother many years ago — before he confided in anyone else.
The priest’s mother, Dorothy, emphasized that she was proud of both sons, and recalled that Father
Messina “always wanted to be an engineer” — a career that he enjoyed for many years before answering God’s call.
Norma Marcello noted that Father Marcello began showing signs of an interest in a priestly vocation as a young child.
“I saw this when he was about three years old,” she remembered. Father Marcello’s brother Mark, 22, agreed.
“Albert has been waiting for this for 24 years,” he noted. “I’m glad that he has been able to give me the perspective of a brother and from the church.”
Father Marcello’s father, Albert Jr., noted that he and his wife wre married 28 years ago on une 13 at the former St. Matthew Church, Central Falls.
“We share the same anniversary,” he said proudly.