Other job experience:
Junior high school teacher and Franciscan Brother for 12 years in Diocese of
; administrator of Catholic elementary school in southern California.
Other community posts:
Chaplin at eight senior citizen residences-nursing homes in South Florida; chaplain at Memorial Hospital Group in
; chaplain, Humane Society of
Bachelor's degree in history and religion, Marymount
; postgraduate studies at University of
in New York City, Holyrood Seminary, New York, and St. Andrews Monastery in New York.
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y. South Florida resident since 1989.
What is the Ecumenical Catholic Communion?
It is part of a worldwide movement and in the tradition of the Old Catholic Church, dating back to the time when the Roman Catholic Church declared papal infallibility. The Ecumenical Catholic Communion is very much like the Church of England, where the clergy, laity and the bishops all vote.
How did you get into your vocation?
Growing up in Brooklyn and going to Catholic school, I thought it would be nice to be a teaching brother. Eventually I felt called to be ordained. As I inquired into it, I went to the Old Catholic Church in part, because celibacy and gender were not an issue.
What's the one most mistaken impression about the Ecumenical Catholic Communion?
That we are not Catholic. I have been called a defrocked Catholic priest and a fraud. But we are a Catholic parish because we welcome everyone to the table as Jesus did.
What do you do to relax?
I am a season ticket holder for the Florida Marlins. I also work out at a gym three or four days a week, and maintain property and grounds at the friary. I enjoy spending time with my sister in
and a niece in
Working in the yard, which is my therapy. It connects me with nature, which is part of who St. Francis was.
What book have you been recommending lately?
Radical Grace: Daily Meditations
, by Richard Rohr. It is a spiritual grounding for each day. Another is
On the Road With Francis of Assisi: A Timeless Journey Through Umbria and Tuscany, and Beyond
, by Linda Bird Francke. It is a great book about the places Francis of Assisi traveled and the things he did.
Favorite vacation spot?
If I could, I would get away anywhere to the mountains. But actually, I haven't had a vacation since 1997.
Favorite TV shows?
, because it was a place where everyone was welcome. That is also my vision of the church.
Favorite music? Favorite performer(s)?
I play the piano. I like a lot of soft jazz, Broadway shows and contemporary music.
Do you have a hero?
My dad, who died when I was 19. He was born in Italy, came here at the age of 9 and never completed elementary school. He fell on a subway station in Brooklyn, broke his hip and never healed properly. I don't remember him walking without crutches. He was a self-made man and had his own business. If I could be half the man he was, I would be very blessed.
If you could ask God one question, what would it be?
"Why can't people just get along?"
Your most memorable spiritual experience?
When I celebrated my uncle's funeral liturgy during the communion, we played
What a Wonderful World
. My uncle was a real jazz aficionado, and I felt I had to do that for him.
Motto, or favorite scripture verse?
Matthew 5:9: "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God."
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