By Father C.J. Wateikus

Pastor, St. Ann Parish, Lenox

 Photos by Carole Quinn

Fr. C.J.

We at St. Ann Parish honored a good man with a special ceremony recently. We unveiled a plaque in honor of the late Benedictine Father Anthony Michael Cacciola.

Our parish hall, which opened in April, 2007, was dedicated to Father Cacciola.

His father and mother were instrumental in the beginning of our new parish center and so the parish council voted to recognize him and the efforts of his family.

Joe and Kay Cacciola, proud parents of Father Anthony

However, our Deacon George Keator noticed we didn’t have a picture of Father Cacciola.

Deacon George and Father C.J.

We talked about it and decided that it would be a good idea to put up a plaque in his honor.

Again, we went to the parish council. And they once again voted unanimously to approve the plaque.

The very next day, I got in the mail a brochure from a company that makes plaques.

They come in a whole variety. And then I saw the one from this company in Oklahoma.

It was perfect.

Then I got the idea of approaching his friends and asking them if they would like to contribute to the purchase of this.

The response was immediate and overwhelming. So, the purchase of it was borne by friends of the family. I mailed the company a picture which was taken when he became a monk.

Many who loved Father Cacciola attended the 4 p.m. Mass.

A grateful congregation

Benedictine Father Mark Cooper, from the Benedictine Abbey in Manchester, N.H. con-celebrated. He brought down the vestments that Father Anthony wore for his First Mass. These were made by his mother and the the chalice was made by his father. They are kept at the St. Anselm Community.

Benedictine Father Mark Cooper

Father Cacciola was born July 12, 1961 and died Feb. 13, 1990 at the age of 28. He was ordained June 24, 1989.

It was in was in his last year of the seminary that he became ill. He had a seizure one day and it ended up being a brain tumor.

He was ordained knowing his time was limited.

His brothers, Joe  and Bobby unveiled the actual plaque.

The unveiling

Fr. Anthony remembered

And a whole pew was filled with young and happy well-wishers.

A parish potluck dinner coincided with the event so there was more celebration after the liturgy and a chance to visit.

Mary Farley and her baby daughter returned from New Hampshire to sing a favorite song of the Cacciola family. She joined with fellow musicians Sandy Morley and Art DeVylder.

The dedication of the plaque was like a cherry on a cake. It was wonderful to dedicate the building to this young man. It was great to have this plaque to visualize and honor him. But it also is wonderful to  honor his parents who are so dedicated to St. Anne Parish. His father assists so much. He is constantly doing work for the parish.

When Joe and Kay they found out we were doing this they were deeply touched an honored that their son’s image would be in the building.

The plaque unveiling was a chance for the St. Ann community to gather and honor a young priest and his family. It also was a way for the parish to celebrate its new parish center, once again. And it was our community’s way of thanking Joe and Kay Cacciola for all that they have given to St. Ann’s.

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