A local parish is celebrating one of their own becoming an archdiocesan priest.
Timothy Cardinal Dolan ordained Fr. Louis Masi, 27, who grew up in Throggs Neck and was a parishioner of St. Theresa of the Infant Jesus parish in Pelham Bay, on Saturday, May 26 at St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
Masi celebrated his first Mass along with 30 to 40 other priests, family and friends at St. Theresa’s the following day.
Fr. Robert Grippo, the church’s former pastor of 23 years who remembered the new priest from when he was a parish school student and volunteer, gave the homily during the St. Theresa Mass recalling Masi’s attention to detail and humorous anecdotes, according to attendees.
Much of Masi’s faith, said the new priest, began in his family, including his parents Louis and Angelina and his sister Christina, and at St. Theresa’s School.
“The faith was a daily part of my life over the years,” said Masi. “St. Theresa’s was a wonderful school and we had a number of priests that would come over to the school on a daily basis. They were great examples of very joyful priests that cared for us and basically were fathers to us.”
Masi said that the priests at St. Theresa’s were one of his influences, as was a Regis High School teacher who first asked if he was interested in the priesthood.
“In the back of my mind was always this idea of the priesthood,” recalled Masi of his high school years, adding “I had been planning to go to the University of Notre Dame, but at the end of my senior year, I thought it might be better to enter the seminary.”
After two years, Cardinal Dolan asked Masi to study theology at Catholic University of America in Washington D.C.
When he finished his studies there, he was asked by the Cardinal to go the Vatican to the Pontifical North American College, where for the past four years he has studied theology, and underwent what he described as four pillars of formation: spiritual, intellectual, pastoral and growing in virtue, said Masi.
His theological specialty is the church fathers of the first six centuries after Christ, he said.
Masi said he was grateful that while celebrating his first Mass, he was able to recall the people at the parish, both living and deceased, who helped him become a priest.
Family friend Jack McCarrick of Throggs Neck, performed Gregorian chants with the choir during the celebration.
“The Mass was very beautiful,” said McCarrick, adding “The homily was touching.”
Msgr. Thomas Derivan, St. Theresa’s pastor, said that Masi’s first Mass was something of a homecoming for someone who is considered the church’s ‘favorite son.’
“Beyond the fact that he is very intelligent, sincere and on the level, he knows how to relate to young people, meaning children, and older people, meaning senior citizens,” said Derivan.