Shown are messages of congratulations and best wishes that were written by religious education students for their pastor. Courtesy photo
Shown are messages of congratulations and best wishes that were written by religious education students for their pastor. Courtesy photo
Msgr. Thomas N. Gervasio, pastor of Our Lady of Sorrows-St. Anthony Parish, Hamilton, got a special surprise Oct. 23.

After the reception of Holy Communion during the 11:30 a.m. Mass, Msgr. Gervasio thought that the parish catechetical leader, Maryiam Francis, was going to address the congregation about an upcoming religious education event.

But it wasn’t until Francis took to the microphone that he found out that the students in the K-8 religious education program, along with their families and catechists, were honoring him on the 40th anniversary of his priestly ordination.

“He was surprised, totally surprised,” said Francis, telling of all they were doing to celebrate his anniversary. Students in the younger grades presented him with a spiritual bouquet filled with many prayers while the older students created posters and cards with messages of congratulations and thanks for his 40 years of dedicated service to the Church. He was also given a gift of 40 flowers, a promise that he would be prayed for daily by the religious education community throughout the next year and he was also presented with a monetary gift.

When it came time for Msgr. Gervasio to speak, “he was at a loss for words,” Francis said.

“He did not know what to say other than ‘Thank you,’” she said, then added “how important it is that we recognize our priests.

“Forty years is certainly a special milestone,” she said.