Fr. Nacciarone serves the People of God in pastoral ministry on Staten Island, NY."What makes me happy to be a religious today?"
As I celebrate 65 years as a Jesuit and 51 years as a priest, I reflect back in gratitude on what this vocation has meant to me. I cannot conceive of a calling that would allow me to teach in a high school in Buffalo, study chemistry at MIT, spend a year in Austria during tertianship working with American soldiers, spending 40 years in 3 African countries teaching at universities, colleges of education, major seminaries and promoting vocations among young Africans as well as visiting the homes of the poor in shanty compounds and rural villages.
Where else could I have been equally happy working among the affluent on the Upper East Side of Manhattan at St. Ignatius Loyola parish as well as among the poor in Mariner's Harbor on Staten Island where the parish is made up of Africans, African Americans, European Americans and Hispanics of various backgrounds, all sharing the difficult life of the working poor. All of this is combined with life in community with my fellow Jesuits from many nations.
Every morning in my prayer, I can only be grateful for such a life. What is there not to be happy with? The Lord has blessed me with this vocation and I only pray that I may live it well for the remaining years of my life, serving His people who reveal to me the riches of His person in the many men and women who have enriched my life.