Molly and Gregory Paglia moved to the mid-Hudson Valley four years ago and were visiting churches to find a parish to call home. The search ended at St. Joseph-Immaculate Conception in Millbrook where Auxiliary Bishop-elect Gerardo J. Colacicco has served as pastor since 2015 and was parish administrator for 13 months before being appointed pastor.
“It felt like home the first time I walked in,” Molly told CNY. “Hearing (Bishop Colacicco) and the choir, it was just lovely.”
Molly said Bishop-elect Colacicco is humble, kind and patient. He’s concise with his points well linked together when he delivers his homilies.
“He’s not loud when he speaks. When he speaks, listen carefully because he’s full of wisdom,” she said.
The Paglias, both 45 and residents of Pleasant Valley, are the parents of three children, MaryAlice, 7; Joseph, 5; and Rose, 3.
“He’s a living example of the Gospel,” Molly said. “My husband and I have gone to him for advice that isn’t faith-related. My children will give him a big hug when they see him. He’s such a dedicated, selfless priest.”
Bishop-elect Colacicco, 64, will be leaving the parish to serve as an auxiliary bishop in the archdiocese, overseeing Dutchess, Ulster, Sullivan and Orange counties.
Bishop-elect Colacicco, ordained a priest in 1982 and named a monsignor in 1999, served as pastor of three parishes in the archdiocese—a parish with 300 families in St. Joseph-Immaculate Conception; a parish with 5,000 families in St. Columba, Hopewell Junction, 2002-2014; and a city parish with 2,700 families in Sacred Heart, Newburgh, 1996-2002.
“I’ve been blessed in my assignments because I’ve had different assignments that epitomize being a priest in the Archdiocese of New York because people often think of New York City when you hear New York and it’s so much more than that,” said Bishop-elect Colacicco in an interview.
“I’ve been fortunate to be able to be in many many places with many different experiences that give a real cross section of what it means to be a priest in the Archdiocese of New York.”
Sister Marie Pappas, C.R., has served as the director of religious education at St. Columba since 2010. She said Bishop-elect Colacicco spoke to the heart of people in his homilies and in conversation.
“He cares about people,” she said. “He’s responsive to minister to their needs whether he approaches them or he sees they need help. They feel loved and cared for by him. His people skills make people gravitate toward him.”
Regarding his selection as an auxiliary bishop, Sister Marie said, “He finds joy in his priesthood wherever he is. I think he’s going to be an amazing source of spiritual nourishment for people and brother priests. Wherever he goes, everything gets transformed into something beautiful.”
Linda Colacicco, the younger sister of Bishop-elect Colacicco, spoke of her brother’s heart, and shared how her humble and shy brother is able to communicate with his parishioners.
“His calling is to preach the Gospel,” said Linda, a parishioner of St. Martin de Porres in Poughkeepsie. “That is what he does and who he is. Standing up in front of people and speaking is separate from who he is as a regular person. He’s called to do that and he feels that from his heart.”
Linda Colacicco, Sister Marie and the Paglia family all will be present at St. Patrick’s Cathedral Dec. 10 to celebrate Bishop-elect Colacicco’s ordination as a bishop.
“We are going to miss him,” said Molly Paglia. “We are glad he’s going to be our bishop. We’ll see him in the spring when he confirms our eighth-graders, and we’re happy he’ll be the bishop who will confirm our children.
“Even though we’re losing him as our pastor, we still feel we get to keep him because he’ll be close by.”