May 9, 2017

Turners Falls parish celebrates ordination of former parishioner

Story and photos by Carolee McGrath

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Father Luke DeMasi gives Communion during his first Mass at Our Lady of Czestochowa Church in Turners Falls.

TURNERS FALLS – It was an unusually emotional morning at Our Lady of Czestochowa Parish in Turners Falls, as family and friends gathered to see newly ordained Father Luke DeMasi celebrate Mass for the first time, Monday, May 8.

A former altar boy at the parish, Father DeMasi, was ordained April 29 at the Cathedral of Alcala in Spain. He is a priest of the Servants of the Home of the Mother, which was founded in 1990 under the papacy of St. Pope John Paul II.

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Father Luke DeMasi poses with his mother, Gail DeMasi.

“The truth is, this place for me is church. We used to drive an hour and ten minutes to get here,” said Father DeMasi during his homily. One of 14 children, Father DeMasi grew up in Munsonville, New Hampshire, and attended Ave Maria University in southwest Florida. He said he was far from a likely candidate for the priesthood.

“I wasn’t the ideal altar boy,” Father DeMasi joked, about his days serving at Our Lady of Czestochowa.

“I hit rock bottom. I got caught up in all life had to offer,” he said referring to the party scene during his teen years and later in college.

But he said it was the example of his parents and the tears of his mother that brought him back on a journey to the church.

“They prayed the rosary every day. They brought us to Mass. That’s where the graces started coming to me. I say this because a lot of mothers get discouraged because their kids are disasters. Those tears give graces. I am the fruit of my mother’s tears,” he told the congregation.

Gail DeMasi cried tears of joy seeing her son ordained in Spain and again celebrating Mass at Our Lady of Czestochowa. She recalled how she went to visit him several years ago when he was still in college and knew he had strayed far from the church.

“We went for a cup of coffee. He was breaking my heart. I said, ‘How are you?’ I think for him it was a moment that he knew he couldn’t lie to me. He knew he was not good,” she said. “We left and said goodbye. He went from there to a church and had an experience with Our Lady and that was the beginning for him.”

Father Charles DiMascola, now retired, was the longtime pastor at Our Lady of Czestochowa. He said the transformation he has seen in Father DeMasi is miraculous.

“I didn’t trust Luke. He was a juvenile delinquent. He was surly. He was unpleasant. There was no way to reach him. He wouldn’t look you in the eye,” said Father DiMascola.

“One day I got a call from. It was this pleasant person on the phone … today is a sign of God’s work,” he continued.

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Father Luke DiMasi, a native of Our Lady of Czestochowa Parish, prepares to baptize his niece after celebrating his first Mass on May 8.

After the 8 a.m. Mass, Father DeMasi baptized his niece. It was his first baptism.

Father DeMasi told the congregation to keep praying for the youth who face many trials and temptations.

“The beast is unleashed in this world. He (Satan) is ruining everything. The last battle is the family,” he said. “But she (the Blessed Mother) is there. She will crush his head. She is not afraid to fight … the rosary is going to save us. She will crush Satan’s head and bring us to Jesus and he will change our life.”

The 31-year-old will head back to Spain where he will begin his ministry working with the youth. The priests and brothers of the Servants of the Home of the Mother have a total of five communities in Spain, Italy and Ecuador. The priests, brothers and religious are consecrated to the Blessed Mother and live out their spirituality with the understanding that Jesus transforms through the heart of Mary.

A video version of this story will air on an upcoming edition of “Real to Reel,” which airs Saturday evenings at 7on WWLP TV-22 News.