The Adventures of Father Jack O'Pelly
Today I was thinking about my old friend and pastor...Father John Giacopelli. He retired in the 1990's from the parish I attended and moved back to New York. He was a wonderful priest and full of enthusiasm about life and especially our faith. On Saint Patrick's day he always changed his Italian name to O'Pelly for we Irish in the crowd and threw a great Saint Patrick's Day celebration.
He tirelessly sought out the lost and forlorn and was instrumental in bringing many souls to Christ. So many precious memories flood through my mind in remembering this wonderful priest. I remember when he first moved back to New York and he told me how he was startled to see how so many people were so rude and had no time for their fellow man. He said one day he went to the post office to mail a package and expected the same gruff treatment he always got. Loe and Behold the clerk was pleasant and cheerful that day. Father chuckled and told the man..."Your the first nice person I have met since moving back to New York. The man grinned and said..."That's because I am from Missouri where things are slower paced and we treat each other with respect."Father got a big tickle out of that one.
I am especially thinking of him this Lent and the story he told me about "Ash Weds." in New York his first year back. He had stopped by the bank and the teller saw the ashes on his forehead. She exclaimed..."Father, I have not been to confession in years could you hear my confession?" Father...always the priest at the ready said" Sure, is there somewhere private we can go?" The teller grabbed his arm and took him to the banks Vault where he heard her confession. As they came out there was a line of 20 employees waiting to have their confessions heard. Just goes to show...there is more than Gold in a Bank Vault. He also was known to hear confessions in restaurants and on street corners. Nowhere was impossible for Father John when it came to saving souls.
I miss my old friend and think of him often. I tried to call but got no answer but I know he still prays for me and my family. That's worth more than Gold to me.