The Roman Catholic churches of Saint Cecilia, Saint Francis of Paola, and Saint Nicholas united to become the Divine Mercy Parish, and on December 6, 2014, Rev. Thomas F. Vassalotti was formally installed as this parish’s first pastor by the Most Rev. Nicholas DiMarzio, Bishop of Brooklyn. Saint Cecilia’s hosted the mass where hundreds of North Brooklynites came to add their voices to bless Father Tom’s leadership. Among those in attendance was Assemblyman Joe Lentol.
Father Thomas Vassalotti has held the position of parish administrator for four years. This is usually the trial period which is overseen and if deemed well-done the administrator is promoted to pastor.
Bishop DiMarzio commended Father Tom’s work at bringing the 3 church communities together. “Let’s build on the positives. That’s why we come to church to build on the positive things in our lives. That’s why we come to be uplifted. We come together with our love of God and fellowship with one another.” The appointment as pastor is for 6 years. The Bishop continued on that note, “The next six years Father Vassalotti will work hard to bring you together.” Calling attention to one of the main challenges the church faces in today’s society, that of dwindling attendance, the Bishop called for “effective evangelizers” and being open and welcoming.
Father Tom closed his remarks of appreciation by saying to his parishioners, “I thank you all. I could not have done it without you.” This was made all the more poignant when he added, “My father could not live to see this day and my mother is too sick to be here.” His flock is his family.