Wednesday, November 07, 2007

In Remembrance of "Deacon Tony" Barbieri

This is Our Lady of Pompeii in Dobbs Ferry. It is a small church like Our Lady of Vilnius and St. Stanislaus Kostka. It has survived due to the fierce devotion of it parishioners, the protection of its founder, St. Cabrini, and the stewardship of Rev. Timothy Scannell, Pastor.

While not a parishioner, I have always loved attending Mass at this church, contributing to its support and attending its social events. I have always considered Deacon Tony to be the embodiment of this parish. When Father Carmelo Glavina was still in residence, I enjoyed the way they conducted the Mass. It was always a very warm, human and personal celebration of the Eucharist. Deacon Tony's sincere greetings, reading of the gospel and powerful tenor singing voice lent the Masses something individual and enveloping that made me feel like I was at a family gathering.

I always thought of Deacon Tony as kind of a Yogi Berra with operatic talent. I loved the way he circulated through the annual spaghetti dinner serenading the tables with arias and Neapolitan songs. When my friend was ill in White Plains Hospital I would meet Deacon Tony there from time to time. His familiar friendly face always lifted my spirits.

These past years he has been ill on and off. I looked forward to seeing him at Mass and despite his illness, he often appeared robust and cheerful. I saw him as he was leaving the annual Spaghetti Dinner on Sunday, October 28. I had no idea that this would be the last time that I would see him.

What does Deacon Tony have to do with Our Lady of Vilnius? Everyone there would have loved him and he would have felt very much at home. I can see him joking with Father Eugene and hanging with the Knights of Columbus in the basement. In fact, the Deacon was a fourth degree Knight. Read Deacon Tony's obituary to learn more about him and why it was such a pleasure to have known him.

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