Don Giorgio Carbone has been the priest at San Nicolo church since 1966. This summer, he celebrated his 50th anniversary as a priest, and the celebration was indeed memorable. All summer long, there were events in his honor; proclamations by the mayor, a visit from the bishop, fireworks, concerts etc.
This past week marked the culmination of the celebration and we were so happy to be a part of it. Evening mass changed times, from 6:00 pm to 7:00. Priests from nearby parishes all came to celebrate mass, a different priest every evening. Each one spoke so highly of Don Giorgio, the noble way he has spent his life and the importance of priests in the community. My favorite was Don Antonio Raviele, a distant cousin of Mike's. He baptized our daughter Marta back in 1982, when he was still a very young man just starting out his career in the church. We have a video of a slim, dark haired youngster, and now he's a chubby, gray haired man...time does take its toll on everyone.
On Saturday night, after mass, Don Giorgio hosted an outdoor dinner for the whole parish. Tables were set up in the piazza under a beautiful night sky. A variety of hors d'oeuvres were served, followed by "pasta fazool", grilled sausage, salad and bread and then some sweets. There was entertainment provided by a talented musician/singer, and then fire works at 10 to top it off. It was so much fun being part of this celebration! The next day at Sunday mass, Don Giorgio thanked the parish for all their support over the years and for all that they had done to help in the celebration of this milestone. He broke down in tears as he spoke, and there wasn't a dry eye in the house. At 78, he is beginning to show his age, his voice fails him often and he sometimes loses his place during the readings. I don't know when or if he will retire, but for now he is still an anchor in our community.