A joyous celebration took place at St. Mary Catholic Church and St. Louis Center in Chelsea, MI on Saturday December 16, 2017 as Fr. Joseph Rinaldo and Fr. Fortunato Turati each celebrated 50 years of service in the priesthood with the local parish community and their many friends, relatives and fellow priests from the surrounding area. Both priests were joined on the alter at 4:30 p.m. Mass by the Very Rev. Bishop Earl Boyea of the Diocese of Lansing, Very Rev. Dr. William J. Canon Turner of St. Mary Parish, Rev. Ed Friede of Christ the King, and the members of their Servants of Charity congregation who were present. These included Fr. Enzo Addari, Fr. David Stawasz, Fr. Satheesh Caniton, and Frs. Amal, Franklin and Leo Joseph who arrived from India one year ago. Fr. Joseph and Fr. Fortunato were both members of the same ordination class that completed their training for the Servants of Charity in Chiavenna, Italy in December 1967, and were then assigned to the United States in 1968.
St. Mary Parish was packed with nearly 700 parishioners and supporters on this special day, and 21 members of the Cardinal O’Hara K of C Color Corps were on hand to dignify the Mass. Bishop Boyea delivered the homily and offered a special thanks to Fr. Joseph, Fr. Fortunato and the Servants of Charity for their many years of service to the Diocese of Lansing and to the people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families whom they have served for so many years with love and compassion.
Following Mass, over 300 invited guests traveled to St. Louis Center for a reception and dinner that was catered jointly by Moveable Feast and the Chelsea Grill. Speakers who came forward to pay tribute to Fr. Rinaldo and Fr. Turati included Bishop Boyea, Rev. Turner, Deana Fisher, Will Johnson, Norm Neuman, and Ken Unterbrink (K of C State Deputy). Fr. Enzo Addari presented each honoree with a Papal Blessing from Pope Francis, and PR Director Joe Yekulis served as the emcee. Fr. Fortunato and Fr. Joseph each took an opportunity to speak about their mission of service during their 50 years in the priesthood, and their special lives dedicated to caring for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Fr. Fortunato now serves as pastor for the Daughters of St. Mary of Providence at Mt. St. Joseph in Lake Zurich, Ill., and Fr. Joseph remains at St. Louis Center as the superior of the local community and the Treasurer of the Divine Providence Province, which extends from the U.S. to the Philippines, India and Vietnam.
For more information about St. Louis Center, please visit the website at www.stlouiscenter.org.