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OLA grad ordained; celebrates first Mass

He gave him his First Holy Communion in 1985. Now, 23 years later, one local clergyman will help a former parishioner celebrate his first New York Mass as a Roman Catholic priest.

Msgr. John J. Mescall, former pastor of Our Lady of Assumption, will join the Rev. Dominick De Maio at 11 a.m. at OLA Church on Sunday, June 22 for the holy celebration.

Ordained on May 31, in Oakland, California, Maio, is a former Pelham Bay resident who attended OLA School in his early years before moving west where he graduated from high school and then college at the University of Oregon.

De Maio subsequently earned a Masters of Divinity from the Dominican Seminary in Berkeley, California.

Upon hearing of the former Bronxite’s religious successes, OLA pastor Msgr. Donald M. Dwyer found the new clergy member’s First Holy Communion certificate for the name of the officiating priest, knowing his involvement in De Maio’s first Mass would be a special reunion.

Upon telling Mescall the news, Dwyer said, “He was proud that a OLA student was ordained.”

Dwyer agreed fully, “It’s a big thrill.”

Through planning conversations over the past six months, Dwyer said he learned it was very important for De Maio to return to his roots.

“He found that he received a solid religious foundation at OLA and he wanted to come back to where it all started and say Mass,” he explained.

Dwyer will join Mescall and De Maio for the morning celebration, where the new priest will offer his First Priestly Blessing to the congregation.

A reception for family and friends will follow the Mass in the OLA school gymnasium.

Following his brief visit to the Bronx, the 31-year-old will begin his pastoral service as co-director of Hispanic Affairs for the Archdiocese of Anchorage, Alaska on July 1.

“The whole parish community rejoices that one of our own answered God’s call and joined the priesthood,” Dwyer said. “We’re proud that it all started at OLA.”

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