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2/4/2010
Q&A WITH FATHER LIGATO
Pastor sees limits and joy
PETER FEUERHERD
Correspondent


Rev. Anthony F. Ligato, 46, pastor of St. Jude the Apostle Church in Wynantskill, was ordained for the Diocese of Albany in 1995. He is a Troy native. He previously served as pastor for Holy Family parish in Little Falls.

When and why did you realize you wanted to become a priest?

It was over a period of time. In my early 20s, I started teaching religion in my home parish, Our Lady of Victory in Troy. The more I got involved in parish ministry, the more I felt it was fulfilling. I went to my cousin's wedding in the Bahamas. I was more concerned about getting back to the parish for a program I was running than on being on a vacation. I felt if this was what was distracting me, then I was called to it.

Who was your inspiration when you were growing up?

Not a particular priest. It was never my aspiration to be a priest when I was growing up. It wasn't on my radar screen.

How did your parents feel about your decision?

My parents were very supportive. They felt that if this is what I wanted, they wanted to be happy for me. They respected the calling.

Were your expectations met?

They were exceeded. I wanted to serve. My concern was that I'd be a good servant. There really were no expectations, [other] than to allow the Lord to tell what He wanted me to do.

What would you have done differently?

If you don't realize you are going to grow in understanding as a priest, you won't be of much help. When you are first ordained, you think you know everything, but you really know nothing. You haven't seen anything yet. My first assignment was at Blessed Sacrament in Albany. There was one of the best teachers you could meet in Father John Bradley, the pastor.

What's been the hardest part of your vocation?

Trying to be everything to everybody, which is impossible. As a priest, you are trying to be there for people. Our personal limitations and limitations of time don't allow us to do that. Ultimately the person you let down the most is yourself.

What's been easiest?

Celebrating the sacraments, in the sense that it is the most joy-filled experience.

What do you do for fun?

I play pinochle. I spend a lot of time with my family and friends. I have a close family which is a great source of support. I do a lot of gardening. I like doing outside work. Getting your hands dirty and in the soil is different from what I do in my daily life.

What sacrament gives you the greatest peace? Why?

The Eucharist. We are united with Christ in His body and blood and we are united with each other. To feel the presence of Jesus gives us the strength to do His work as a priest, prophet and king.

What do you most want others to know about being a priest?

It is an enriching, fulfilling and a happy life. There is nothing lonely about this life. There is nothing in life that sets us apart. Priests live in the midst of others. As a priest, you are with people in all the moments of baptism, First Communion, weddings and funerals, all the mixture of joy and sadness. Being part of that is a great privilege.

Father's favorites:
Music: classical
Movie: "The Searchers," starring John Wayne
Recreation: gardening
Sports Team: Yankees
Meal: pasta
Dessert: ice cream

(02/04/10)












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