Fr. Angelo's Message on his Golden Anniversary of Priesthood

Fr. Angelo Buffalo

Fr. Angelo's Message on his Golden Anniversary of Priesthood

50 years - Sept. 4 1971

“I AM GRATEFUL, BECAUSE THE LORD HAS CHOSEN ME…THANK YOU,

LORD”

On these days recurs the 50 th anniversary of my priestly ordination: it was the 4 th of

September 1971; and on this occasion, so meaningful for my life, I think I can some up in just

one word the feelings that in these days prevail in my heart: THANKS.

“THANKS” above all to the Lord for the inestimable gift of vocation and ministry: a gift that

can be understood only if we consider it in the perspective of God’s mystery. “You did not

choose me; it was I who chose you” (John 15, 16). God chooses and calls whomever he

wants, out of love, without taking into account the person and his/her qualities and

expectations.

My “Thank you” goes then to all those who, in one way or another, during all these fifty

years, have been close to me, accompanied me, sustained me, “tolerated” me, and offered

their cooperation and friendship. It would be impossible to list them all. But I cannot fail to

mention MY FAMILY, a deeply Christian, simple, modest family: my parents who gave me

life and now are in heaven together with two brothers and three sisters who followed them.

Sincerely I have a debt of gratitude toward them: they never left me alone, even in difficult

moments.

There is then ANOTHER FAMILY that welcomed and accepted me as a brother. The

LARGE SCALABRINIAN FAMILY within which I felt completely fulfilled as a man and as

a missionary-priest, breathing the same spirit and the same ideal “HUMILITY”, which

accompanied me all these years: to be a migrant with migrants. Since the far-away 1955,

when I entered the seminary in Bassano del Grappa (Vicenza, Italy),I shared my life with

you, dearest confreres, and I can say again and again that I have been happy with you all, as

in a home. I will never thank sufficiently the missionaries who, upon coming back from the

mission for a visit with their families, have witnessed and shared with us seminarians their

priestly missionary experiences, and thus have ‘warmed up’ my expectation to be one of

them. Without them, my ministry would have been less enthusiastic.

Then, THANKS also to all migrants who gave me the opportunity to exercise my apostolate.

How many sacraments administered, how many families visited, how much listening and

how much trust! Only God knows, but how much satisfaction I felt to have been an

instrument of God.

Beside gratitude, this anniversary is also an occasion to recall the advice of St. Paul to

Timothy: “I remind you to fan into a flame the gift of God you received,” the gift of

priesthood through the laying on of hands (2 Timothy 2, 6). We fan into flame this gift by

going back to the roots, increasing ever more our awareness and re-discovery of the real and

deep identity of the priest, to be, that is, “taken from among men and appointed to be their

representative before God” (Hebrews 5, 1ff). I need to remind myself often: “I have become a

priest not for my own personal satisfaction but in order to be of service to others.” Thence

comes the extraordinary power to celebrate the Eucharist, center and heart of the priestly

ministry, that, besides rendering present the person of Jesus, establishes the Church. Thence

also the power to reconcile men with God through the forgiveness of sins. Thence also, lastly,

the power, the capacity to practice pastoral charity to guide, unite, and sanctify the people of

God. Fanning into flame the gift of ordination means for me to recall to my awareness what is


the meaning of being a priest missionary of Christ and of the Church; it means for me to keep

and witness the amazement, the joy, and the gratitude for the grace of vocation and ministry.

Fifty years have passed since my ordination. This anniversary obliges me now to look at the

future. Certainly the future is in the hands of God, but this does dispense us from assuming

our responsibilities in the present life. From many sides and by many I have been asked what

will I do once the happy excitement of the celebration has gone. I answer: “I will continue to

be a missionary priest, retired or not, pensioner or not life continues, also because my ideal

of a missionary priest is always alive.”

All you, friends of Wollongong (NSW), with whom I shared many moments of joy and

sometimes also of suffering, and who have been always close to me, have prayed, have

rejoiced and sometimes also have suffered with me, especially in this time of pandemic, I ask

you what Pope Francis usually asks: “Do not forget to continue to pray for me”. May the

Lord make us obedient and faithful instruments in his hands and give fecundity till our last

breath to the work we have together undertaken in the vineyard of the Lord.