New priest feels at home at St. Peter’s Catholic Church
The Rev. Angelo Patti said he feels welcomed in his new parish, St. Peter’s Catholic Church in Somerset.
The 63-year-old pastor started at the Somerset church Dec. 12, replacing the Rev. Daniel J. O’Neill, who died Oct. 29 following complications from an extended illness. He was 68 years old.
Patti said he has large shoes to fill, adding that he considered O’Neill to be a very good friend.
“(The parish has) been very welcoming, very friendly,” he said. “They welcomed me with open arms.”
Patti, who grew up in Johnstown, was first ordained in 1982 and served 13 years as an assistant pastor. His first parish was in Everett. He served at St. Andrew in Johnstown for 12 years and St. Francis Xavier in Cresson for eight years.
Patti said his home parish was St. John Gualbert Cathedral in Johnstown.
“I grew up very close to St. Johns, very close to St. Joseph and not too far from St. Anthony,” he said. “We belonged to St. Johns and that is where I went to grade school. I was very active in the church and got to meet a lot of priests.”
He said the sisters at St. John also had a big influence on his decision to become a priest.
Although he just moved to Somerset, he is familiar with the area. He would often visit his cousin Angelitto Passaniti, a well-known Somerset hairstylist.
“I would come to visit him,” he said. “So I am familiar with the area. I’ve known Monsignor (Samuel) Tomaselli ever since I was ordained.”
Patti said he has always found day-to-day life in a parish rewarding.
“I just really enjoy being a parish priest and being around families,” he said. “I love saying Mass, spending time in prayer and taking care of the needs of the parishioners on a daily basis.”
He found out in the middle of November about the move. While priests have some input, the diocese makes the decisions to move.
“It was difficult leaving a parish where I have been for 12 years,” he said. “It was also the assignment when I was first ordained in 1982. I spent half my priesthood there. It was very difficult to leave, but the people here made it very easy to adjust because they welcomed me, and they have been so nice and very encouraging.”
In Patti’s free time, he enjoys traveling. His family is from Sicily, a region of Italy.
“I like to go back every chance I get,” he said.
Like his predecessor, he is an avid sports fan.
“I enjoy Pirates games, Curve games,” he said. “I enjoy golfing and I do a lot of reading.”
As he continues to settle into his new role, Patti said he is looking forward to getting to know students and parishioners.
“I love the town area,” he said. “I just feel right at home.”