Father Michael Francis Falce, who will turn 27 on the day he will offer his first Mass of thanksgiving, has had a pretty good idea about what he wanted to do with his life from an early age.
When he was a child, he would play priest. He would set up a little table and pretend to take important calls: from people who had lost a loved one and needed spiritual guidance and support. His mom and brother, Matthew, would join in the game, too.
Falce knew he wanted to be one of two things: a priest or a funeral director.
The young Falce was an altar server at St. Pancras Church in Glendale, where he also attended the parochial school. The priest at the parish saw the boy’s zeal for the ministry and began to ask for him by name when calling the school to request an altar server.
So Falce witnessed a lot of funerals. He saw how important the work of the funeral director was. When walking into the funeral home, he noticed that all was directed at eternity. But he also saw that a priest offered something more, sacramental support.
When the time came for Falce and his family to choose a high school, Christ the King, Middle Village, was the natural choice. It was the closest Catholic high school, and it’s where his parents met. Maryann and Joseph have been sweethearts since their junior year of high school.
When Falce visited the school, he checked out campus ministry. There, he was asked a life-altering question – have you thought of Cathedral Prep? So Falce looked into it. He immediately fell in love with the high school seminary and preparatory school.
“You walked in, and it felt different,” Father Falce said of his alma mater. “There was a family atmosphere because it was so small.”
He liked that it was a school for boys open to the possibilities of a priestly vocation. The priesthood was accepted as a good choice in life.
That came as a shock to his parents. They were not completely on board at first. They were worried about how far it was and that their son basically wanted to go to sem-inary at such a young age, even if that sem-inary was also a prep school for college.
“God can call you anywhere,” Father Falce recalls his parents telling him.
“This is where I need to be,” the son told his parents.
When they saw his determination and confidence, the Falces supported their son fully. After all, faith was of paramount importance to their Italian-American family.
Falce graduated in 2010, and then went to Pennsylvania to study at St. Charles Borromeo seminary in Philadelphia. Father Falce said he is thank-ful for having the opportunity to leave his home diocese and see how people live differently outside New York City. He then came back to finish his studies at St. Joseph Seminary in Yonkers. He served his diaconate year at Mary Queen of Heaven, Mill Basin.
Father Falce said he feels closest to God when he sings. Through out his life he has been involved in music ministry and is looking forward to praising God through liturgical music as a priest.
He will offer his first Mass of thanks-giving on June 2, 2:30 p.m., at St. Pancras.