By Msgr. Jamie Gigantiello, diocesan vicar for development
Father Robert Ambalathingal has been pastor at St. Pius V, a 108-year-old Catholic Church in Jamaica, for close to three years.
“Unity in diversity” is what Father Ambalathingal loves the most at St. Pius. “Different cultures, different languages, but one spirit – one faith. We have Masses in English, Spanish and Portuguese; celebrations for each community,” he explains.
“I am able to celebrate all sacraments in all languages and communicate with all communities even though my language and culture is different.”
At first, Father Ambalathingal was hesitant about Generations of Faith, thinking that the parish may not reach its goal of $155,000.
“We don’t have big donors. I am new to the parish, this is my first parish as a pastor and normally I don’t like to talk about money,” he said.
“I was worried about the reactions of the parishioners and I was worried about my own limitations, my heavy accent and communications skills.”
However, as soon as St. Pius’ campaign kicked off, $36,000 was raised from six parishioners – which encouraged Father Ambalathingal through the rest of the fundraising activities.
Pillars of the Church
“Through this campaign, our parish community taught me how precious the offerings of the poor widow are in the Bible,” he said.
“Those less fortunate are pillars of the church.”
With increased confidence throughout the campaign process, Father Ambalathingal guided the parish to raise $324,000 towards its goal thus far.
“This happened in three weeks,” he said. “Almost all of the families in the parish participated by sacrificing something from their lives for their parish and diocese.
“These people love their parish, they understand the needs of the parish, they love their priests who sacrificed their life for the parish and they want to pass their faith on to new generations.”