The Deacon's Bench

The Deacon's Bench

Advice for priests, deacons and handball players: know how to serve

This newly ordained priest, from the Diocese of Rockville Center (Long Island), has an interesting tale to tell. At one time Fr. Joseph Fitzgerald was an Olympic athlete, playing handball:

Father Fitzgerald participated in the World Cup and the Pan American Games, as well as the Summer Olympics. He described the sport in a 2001 article in The Long Island Catholic as being “like lacrosse without the sticks, or water polo with no water, or soccer using your hands instead of your feet.”


The U.S. national handball team finished ninth among the 12 qualifying teams at the 1996 Olympics but has not qualified for the Olympics in the two Summer Olympics since then.

Father Fitzgerald, who played football and baseball while attending Ithaca College in Ithaca, plans to continue working out and preparing for marathons while serving at St. Kilian Parish in Farmingdale. But he has his priorities straight.

“God has blessed us with many different gifts,” he said. “I would like to work with the youth and young adults, but most importantly, to serve and to be a good server.”

Give the man a gold medal. And a prayer or two, too.

Photo: Joseph Fitzgerald, from the Long Island Catholic/CNS

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