Take 5 with Father: still more to teach
HE IS: Father Jim Gigliotti, TOR, pastor of St. Andrew Parish in Fort Worth since 2017 and pastor of St. Maria Goretti Parish in Arlington from 1996 to 2015. He has also been a pastor in the Florida cities of St. Petersburg, Venice, and Sarasota.
GROWING UP: He and his three siblings grew up in Punxsutawney, Penn., and they were very involved in their parish and Catholic schools.
BROTHER FIRST: The Franciscan friars who visited his parish impressed him because “they talked to us … they were teachers and accustomed to dealing with high school boys.” He took vows as a Franciscan brother on July 1, 1968, and earned a teaching degree. (He also holds master’s degrees in library science and pastoral counseling.)
PRIEST NEXT: After a few years of teaching high school, he felt a call to the priesthood and received permission from his superior to enter seminary. He was ordained May 10, 1980.
He taught a total of 17 years — business, English, journalism, and theology — and served in parishes in Pennsylvania and New Jersey on the weekends.
TRADITION: Fr. Gigliotti embraces Catholic traditions, including Divine Mercy Sunday, Corpus Christi processions, and Eucharistic Adoration. “We’ve just started the Five First Saturdays [at St. Andrew Parish]. Why? Because people asked for it. Young people love the traditions. Then you preach about it — it’s teaching, it’s modeling, it’s explaining our tradition.”
LET US ADORE: Under his watch, St. Andrew added a Eucharistic Adoration chapel, and a new school wing will house the Blessed Sacrament. “Eucharistic Adoration is such a sustenance to the people of God. A lot of grace comes through it.”
SCHOOL OF THOUGHT: “I’m a big proponent of Catholic education on all levels.”
In learning Scripture, tradition, and academic subjects, students “get a nice sense of the always-present God — Father, Son, and Holy Spirit — and the difference that it makes when we develop a relationship with Him, particularly in the Eucharist.”
FOUNDATIONAL: “When people know their faith, there is such comfort from just coming on the property [in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament]. This is who I am. This is us. And I know my faith. There’s a whole deposit of faith, that whole ball of wax. That whole treasure chest of what the Church teaches. It’s very sustaining and comforting in these very strange days.”
TEXAS TOAST: Fr. Gigliotti has served in Florida and Pennsylvania, but said, ”I’m glad I’m in this diocese. It’s a very healthy diocese. I’m impressed with the diocese and its leadership. There’s a lot of good will. There’s a lot of life and promise here.”
MAMA MARY: “A relationship with the Blessed Mother as our mother is so rich for us. To have the Mother of God be our mother, too, is such comfort.”
CONFESSION: Fr. Gigliotti offers Reconciliation after each Mass. “That sacrament is a moment of such vulnerability for a soul. What I listen to is the struggle with sin and grace, the struggle of God’s mercy and fear. It’s a real, honest moment, and a priest had better treat that sensitivity with the grace and respect it deserves.”
FREE TIME: Fr. Gigliotti gives his body and mind a regular workout. A former marathon runner, he still exercises, and he loves to read and discuss books. He recharges spiritually with Eucharistic Adoration, the rosary, sacred reading, journaling, retreats, and “anything with Mariology.”
PARISH PATRON: “The name ‘Andrew’ means ‘brave love.’ A synonym for courage is ‘brave love.’ Stand your ground; Speak your truth; Know you’re going to get pushback.”
GOLDEN YEARS: “A friar doesn’t retire. I don’t even think of it. I’d like to go with my sandals on.”
REMEMBER THIS: “Because of Jesus, there’s always hope.”