This week, I join hundreds if not thousands of people in my district in mourning the loss of Rev. Fr. Paul C. Palmiotto, known in the community as Father Paul. In his many years of service in the priesthood as Pastor of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Roman Catholic Church, he left an indelible mark on so many people in Ozone Park and beyond, giving them the spiritual nourishment they needed. Father Paul was so respected and venerated that the Diocese twice made him the pastor of two parishes simultaneously.
I have been moved by stories from my constituents about how Father Paul comforted them emotionally, knowing the exact thing to say in anyone’s time of need. In an era of so much toxicity, Father Paul embraced a theme of “Jesus loves you.” And this lover permeated his congregation, culminating in hundreds of parishioners giving him a standing ovation when he delivered his final mass.
Father Paul may be gone, but his legacy will last for generations. I wish everyone comfort and strength in their time of mourning.