Retired FDNY captain cheered on by ex-colleagues as he answers holy call as newly ordained Catholic priest
Retired FDNY captain celebrates being ordained Catholic priest
Retired FDNY Captain Tom Colucci saw his longtime dream of becoming a Catholic priest realized Saturday when he was ordained during a special ceremony at St. Patrick's Cathedral.
"God's been very good to me," a humble Father Colucci said following the service officiated by Timothy Cardinal Dolan. "I'm most excited about working with the people and bringing them to God."
Firefighters from Colucci's past FDNY assignments in the Bronx, Chelsea and Hell's Kitchen were on hand to cheer him on as he took his vows. Several times during the service, Colucci turned and shot firefighters a thumbs up.
EXCLUSIVE: Retired FDNY Captain to become Catholic priest
"He was a leader of men and now he's going to be a leader in the church," retired Firefighter Tom Kelly, who attended the celebration, said. "We're very proud of him."
Colucci joined the FDNY in 1985. He retired in 2005 as commander of Ladder 21 in Hell's Kitchen on W. 38th St. after a gas explosion left him with a head injury. He endured two brain surgeries to remove blood clots - one so dire that a priest was asked to give him last rites. Once he healed, Colucci began his spiritual mission, first as a Benedictine monk before joining the seminary.
But he'll be back in the city come September, when he officiates the FDNY 9/11 memorial Mass, he said.
"It's like getting out of the Fire Academy," Colucci joked. "They give your assignments and off you got to go."