It’s Time to Tell a Story part XII: Another Father

Author: Samuel Dank
Date Published: 06/26/2015
Publication: Caz & Little

St. Innocent’s Academy. I’ve been wondering how to begin this part of my story. My relationship with SIA and Fr. Paisius DeLucia spans over fifteen years now and as many of my readers may know it has not been an entirely positive one. Spoiler Alert: the relationship doesn’t end well.

In part XI I referred to my three Fathers. My dad who, along with my mother shaped my values and early understanding of not only Christ and the Church, on a personal level, but also what it means to live as a Christian. Then there is Fr. Herman, who in many ways was the father of the larger environment of my youth. His philosophy, ecclesiology, mistakes, pride and zeal, shaped my world and my view of it.

Side Note: even though Fr. Herman was defrocked by his bishop, I have referred to him as Fr. Herman because that is who he was to me. I will be taking the same approach with Fr. Paisius. Even though he has been defrocked, I will refer to him in this section of the story as Fr. Paisius. That is what we called him; though he was actually a deacon under Pangratios Vrionis during my time with him, and not a presbyter.

Fr. Paisius was an incredibly dynamic individual when I met him. His boundless energy and enthusiasm balanced with his sobriety and firmness commanded not only respect, but admiration and even love. He would become everything to me; spiritual father, musical mentor, confessor, friend, hero. I endeavored to follow his example even, in my embarrassing teenage way, mimicking him.

I think I was drawn to Fr. Paisius because he was “Order people” like my family. In fact that meant he was family. He knew my dad back in the old days, and he spoke a religious and spiritual language filled with the mysticism of the Order yet made holy and right by Fr. Herman; baptized into Orthodoxy. I would become fluent in this language myself.

If Fr. Herman was the author, then Fr. Paisius was the finisher of my faith.

In the upcoming posts I would like to paint a picture of the early days of the Academy and my experiences there. This is not meant to be exhaustive, but illustrative. I also hope to set the record straight regarding my experiences.