Damian Patrick Zablocki
Hometown: Toledo, Ohio
First priestly assignment: Most Holy Trinity, Covington
Masses of Thanksgiving:
June 2 at 9:30 a.m. at St. Patrick Church, New Orleans; Old Ursuline Convent, June 2 at 5 p.m.; June 9 at 11:30 a.m. at St. Rita, Harahan
Chalice was originally used by Benedictines
My chalice is an antique one, about 11 inches tall and made of silver overlaid with gold plating. It previously belonged to St. Mary German Catholic Church in Allegheny, Pennsylvania.
The chalice came into my possession in a very providential way. I had purchased a plain silver chalice from Italy at an antique store in New Jersey for about $400, intending to make that my ordination chalice. The pastor of the parish where I was stationed in Newark, New Jersey – Msgr. Joseph Ambrosio – had found another chalice at a warehouse which had obtained religious items from closed churches throughout the United States. He purchased the chalice, not knowing anything about it, and asked me if I wanted the more ornate of the two.
We exchanged chalices.
Afterward, I learned that the chalice had come from a now-closed parish in North Pittsburgh run by the Benedictines, in whose seminary I had done the majority of my seminary studies! So it had a wonderful connection for me.
The chalice dates from the 1850s and was made in Germany. It has been largely kept the same, with the exception of new gold plating for the cup and paten. A cross added to the foot of the chalice was donated by a very close friend and family member. The foot also features reliefs of the faces of Jesus, Mary and St. Joseph.
On the bottom, beneath the original German inscription from the parish it belonged to, I added in Italian (to honor the many Italian-Americans who have supported and loved me) my thanks to people in my life who made my vocation possible.
Chalices are sacred vessels because they hold the blood that the savior of the world spilt for our salvation and which is offered to us every day in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. He wishes so much to be with us and reside within us, that he comes to us in an act we must do every day to live: to eat and to drink.
As someone raised in the Russian Orthodox Church, it was common practice for the faithful to kiss the base of the chalice after receiving holy Communion. So the chalice has always had a deep significance to me and to all the history of the Church, for in it the savior comes to us. It holds in it the hope of all the earth, our conversion, our peace and our faith.
It also symbolizes, for me, the great unworthiness I have to touch or use Christ’s Body and Blood in the Holy Mass. Yet even in my unworthiness, Christ has not turned me away from serving his people and uses even the least of his children for his work. For this I will be in awe and grateful until my last breath.
As a priest, I am looking forward to serving the people of God’s holy church, offering sacrifice for the living and the dead, and most especially, serving the faithful of the Archdiocese of New Orleans.
– Beth Donze