Rev. John Antonelle is being transferred from Our Lady Queen of Peace parish to St. Mary’s in Portland, Connecticut.
Antonelle, the pastor of Our Lady Queen of Peace, which contains both St. Thomas Aquinas at the University of Connecticut and St. Mary’s in Coventry, has been assigned to the two parishes for over a decade.
“I want to let you know it has been great,” Antonelle said. “I’ve been here going on 12 years with this parish and the UConn students. It has been a great joy for me to see the students come as freshman and grow and develop into seniors and beyond.”
“I’ve been here going on 12 years with this parish and the UConn students. It has been a great joy for me to see the students come as freshman and grow and develop into seniors and beyond.”Father John Antonelle, St. Thomas Aquinas
Antonelle’s last weekend at St. Thomas Aquinas will be Nov. 7-8. He begins work at St. Mary’s on Nov. 9. The pastor at St. Mary’s is retiring, Antonelle said.
Rev. Jonathan Ficara will replace Antonelle at Our Lady Queen of Peace.
“He was a former student of UConn and part of the fraternities as well,” Antonelle said. “He felt called to the priesthood and he journeyed and is now a priest for the diocese. He’s coming back to where it all started for him.”
Ficara served as parochial vicar at St. Thomas Aquinas for approximately one year, “a couple years ago.” He now serves as a campus minister at Eastern Connecticut State University and as a priest at St. Bernard’s in Rockville and St. Matthew’s in Tolland.
Lindsey McMorris is a masters student in the NEAG School of Education and is an active member of the St. Thomas Aquinas community.
“It’s exciting to be working again with Ficara,” McMorris said. “He’s a younger priest, so I think he’s really excited to be working again with younger people.”
She was, however, sad to hear of Antonelle’s transfer.
“Fr. John has a heart of gold. He is a very good man,” McMorris said. “He really likes to serve as a spiritual father to the community… it’s so bittersweet.”
Antonelle told the 7:00 a.m. student mass on Sunday how grateful he was for his time at UConn.
“I hope you know I’m always in the diocese and you can find me and it’s always a privilege to share your journey through UConn and into the world,” Antonelle said. “Please keep me in your prayers as you will always all be in mine.”