IN THE PEWS: A conversation with Pat Zasa

Pat Zasa says he always tries to have a positive outlook on life — with a sense of humor. He enjoys helping out people who are in need. He’s in charge of maintenance in the parish and enjoys working at church, meeting different people and doing whatever he can to help. His mantra: “Life should be about doing good for others.”

You’re in charge of keeping the parish grounds in top shape, including the church, rectory and the former school building. Describe a typical day in your job.

A typical day involves opening the church, making sure it’s clean, warm in winter or cool in the summer; cleaning of the school and rectory. In the summer I’m very busy outside; and winter also with the snow.

Your job involves more than cleaning. You’ve also worked on many other projects in the parish that many might not know about. Please describe other work you have accomplished.

Many of my projects included installing a new gas heater in the gym, repairing some of the roofs, painting the boiler room, installing new tile, painting the festival room, remodeling the office in the rectory, remodeling the CYO room, building speakers in choir loft, etc.

You enjoy the outdoors, including fishing, biking and kayaking. What do these activities do for your life?

I love to be active outside. It keeps me healthy and I like looking at nature.

You also enjoy traveling. What are some of the places you have visited? Do you have a favorite?

I’ve been to Italy, Aruba and Mexico. I would say Italy was my favorite.

You have two sons — Mitchell, 21, who is in his third year at Champlain College in Vermont who is studying gaming design and producing, and Patrick, 27, in his eighth year as a journeyman (in HVAC) in Local 58. What has being a dad meant for you?

It’s very rewarding watching both my sons doing well. I’m very proud of them. I always taught them to enjoy life, respect others, be a hard worker and always do your best.

You’ll be getting married in August to your fiancée Margherita. What are you looking forward to in your new life?

After we are married to continue to grow together, laugh and enjoy each other and hopefully travel to other countries.

Life has kind of come full circle for you. You attended Mount Carmel School and you now have an important job in the parish. Is working here more meaningful than doing the same job elsewhere?

Yes. Working at church is very rewarding. Everyone is easy to work with. We have a lot of volunteers who do so much. Father Cesta always keeps it interesting. He’s very easy to work for and always fun.

Like all families, there are good times and tough times. How has your faith helped you in times of need?

Having faith puts everything in perspective in life. Without it, you have nothing.

What do you hope the future holds for you?

Just to relax, stay healthy, happy, laugh, enjoy family and continue to help others.

Pat Zasa

Age: 54.

Resides: Utica.

Family: Fiancée Margherita Schuller; sons Patrick Jr., 28, and Mitchell, 21; brothers Joe, Rock and Mike; mom Carol.

Occupation: In charge of parish maintenance; spent 18 years as a sheet metal worker and foreman and 12 years in sheet metal union.

Education: Mount Carmel School and Thomas R. Proctor High School.

Interests: Traveling, fishing, biking, kayaking and spending time with family and close friends.