For Mari-Lea Gazzal, life is a grand adventure

Mari-Lea Gazzal has myriad interests including kayaking, swimming, fishing, four-wheeling, being very adventurous, singing and acting. And those are just a few. But what keeps her grounded is her faith, which she shares enthusiastically. You appear to be quite the outdoors woman, going to your family’s camp on Otter Lake since you were a child. […]


Teenager Joseph Rizzo aims high in his life

If you’ve ever wondered what the phrase “well-rounded individual” means, take one look at Joseph Rizzo. He loves golf, swimming and the outdoors; plays three musical instruments; is studying Latin and Spanish, and loves math and science in school; is working toward becoming an Eagle Scout; and wants to be neurosurgeon and help people. Not […]


Sharon Kukowski finds good in people (and animals)

Sharon Kukowski has many loves — pets (she has eight), primitive art, vintage movies, her family and her parish. She’s always looking for the good in everyone and treating everyone with dignity and respect. She learned a lot of that from her parents and family growing up in Utica, and now she passes it along […]


John and Terry Reale Immaculata recipients

The Diocese of Syracuse recognizes and honors lay people whose service to their parish is extraordinary. The honoree is a person or couple whose love of the church has been shown through their devotion to the Holy Father, the diocese and their parish. This year, John and Terry Reale received this award at the Cathedral […]


Sacrament of Confirmation: What’s involved

So, you have a teenager ready to make his or her Confirmation. And you’re not sure of the process or how and why it happens here at St. Mary of Mount Carmel / Blessed Sacrament Parish. Our Confirmation program begins in the ninth grade. We like our students to attend a two-year program in order […]


The Apostles, after the Ascension of Jesus

As we sit in church, we hear snippets of the Old Testament and passages of the New Testament. We learn about the prophets of old and of the life and teachings of Jesus. We all know that Jesus was accompanied by 12 disciples, one of whom (Judas) eventually betrayed him and in a fit of […]


Grief takes time, so give it all that it might need

It has been said “the measure of your grief is the measure of your love.” Popular culture can lead us to believe that we should have “moved on” by now, “gotten over it” and “gotten on with life.” But our grieving is part of our life, not something removed from it. And there is nothing […]


Take a personal tour of Italy with Father Jim

We all like to take vacations, and that includes priests who sometimes need to get away for awhile to re-energize – just like the rest of us. Father Jim has visited Italy often, but every time he goes he discovers something new. He last traveled to the “Old Country” in May. Where did you visit […]