Tony Cerullo Pilot photo/ Courtesy Tony Cerullo
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WAKEFIELD -- Tony Cerullo, parishioner at St. Florence Parish in Wakefield, sees the hand of God behind every event in his life -- the good ones as well as the difficult ones.
Originally from New Jersey, he came to Wakefield in 1952 to live with his sister while he was being treated for epilepsy at Massachusetts General Hospital.
“I was hit by a car, and that left me with epilepsy,” he explained.
“The first thing I did when I came here was to become a parishioner at St. Florence,” Cerullo continued. “And the first thing I did at St. Florence was to join the Holy Name Society.”
His involvement in the Holy Name Society has helped define his faith. Still active in the Society today, Cerullo, 84, believes that becoming a member was “the best thing I ever did.”
Over the years, Cerullo has served as the president of the parish’s Holy Name Society as well as president of the Woburn District Holy Name Society. He also was vice-president of the Archdiocesan Holy Name Society, and president of the United Holy Name Society of Melrose, Stoneham and Wakefield.
But perhaps most dear to his heart is his involvement in the redefinition of the Holy Name pledge.
According to Cerullo, in 1967 a fellow parishioner pointed out the lack of any mention of human rights issues in the pledge. Cerullo, together with other members, drafted an addition to the pledge, which he presented to the Archdiocesan Holy Name Society.
They unanimously approved the addition, he said.
In 1992, Cerullo went back to the Archdiocesan Holy Name Society to ask that the human rights pledge also include protection for children “born and unborn.”
“We are the only archdiocese in the country that I know of that has those additions to its pledge,” he added.
In addition to his involvement in the Holy Name Society, Cerullo was a member of the St. Florence Junior Catholic Club, where he met his wife, Lorraine. Married 50 years before her passing in 2003, the couple raised four sons and were foster parents to several children, one of whom they adopted.
Cerullo also sang in the parish choir until he had to stop for health reasons in 2005.
A retired custodian for the Wakefield public schools, Cerullo remarried in 2007. Together with his wife Carol, he continues to be active in the parish and in the Holy Name Society. Most recently he organized a dinner/dance at St. Florence to benefit St. John’s Seminary in Brighton -- a benefit he has been organizing for several years.
Looking back on his life, Cerullo is thankful to God for everything.
“If I never had gotten hit by an automobile, I never would have come here. If I never would have come here, I never would have met my wife Lorraine,” he said. “And it all continues like that. It all has a purpose. It’s all been a blessing.”
St. Florence Parish, Wakefield
Year established -- 1947
Pastor -- Father Vincent J. Gianni
Deacon -- William E. Kerns
Religious Education Director -- Deanna Allard
Business Manager -- Joyce Patch
Music Director -- Phyllis Bunnell