Carmella and William Ferioli Courtesy phtoto
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BRIDGEWATER -- William Ferioli has embraced Jesus’ call to feed the hungry, clothe the naked and care for the downtrodden.
Having served as president of the St. Vincent de Paul Society in his home parish of St. Thomas Aquinas in Bridgewater for the past decade, Ferioli has certainly been able to help people in their hour of need.
However, Ferioli has not stopped there. In addition to his work with the St. Vincent de Paul Society, he also helps run a parish food pantry out of the St. Thomas Aquinas parish center, with an average of 50 clients coming each week to receive food. The parish pantry also helps four other local charities -- three in Brockton and one in Middleborough -- feed those in need.
And as if that weren’t enough, every six weeks Ferioli, together with his wife of 42 years, Carmella, makes a journey of almost 100 miles from his home to the Most Holy Trinity Monastery in Petersham, Mass., with a carload of food for the cloistered Maronite Monks of Adoration.
“Going to Petersham started because my daughter, when she got married in 1994, went to Petersham to a different monastery there,” he explained. “She loved it there, and then she heard of the [monks of the] Maronite monastery who live on divine providence alone.”
“That got me thinking about bringing them food, because I know they often need it,” Ferioli continued.
Now, years later, he is so accustomed to the journey it doesn’t feel like a long drive anymore.
“For me the monks are like family,” he said with a smile. “I can’t imagine not going to visit with them.”
A Bridgewater native, Ferioli, 65, is the town’s former police chief, a position he held for over 22 years.
“My faith really carried me through my career,” he said, recalling that throughout his tenure, his office held “a statue of the Blessed Virgin, a picture of St. Michael and a prayer.”
“I always knew someone was really watching over me,” he added.
Ferioli praised his pastor, Father Joseph Raeke, for his energetic zeal.
“Father Joe is a great priest,” Ferioli said. “He’s got a lot of energy -- which is good because to run a parish you really need a lot of energy.”
According to Ferioli, Father Raeke is responsible for renovating the parish building, beginning with the upstairs church and now renovating the downstairs space as well.
“The interior of the church is absolutely beautiful,” Ferioli said.
Ferioli’s love for his parish is visible, and not just because of the parish building’s renovations.
He credits St. Thomas Aquinas for giving him a solid foundation for his faith, something that has influenced all the aspects of his life, not just his career. It is at St. Thomas Aquinas that he first received the sacraments; it is there that he raised his three children; and it is there that he now gives thanks to God for his life.
“God’s been real good to me,” he said pensively. “I have my health, my family and friends. Everything else is just icing on the cake.”
St. Thomas Aquinas Parish,
Year established -- 1848
Pastor -- Father Joseph Raeke
Parochial Vicar -- Father Carlos Kim
Senior Priest -- Father Edward McLaughlin
Deacon -- Deacon Leo Donoghue
Religious Education Director -- Francine Bell
Music Director -- Ted Babiczuk