A proud congregation gathered on Sunday to celebrate a man who has dedicated 45 of his 60 years of priesthood to the Peekskill community and Assumption Roman Catholic Church.
Monsignor Father Francis Ansbro, 84, celebrated his 60th year in the priesthood with 400 friends and family at a mass and reception. Ansbro, a pastor emeritus, gave the homily at the mass, which was led by Father John Higgens, the congregation’s pastor.
The Monsignor was ordained in 1951 at St. Joseph’s Seminary in Yonkers when he was 24 years old.
“I was the young one in my class," said Ansbro. "I started early.”
Ansbro always knew that he wanted to dedicate his life to God.
“I had it in me all along,” said the Monsignor as to why he decided to enter the priesthood.
Ansbro also credits his career choice to a Christian Brother his high school principal who suggested he go to Cathedral College.
Msgr. Ansbro spoke fondly about his lifetime in the priesthood, and recounted God’s many blessings that had been bestowed upon him in his Sunday homily
“Monsignor is loved by each and by all,” said Father Higgens. “His never failing kindness as a priest was obvious in the loving response of the people.”
The mass was followed by a reception at the church’s Father Wilson Hall, where both the hall and the attached gym were filled with those who came out to congratulate Ansbro.
“Everyone was a delight,” said Ansbro. “Throughout my years in the priesthood I’ve met so many wonderful people.”
Piper Joe Brady performed at the party, which lasted for several hours into the late afternoon.
“I thank God for the strength to get through it all,” said the Monsignor of his long day. “I was happy I was able to be there.”
Ansbro said he was also thankful that his younger brother, who just underwent a serious surgery, was able to travel from Yonkers to attend the mass and reception.
When asked if he was surprised by the number of people who came out to attend the celebration in his honor, Ansbro laughed.
“Well,” he said, “I’ve been here a long time.”