Fr. Tony Palazzolo
Fr. Tony was a successful business executive and the single parent of three children before he was surprised to receive a very strong and clear call in 1990 to enter the priesthood. In the early ‘70s, after a divorce and subsequent annulment, he became active in ministering to the divorced and separated in the Catholic Church. To better support his avocation, he began taking graduate courses at the University of Tennessee and completed a Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology in 1989. During this time, he continued his executive career and raise his children who are all college graduates.
In September of 1990, he set out to begin his seminary education, completing his first year at Princeton Theological Seminary. He then was directed to St. Mary’s Seminary in Baltimore where he completed his seminary education and earned a Master of Arts in Theology.
Fr. Tony was ordained to the Roman Catholic priesthood on December 12, 1993, in Mandeville, Jamaica, where he served as a missionary for two and one half years. He returned to the United States to serve at San Jose Catholic Church in Jacksonville, Florida, in the Diocese of St. Augustine, beginning in December, 1995 and continuing for until 2000. During that time, he also served in the Family Life Office of the Diocese of St. Augustine offering counseling, spiritual direction, marriage preparation and divorce ministry.
While serving as Parochial Vicar at San Jose Catholic Church, he traveled 20 weekends per year representing Food For The Poor. He also served as advisor to the Diocesan Center for Family Life, initiating ministry to the Divorced and Separated in the Diocese of St. Augustine. In addition, he presented workshops on parenting, divorce adjustment, faith, spirituality and marriage preparation. Fr. Tony is very proud of his children who are active in ministry in their respective churches, and his 12 grandchildren, five of whom he has baptized.
Beginning in January 2001, Fr. Tony spent two days each week at the Catholic Center assisting in the Tribunal and two days in the Family Life Office. He is in his thirteenth year of representing Food For The Poor, traveling to churches all over the United States raising consciousness and funding for the poorest of the poor in the Caribbean and Latin America.
In addition to preaching full-time for Food For The Poor, he also leads two one-week pilgrimages to Jamaica and Haiti each year for 20 people from all over the United States. Traveling with Food For The Poor, the groups build houses and minister to the poorest of the poor. These pilgrimages occur in April and November. Anyone over 25 is welcome.