The Rev. Richard Carlino will be taking over as administrator and pastor of St. Anthony’s Church.
The Rev. John Medwid left St. Anthony’s early this month to take over as pastor of St. Mary’s Church in Amsterdam, his hometown.
Carlino’s new position will be somewhat of a homecoming as well. He had previously served as pastor of the Nott Street church for seven years. For the last six years, he has served as pastor at St. John the Evangelist Church on Union Street and St. Mary’s Church on Eastern Avenue.
Carlino will not be giving up his position at either parish — rather, he will be spreading his duties among the three parishes.
The priest said he is “delighted” about the decision made by the Albany Roman Catholic Diocese and announced during Masses during the weekend.
“There is an old saying in Italian, ‘Il primo amore no si scorda mai,’ which means ‘the first love you never forget,’ ” Carlino said. “This was my first parish so that’s what’s been resonating with me since the decision.”
Carlino, 56, has been a priest for 29 years.
He said the people at each parish have been congratulating him on his new role and are understanding that the new position will entail more work.
“People are wonderful and understanding and supportive, and it means very much to us priests to have their support,” Carlino said.
Ron McClosky, a member of the parish council at St. Anthony’s Church, said the appointment of Carlino will be a transition for parishioners.
“It’s a transition that people will have to go through due to the loss of someone that people have been accustomed to for the last 12 years,” he said.
McClosky said he is aware that the decision signals a trend throughout the Albany Diocese.
“You won’t be able to walk into an office unannounced and expect to see the pastor there because at the present time he has three churches to attend to,” McClosky said.
The Albany Diocese is experiencing an extreme shortage of priests. Currently, there are 131 active priests in the 165-parish diocese, which is about the size of Massachusetts, but by 2012 there are expected to be only 31.
Carlino said he doesn’t expect changes in the Mass schedules at any of his three churches.
“I have a good relationship with a half dozen retired priests who are willing to cover,” he said.
St. Anthony’s Church will host a celebration for one of those retired priests on Sunday. The Rev. Anthony DeFranco, 96, is celebrating his 70th year as a Roman Catholic priest during a ceremony at 2 p.m. More than 40 priests are expected to attend, including Bishop Howard Hubbard.