Father Robert A. DiMattei, pastor of St. Athanasius in Curtis Bay, is in the midst of a St. Rose of Lima parish crash course.
Following the retirement of St. Rose’s pastor, Father Joseph M. O’Meara, Father DiMattei will also shepherd the Brooklyn cornerstone starting Jan. 1.
Father DiMattei said St. Rose’s challenges include “a decline in parish families and in school enrollment.”
“The future of the parish depends on its ability to evangelize, broaden its perspectives and call others to community,” he said.
Xaverian Brother Bill Griffin, formerly of Mount St. Joseph High School, will serve as St. Rose’s pastoral associate.
“After meeting with Brother Bill, I knew that God had sent me a gift,” Father DiMattei said.
Each parish will maintain their individuality, while sharing staff members. Serving both parishes will be a challenge for Father DiMattei.
“The laity must come forward and realize they, too, by their baptism, have a role in ministry and in the success and survival of their parishes,” he said.
Daily 8 a.m. Mass for both parishes will be at St. Athanasius starting Jan. 2. St. Rose Saturday Masses will be at 5:30 p.m., while Sunday will be at 9:15 a.m.
Father DiMattei said the parish school will remain St. Rose’s responsibility, while adding that principal Madeleine Hobik and her faculty “are extremely dedicated and give 100 percent to the school and its students.”
Father DiMattei said his ministerial approach is fundamental.
“I believe in seeing Christ in everyone I meet and in creating an atmosphere and parish where all are welcomed,” he said.
Father DiMattei served as associate pastor of Towson’s Immaculate Conception Parish from 1991 to 1996 and St. Jane Frances de Chantal in Pasadena from 1996 to 2000. In early 2000, he was made temporary administrator of St. Athanasius and pastor later that year.
Baptized at Baltimore’s St. Wenceslaus, Father DiMattei attended St. Elizabeth of Hungary School, Our Lady Queen of Peace School in Middle River, Archbishop Curley High School in Baltimore and Towson University.