St. Charles Catholic Church, 5310 NE 42nd Ave., welcomed a new Pastoral Administrator, Father Tony Galati, this summer.
Galati officially took his position in July and is no stranger to the Concordia neighborhood. He grew up in the Piedmont neighborhood and attended Holy Redeemer Grade School, Central Catholic High School and the University of Portland.
When he was a child, his family would occasionally attend Mass at St. Charles, something he remembers fondly as well as the friendships he made with St. Charles parishioners through the years.
Following graduation from college, he began a 28-year career in international shipping and then served as executive director of Portland’s Catholic Radio station, KBVM, now Mater Dei Radio. Galati noted he became interested in the radio station during his commutes. “I would time my drive so I could pick up certain programs during my workday,” he said.
He eventually joined the station’s board in 2002 and was hired as director in 2005, a position he held till 2014. During his tenure at KBVM, he helped to solidify its financial support and expanded its reach in Oregon, extending the station’s broadcast reach by purchasing two transmitters in the Eugene area.
Previously married, Father Galati has two grown sons and three grandchildren. His marriage was annulled, a Catholic process by which a marriage is considered invalid because it lacks at least one essential element to make it a binding union. Because of this, Galati was able to become an ordained minister in the church.
About a decade ago, he said he felt God’s call to the priesthood and was encouraged by others, including a priest friend, to consider joining the clergy.
“It took me a while to discern, and I did, and I haven’t looked back since,” he said. Galati decided to enter Mount Angel Seminary in St. Benedict and was accepted in 2016 and ordained in 2021.
Now at age 65, he is new to the priesthood but grateful for his life experiences, which he feels will help him to better do the things a priest is consecrated to do. He noted his age and life story enabled him to give spiritual counsel grounded in the practical challenges all people face.
“Had I not been married and had kids, I could not do this job,” he said. “I come with an instinctive desire to be a spiritual father to people.”
His priorities will be administering the sacraments, serving as celebrant for weekend and daily Masses, visiting the sick and homebound and presiding at funerals and weddings.
“I love it all,” he said when asked what he enjoys about being a priest. “Whether it’s celebrating Mass or anointing the sick or hearing confession or baptisms, for me it’s been wonderful. I feel duty-bound in being generous in offering the sacraments.”
In his first Sunday homily, he told the congregation: “It’s a privilege and blessing for me to be here with you. May God bless you and let’s pray for each other that we may be Christ to one another.”
This story contains additional reporting by Rob Cullivan.