Attending the Mass were Avagliano’s two children, who supported his decision to become a priest when he told them about it almost two years ago.
“One of them took off my diaconal stole, put the priestly stole on me, and between the two of them they put the chasuble on me,” said Avagliano.
The 68-year-old new priest said he was always close to God, growing up in a strong Catholic family in the La Boca neighborhood in Buenos Aires. He said that his parents gave him the love and care that served as an example for him when he began his own family.
When Avagliano was 15 years old, his father died. Three months later, his older sister also passed away. While this marked one of the most difficult periods of his life, he said faith in God and the support of his mother and other sister helped him endure.
“God never abandoned me, he gave me strength to help and support my mother…with her faith we carried on. We never stopped trusting in God. His strength cannot be explained, you feel it and experience it,” he said.
The priest said his mother handed on that faith to him ever since he was a child, because she always took him to Mass at Saint John the Evangelist parish, where he received the initial sacraments, was confirmed, and later got married and had his children baptized there.
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Avagliano and his wife dated for four years before getting married when he was 23. After he finished school, he worked for almost 48 years, mostly as a public servant, and retired in 2020 during the coronavirus lockdown. During much of this time he served as a permanent deacon in his diocese.
On July 13, 2014, after 38 years of marriage, Flora passed away. Avagliano said he still feels her closeness to him.
“She is up above with God, but she is present in my life always. Just as she accompanied me throughout my earthly life, she continues to accompany me throughout her life in Heaven,” he said.