Some missed work and others dragged themselves out of bed for an 8 a.m. service to honor Father Frank Iacona
, who congregants say has turned around this parish.
The parishioners credit Iacona
with stitching together a sense of community among the Anglo and Hispanic members, organizing the church, being a dynamic speaker and bringing a new level of compassion.Above all, he
has been a friend to many.
They surprised him with a party for the fifth anniversary of his
...Also a former lawyer, Iacona is admired for the millionaire lifestyle he gave up to become a priest and shepherd a north-side church.
"I had it all, but I felt a hunger," Iacona
is said to be a dynamite speaker , likely because of his
voice echoed off the cathedral ceiling.
asked what people were praying for, members called out.One woman said she
was praying for "Joe and Mary."
visits the sick, elderly and homebound every Wednesday.
sweeps the floors, takes out the trash and cleans wherever it's needed.
united the Anglo and Hispanic populations in the church, said Karen Sinderman.
To build a community, you should throw a party, Iacona
says, because people should celebrate together as well as pray together.
"That (unity) can be a challenge sometimes.We tend to see what separates us more than what unites us," he
"The thing I learned a long time ago is whatever is said about us, good or bad, has more to do with the person saying it than it does us," Iacona
...Iosif Enciu (right) looks up to Father Frank Iacona, the priest at Sacred Heart Church, on Wednesday morning during a celebration of the fifth year of Iacona's priesthood.
... -- Estera Enciu, organizer of the celebration for Father Frank Iacona