Hundreds of people gathered in Duquesne Saturday as Bishop David Zubik joined a Pittsburgh priest living with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, or ALS, in taking the Ice Bucket Challenge.
The Rev. Dennis Colamarino, pastor of Christ the Light of the World Parish and Saint Joseph Parish, was diagnosed with ALS, a disease that affects the nerves in the brain and in the spine, 15 months ago.
Since his diagnosis, Colamarino has lost the strength in his legs, but his faith remains.
“This is where I usually need a Kleenex. I can’t believe how loved I am,” said Colamarino. “For 31 years I led these parishes with my feet and my mouth and hands. Now I don’t have any legs because of the ALS, so they have become the feet.”
Colamarino’s parishioners have built ramps so he can continue to say Mass on the weekends. They have also formed “Team Father Dennis” for the Walk to Defeat ALS in Pittsburgh in September.
Following an 11 a.m. Mass Saturday at Christ the Light of the World, Zubik and Colamarino both had buckets of ice water dumped on them.
“You know, I was OK until I came out here and saw those little signs that said, ‘No parking. Funeral.’ So the sooner we get this over with, the better I’ll know my fate,” said Zubik.
Colamarino was happy to take the challenge alongside the bishop.
“It was an absolutely fabulous, exciting event. We had about 800 people in church today. The bishop brought the house down a few times. I think the best time was when he got wet,” said Colamarino.
Ted Rybka said, “Father Dennis has been a lifeline for the parishes here and for the community.”
“I'm the pastor and they're parishioners, but it's more than that -- we are family,” said Colamarino.
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