Ocean City Catholics Thank Father Kolla for His Service to Parish
Father Edward Kolla is transferred to Christ the Good Shepherd Church in Vineland.
Father Edward Kolla was a local.
He was a common sight at religious ceremonies and religious education classes. He was the chipper voice you heard at Mass in the morning and was always ready with a smile and a greeting.
Parishioners in Ocean City see Kolla’s transfer to Christ the Good Shepherd Church in Vineland as a loss for Saint Damien Parish and gain for his new parish family.
At an after-Mass celebration in Culliney Hall at Saint Frances Cabrini on Sunday, Feb. 12, parishioners had the opportunity to express their thanks to Father Kolla for his years of dedicated service to the Catholic population of Ocean City, and Father had some words of farewell for his parish family.
“I will certainly miss all the fine people I have come to know and love in the past five years in Ocean City," Kolla said. "My priestly service here has made me a better priest and a better human being.”
Father continued to discuss his ambivalence about leaving Ocean City:
“Change has never been easy for me, but I know that with change comes the opportunity for growth. Although this transfer has come about rather quickly and unexpectedly, I embrace it, trusting in God's providence. I will remember you in my daily prayers. Please pray for me, too.”
Members of the Pastoral Council expressed their sentiments as well.
Michael Allegretto had this story to tell:
“I remember when my son and two other children spent a month learning how to become altar servers. I remember sitting with the other parents watching how Father patiently went over every detail of the Mass with the kids. They were able to learn the reasons for everything done at Mass, and I appreciate the extra effort Father Kolla took with these kids. It was truly a great learning experience for my son. I appreciate the time Father took with the kids to make sure they understood the importance their contribution would add to the weekly Mass.”
Former students and altar servers were quick to remember Father Kolla’s support and encouragement. More than one young parishioner mentioned that Father Kolla never made them feel nervous about answering questions in class. He always maintained a pleasant and cordial demeanor, always letting children take their time, and making sure they understood the concepts.
Michael Allegretto continued to say, “I know for my son it was always a big deal every Christmas when Father Kolla would give each of the kids in choir a gift certificate for singing at Mass. It was very generous, and I thank Father for making the kids feel special for participating at Mass.”
Greg Donahue of Saint Damien Parish also had some words to say about Father Kolla.
“Fr. Kola is a dedicated priest who takes pride in his vocation to the priesthood. He always attempted to provide spiritual insights to help those in his parish to grow in their religious convictions. He has the ability to offer genuine emotional support to the sick and comfort to grieving families, and always enjoyed children. He took pride in visiting St. Augustine School while it was open.”
Greg Donahue says that although Ocean City will miss him, his parishioners understand that he must go to those in need.
“While I am sure leaving Ocean City was difficult for him, his skills were not meant for our town alone — his calling is to go where most needed.”
Anyone who would like to contact Father Kolla can contact Christ the Good Shepherd in Vineland.