A church in the Diocese of Allentown is among those included in a new book that chronicles the author’s attendance at 52 Masses in all 50 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico.
Daniel Markham did all that traveling and attended all those Masses over the past two years, uncovering the “ties that bind us” wherever he visited.
He profiled parishes and parishioners whose experiences bear witness to the Real Presence of God in our lives. Along the way, he visits chapels, cathedrals, basilicas, and makeshift churches.
In the Diocese of Allentown, he attended a noon Mass at Notre Dame of Bethlehem. That Mass was celebrated by Father Bernard Ezaki, in residence at Notre Dame, working alongside Monsignor Thomas Baddick, pastor.
“Father Ezaki has been a priest in the Diocese of Allentown for nearly 35 years. When he was ordained in 1988, he became the first legally blind priest in the diocese,” wrote Markham.
“His blindness dates almost to birth, when he arrived to parents Dr. Toshio and Mary Ezaki 10 weeks early. His premature birth was treated, as had been standard at the time, with excessive oxygen, a regimen that led to the near-total loss of his eyesight.”
“He delivered an informative homily rooted in Catholic teaching, shared a few dad jokes at Mass’s end and profusely praised the performance by the music ministry that afternoon, which only confirmed the conventional wisdom that the loss of one sense heightens the others,” said Markham about the Mass celebrated by Father Ezaki.
“The trio of father David Guro on piano, daughter Paula on trumpet, and son Matthew on violin was truly exceptional.”
The rest of the section about Notre Dame is devoted to Father Ezaki’s other role at the time, as chaplain of Kolbe Academy in Bath.
“Kolbe Academy is not your typical school. In fact, it’s the very definition of atypical. It is one of just 45 recovery high schools in the United States and the only one of those 45 schools that’s founded in faith,” wrote Markham. A recovery school is a new type of educational facility for young people fighting addiction to drugs and/or alcohol.
Also highlighted in the book are John Petruzzelli, former principal of Kolbe; Andrew D’Angelo, current principal; and Dr. Brooke Tesche, former chancellor of Catholic education. Father Christopher Butera is now chaplain at Kolbe.