Fr. John Nazzaro, who has been the face of the Salesian Boys & Girls Club in East Boston throughout his tenure, announced he will be leaving East Boston for a new assignment in New Jersey.
Provincial of the Salesians of St. John Bosco Fr. Tim Zak informed Fr. Nazzaro last that he will be transferred officially to Don Bosco Prep High in Ramsey, N.J., in August.
Before assuming his new responsibilities, he will be attending classes at the Chicago Theological Union in Chicago, Illinois.
Fr. Nazzaro has been associated in a variety of responsibilities at the Salesian Boys & Girls Club in the past 35 years–as Executive Director for the past 11 years, and more recently as Director of Mission for the club.
Fr. Nazzaro expressed his deep gratitude for the young people and the business community who have supported the club.
“I have received much more than I have given to the community of East Boston and its surrounding areas,” said Fr. Nazzaro, who grew up in Eastie and graduated from St. Dominic Savio. “I love this community and I truly love being a priest. If I was not a Salesian I would never have had the opportunity to work with young people over these past 35 years. East Boston is my home and I will miss a lot of the wonderful people I have worked with as well as a lot of my old friends.”
Fr. Nazzaro grew up on Falcon Street and has great memories of the Presto, Mario, Baglio, Scalifani and the DiMarco families who made Eastie special to grow up in.
“As kids, we were a band of brothers hanging out, playing sports and memories that have lasted a lifetime,” he said, reflecting on his life here. “As a young person going to the Salesian Boys & Girls Club and Dom Savio High School I fell in love with the Salesian spirit and the traditions of its founder, St. John Bosco. As a boy a Salesian Brother gave me a book “Wolves to Lambs”, it was about how St. John Bosco changed young people from wolves to lambs by being kind to them and giving them a safe place to play.
Fr. Nazzaro said once he finished that book he was ready to save the world.
“Over the years even though its not been easy I feel we have changed a lot of young people’s lives at the Salesian Boys & Girls Club,” he said. “Legends like Fr. Sid, Fr. Bob, Dave Ferrara and Wally Bowe just to name a few had a tremendous impact on my life.”
Fr. Zak has expressed his commitment to the community of East Boston by committing five Salesians to live at the Salesian Boys & Girls Club.
This past January the Boys & Girls Club’s Board of Trustees appointed new Executive Director Mike Triant as Fr. Nazzaro transitioned to the position of Director of Mission. Since January Fr. Nazzaro and Triant have been working on a smooth transition for the young people, staff and the community.
“Mike (Triant) is ready and able to take over the reigns as leader of our Salesian Boys & Girls Club as well as keep some of our great traditions but also bringing some fresh new ideas,” said Nazzaro. “He knows the Salesian Spirit and with the help of our community the Salesian Boys Club will continue to help thousands of young people in the future. “I would like to thank everyone who has been so supportive of the Salesian Boys & Girls Club, the Salesian Community and to me personally. I leave East Boston a very rich man. Not monetarily, but because I have met so many wonderful people who have graced me by their presence.”
In the end, Fr. Nazzaro said he and the Salesian’s job of helping young people will never be done.
“Transitioning young people from Wolves to Lambs still is a challenge and we need your help,” he said. “I am truly grateful to my earthly family, my Salesian Family and my Salesian Boys & Girls Club family. I am so Blessed these years to be able to come home and experience a little bit of heaven in my life. If there is any gift people would like to give me or an expression of thanksgiving please continue to support the Salesian Boys & Girls Club.”