NEW YORK (CBSNewYork)– Timothy Cardinal Dolan ordained 14 Catholic priests on Saturday. Among the men embarking on this new journey was a hero in his own right and a man who is making New York Fire Department history.

Thomas Colucci is trading his fire captain’s uniform for a white collar and vestments, CBS2’s Magdalena Doris reported.

“The same calls… I’m saving lives, I’m saving souls,” Colucci said.

The 60-year-old former FDNY captain is embarking on a holy vocation and fulfilling his call of becoming a Catholic priest. He was ordained Saturday alongside 13 seminarians at Saint Patrick’s Cathedral.

The Rockland County resident who never married joined the FDNY in 1985 and was injured on the job in 2005 when a gas explosion left him with a head injury.

“He sent the firemen out and he stayed and got blown up. He had to leave the job then,” retired firefighter Jack Ginty said.

It changed the course of his life.

“I figured I’d devote my life to God,” Colucci said.

He was a man who always knew his purpose.

“Years ago when he was little, our neighbor and my brother they would play church,” Chris Colucci, Thomas’ brother, said. “He been father Tom long before he’s been a priest.”

Once a hero in dangerous situations, Father Colucci will again be lending a hand to those in need, this time as a spiritual guide.

“I’m excited about working with the people, leading them to God,” he said.

After the ceremony, New York’s bravest honored Father Colucci with a salute and they’ve got him decked out for his first mass.

“My mass vestments that I’ll be wearing are from two firehouses that say brothers forever,” he siad.

For his first parish, Father Colucci will be stationed at Saint Mary’s church in Fishkill, New York. He will perform his first mass tomorrow in his home parish.


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