By Emily Drooby
A big party for a big day.
On Friday, May 28, everywhere Father Frank Labita went, he was greeted with birthday wishes.
“I’m the happiest guy in the world,” Father Frank told Currents News.
He turned 98-years-old, making him the oldest priest in the Diocese of Brooklyn.
“Ninety-eight years, that’s all,” Father Frank said. “Don’t add any more.”
Many of those years were spent as a priest. It’s something, he says, he knew he wanted to do at only 14-years-old.
“I was aware that there was a lot of suffering in the world, and I thought to myself, if I become a priest, maybe I will be able to help people with their problems and they’ll be at peace,” Father Frank said.
Coming up on 72 years of being ordained, Father Frank brought his big smile and positive energy to churches across the diocese. This year, he celebrated his birthday at the Immaculate Conception Center in Douglaston.
Reporter Emily Drooby asked him, “What’s the secret to 98-years?” which Father Frank replied, “try to always be good and kind and patient and loving with people.”
He shared his special day with seven priests’ ordination anniversaries.
Father Robert Czok served for 55 years.
“God really writes straight with many crooked lines,” Father Czok said. “It’s hard to follow sometimes, but he’s still in charge, and I still follow him.”
Following God and being there for people is a crucial part of the priesthood for all three men including Father Frank.
“Help people be kind, never scold, never yell, be loving,” Father Frank said.
Words to live by and words that after 98 years, Father Frank still lives by.