“The priesthood is an adventure.”
Fr. David Poliafico enjoys scuba diving, travel, writing music, and boxing with friends and parishioners “to stay in shape.”
Four years ago, Fr. Poliafico wrote a Cantata for the celebration of the 125th anniversary of St. Joseph’s Cathedral.
“I have always been involved in music. I played the trumpet and was involved in band and orchestra in high school. I was music major at Cleveland State prior to attending seminary at the Josephinum. Music is prayer.”
However, Fr. Poliafico’s favorite hobby right now is scuba diving, and of course travel goes along with scuba diving when you live in Central Ohio.
He has been diving in Aruba, Grand Cayman, Curacao, Providenciales Island, St. Maarten, Belize, Isla Cozumel, Bahamas, Maui and Kona Hawaii, La Hoya California, Honduras and Circleville Ohio … in a freshwater lake that is about 20 feet deep that local divers use to practice.
“I have been to 25 tropical islands. I would like to visit every continent in my lifetime.”
To become certified to scuba dive, one has to complete classroom coursework, test, and complete several open water dives. He has completed 83 dives since 2001.
What does he enjoy scuba diving?
“It is a whole different world beneath the sea. The magnificent of God’s creation and creatures is overwhelming.”
Fr. Poliafico enjoys exploring underwater shipwrecks and of course the marine life. He has touched sting rays, swam with sharks, watched octopus scurry across the ocean floor, and would someday like to visit Australia and dive with Great White Sharks—from the safety of a diver’s cage.
“Sharks are interesting because they are left over from the dinosaur age. They are fascinating and I wonder how God could make something so different from other marine life. Most sharks are not dangerous to humans; the dangerous sharks are the great white, the tiger and the bull shark.”
Fr. Poliafico was able to dive with one of the top shark experts in the world who was featured on the Discovery Channel’s Shark Week in 2007. She has studied shark behavior and Fr. Poliafico watched her feed sharks and put a shark temporarily to sleep.
So how does the adventure of scuba diving complement his life as a priest?
“As described beautifully in the Chrism Mass, the priesthood is a sacrifice that we make for God and for our brothers and sisters. This dedication to serving is important and the lifestyle of a priest allows me to engage in adventure and have the freedom to travel. And the stories from my adventures make great homilies.”
What is his favorite aspect of scuba diving?
“I like the challenge of the unknown. Marine life has to be respected and the environment has to be respected. I don’t take unnecessary risks. You have to stay alert and know what you are doing.”
Has he ever been in real danger?
“I ran out of air twice. But, we are trained so we know when we are running low on air and allow time to surface slowly—and the crew is ready to help. You can’t panic; panic is never good at any time in life.”
On another occasion a shark was swimming straight toward his face, so he closed his eyes and the shark turned at the last minute.
“Diving at night is also unnerving as you only have a small light with you,” said Fr. Poliafico.
When asked if it is hard to balance the exciting, occasional trips to exotic locals with the structure of the priesthood, Fr. Poliafico explains: “I like the structure of the priesthood. The needs of families in our local community are as important as the needs of those in far off lands. We are called to serve and I try to do that. Of course, I am always planning my next trip.”