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July 30, 2015

Faces of Fauquier: His call to Casanova extended

Photo/Cassandra Brown
“I had a very clear calling to be ordained,” Rector James Cirillo says. “Some days are tough; it’s not an easy job, even in a little place.”
In spite of the sign that says business friendly, I’m not so sure it really is. The board of supervisors wants to say it is, and I think it would be a better place if it were. But, it is a place that is filled with a lot of good people who are good neighbors. I think that is indicative of all of Fauquier County. There’s a lot of good ol’ boy in bad ways, but there is a lot of good ol’ boys in good ways, where you just help your neighbor because they need help.
By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Staff Journalist
On a small, peaceful hilltop near Casanova stands Grace Episcopal Church where the “sheepdog” watches over his flock.

Rector James Cirillo has guided and protected his congregation for more than 11 years.

“I call myself a sheepdog because I’m really not the pastor. Jesus is the pastor. He’s the great shepherd. I’m not really the shepherd, which is what pastor means. I nip at their heels to stay close to Jesus, but He is really the pastor, ultimately,” Rev. Cirillo said.

What began as a three-week job to fill in for a sick rector at the church in 2003 turned into service of more than a decade.

“I came to be kind of the temporary rent-a-priest,” he said.

Rev. Cirillo said God called him to be a rector and he attended Trinity School for Ministry to become ordained.

Founded in 1865 at the end of the Civil War, Grace Episcopal Church will celebrate its sesquicentennial anniversary in September.

The 1908 church still retains a stained glass window from the original building, which fire destroyed. It stands a mile and a half from the parish hall in the heart of Casanova.

About 35 parishioners attend the 9 a.m. service each Sunday, and two other churches use the facilities.

Rev. Cirillo, who lives on the church property, loves the beautiful countryside of Fauquier and thinks highly of its residents.

“It is a place that is filled with a lot of good people who are good neighbors. I think that is indicative of all of Fauquier County,” he said.

In his spare time he loves to garden, hunt and play with his dogs. Each year, he assists with the Casanova Hunt blessing of the hounds and the blessing of the animals at the Fauquier SPCA, just outside the village.

His one complaint about Fauquier: “I think the biggest drawback is it’s not as business friendly as some folks want to say it is, and there’s room for a lot of business here that would bring income into this county without ruining the rural nature of the county.”

• Age
61

• Home
Grace Episcopal Church property near Casanova.

• Work
Rector (or senior pastor) of Grace Episcopal Church near Casanova for 11-½ years.
I came here for three months in November 2003 and was supposed to be here until January but they asked if could stay longer. Their rector had an illness and retired.

I came to be kind of the temporary rent-a-priest, and then they called me to be the priest in charge for a couple years till they figured out what to do. And then, I became the rector. My three-month gig has turned into 11-½ years.

I’ve been ordained for 32 years. My first church was in South Dakota. Then I was in South Carolina, then two churches in Pennsylvania, and now here I am, back home again. I’m originally from the Annandale area.

• Why do you do the job?
I was called. I had a very clear calling to be ordained.

Some days are tough; it’s not an easy job, even in a little place.

It’s not something I would do unless I was called. I was very firmly called and had a lot of people affirm that call and I do it here because I really believe God has called me here as well. I follow what I guess I would call the Moses principal: You don’t move until you are called to move, and then when you are called to move, you move.

• Family
Wife, Dale; three sons, Jonathan, a lieutenant commander in the Navy; Peter, a nurse who lives in Portland, Oregon; and Matthew, a nurse who lives outside Philadelphia. Two golden retrievers, Dixie and Belle. Chickens and guinea fowl.

• Education
Master’s of divinity from Trinity School for Ministry in Ambridge, Pennsylvania, 1983. Emory and Henry College, bachelor of science in biology, 1976. Thomas Jefferson High School, 1971.

• Civic involvement
Assists with the annual Casanova Hunt blessing of the hounds and the blessing of the animals at the Fauquier SPCA, both in October.

Chaplain and board member of the Hospice Support of Fauquier County.

Chaplin in the Virginia State Defense Force, the commonwealth’s military reserve.

• How long have you lived in Fauquier?
11 years

• Why do you live here?
I live here because I was called to be at this church. I love Fauquier County. I love this area. I live in a beautiful setting, and I’m not in any hurry to leave. When I leave, I have to find a place to live because I live in a church-owned house.

Southern Fauquier County is a beautiful place in a different way than northern Fauquier County. This is just a lovely area to live in, and Casanova is a great place. There are a lot of really good people here.

• How do you describe this county?
Fauquier County is mostly rural. Certainly there are a few places like Warrenton and Marshall, Bealeton and Remington that are towns with a Main Street and an identity.

In spite of the sign that says business friendly, I’m not so sure it really is. The board of supervisors wants to say it is, and I think it would be a better place if it were. But, it is a place that is filled with a lot of good people who are good neighbors. I think that is indicative of all of Fauquier County. There’s a lot of good ol’ boy in bad ways, but there is a lot of good ol’ boys in good ways, where you just help your neighbor because they need help.

• What would you change about Fauquier?
Make Fauquier more business friendly. Bring in a Trader Joes to Warrenton. Not much. I think the biggest drawback is it’s not as business friendly as some folks want to say it is, and there’s room for a lot of business here that would bring income into this county without ruining the rural nature of the county. But it’s got to be in some people’s backyard. You have to pick some places that you’re going to develop and some places that you’re going to leave alone and just do that with forethought. There is room to have some things, and there is room for it to remain natural and rural as well. It is close enough to Washington or Richmond. I have to go to Northern Virginia every once in awhile just to remember there isn’t traffic jams in Fauquier County.

• What do you do for fun?
Gardening and hunting. Play with my dogs.

• What’s your favorite place in Fauquier?
Probably right here, on my front porch. It doesn’t get much better than this.

• What will Fauquier be like in 10 years?
Not very different. I think pretty much the same.

• Favorite TV show?
NCIS

• Favorite movie?
I really don’t have a favorite movie at this point of my life.

• Favorite book?
Besides the Bible, my favorite author is Tom Clancy.

• Favorite vacation spot?
Somewhere near the water, the ocean. I love saltwater fishing, not that I do it much anymore.

• Favorite food?
Chocolate and pasta, but not together. And beef.

• What is the best advice you have ever received? From whom?
My father-in-law, Col. Peter Lewis Hilgartner, (who passed recently), before we got married. He said if you can’t touch toes in bed at night, you have something you need to talk about.

The scriptures say be angry, but do not sin. Do not let the sun go down on your anger. So it was very biblical advice, but not cast in biblical language at all.
He did a tour in Korea and two tours in Vietnam and received the Silver Star among other things.

• Who’s your hero and why?
One of my heroes is my son, Jonathan. He is a man of really solid character and is dedicated in whatever he is doing. He is a family man, a good naval officer and he’s going to get out of the Navy because his family comes first. Has served in the Navy for 10 years.

• What would you do if you won $1 million in the lottery?
Only $1 million? If I won one of the really big ones, I would start orphanages overseas and give most of it away.

Well, first of all, I would tithe and give $100,000 right off the top. You have to pay taxes so that puts it down to half a million so that would leave me $400,000. I would probably buy a home, probably a farm in Fauquier County. Buy a diesel truck and give my children money.


Do you know someone who lives in Fauquier County you would like to see in Faces of Fauquier? E-mail Cassandra Brown at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or Editor Lou Emerson at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Previous Faces of Fauquier:

• Don’t tell Angela Deal, Ms. Wheelchair Fauquier, that she can’t do something.

• FHS graduate and business owner Cathy Dodson finds all she needs right here.

• Mike Harvey’s sweet work takes lots of sweat.

• Warrenton native Joan Williams still serving her community.

• Classic cars consume engineer Matt Innocenzi’s free time.

• Wood transformed in the hands of Edward Fox.

• Earl Arrington serves printing customers and his community.

• Michael Hughes wears music, threater and equestrian hats.

• Store in Goldvein part of Susan Leopold’s family legacy.

• County native Maggi MacQuilliam devoted to the great outdoors.

• Health care for the needy Rob Marino’s mission.

• Daphne Latimore focuses on human capital.

• Horses extend Louise Summers’ work as teacher.

• As volunteer coach, Jeff Budd develops young wrestlers.


• Fraces Allshouse’s jobs focus on preservation.

• Jessica Smolinski’s book introduces children to Old Town Warrenton.

• Margaret Rice’s job all about fitness and fun in Warrenton.


• Robert Sturgeon has built his 70-employee businesses in Bealeton from scratch.

• 4-H leader Zach Woodward relishes the lessons of farming.

• Hospital auxiliary volunteer Alison Lee also earned fame in drag racing circles.

• Highland School veteran staff member Lise Hicklin always wanted to teach.


• As 9-1-1 dispatcher, Kateland Rich works to maintain calm during crisis.

• Chaplain Liz Danielsen finds a giving community.


• 9-1-1 response in Rodney Woodward’s bloodline.

• Fast talk a tool of the trade for auctioneer Kathy Shumate.

• Sam Poles takes care of varmits.

• Diane King mentors student performers at Fresta Valley Christian School.


• Lewis F. Lee Jr. followed his father into taxidermy business.

• Edward Payne returns to Orlean and to photography with passion.

• Janet Metzger’s Old Town Warrenton shop a hub of creativity.

• Pablo Teodoro bakes to build community.

• Community trails have become passion for retired VDOT engineer Bob Moore.


• Teresa Reynolds makes transition from butcher to museum director.

• After working in New York and Italy, Christine Fox moved home to open fashion boutique 25 years ago.

• Steve Lewis develops hunting reality show on Dish Network.

• Julia Trumbo grew up in the family grocery business.

• Tax preparer Renée Turner enjoys owning a business in Old Town Warrenton.

• ICU staff Carol Jones values patients’ trust.


• Wilson Sanabria grew up working in his family’s Warrenton restaurant and learning to box.

• One-man band Peter Fakoury quit 9-to-5 to learn from children.

• Liberty graduate Brittany Aubrey works in the smile business.

• Walmart cashier Lulu Baer loves to play violin and several community roles.

• In Sandra Alm, SPCA dogs have a loyal companion.

• St. James’ Episcopal new Rector Ben Maas appreciates community’s embrace

• Bicycles dominate work and play for Brian Larson.

• Teaching music therapy combines Abigail Newman’s passions.

• Brenda Rich leads volunteers who organize and run the Fauquier County Fair.

• 1st Sgt. Greg Harris stresses empathy in his job as a supervisor at the county detention center.


• Chuck Tippett challenges the “rich guy” stereotype about pilots.


• County government employee Surja Tamang previously worked as a Mt. Everest sherpa.

• Woody Isaac found his calling as a chef at age 16.

• Horses take Tommy Lee Jones all over the county.


• Retired nurse Angela Neal continues to volunteer in hospital ER.

• Gilmer Lee really knows high school sports in Fauquier.

• Stage remains central to Tim Bambara’s life journey.

• Bus driver Melissa Strain’s weekend job all about “fun.”


• Bartender Taylor Edgar has a pretty good standup routine.

• A nomad childhood led Paul Schmeling to start a moving company.


• Adam Lynch’s family owns café with local food focus and a special name.

• Patricia McMahon Rice turns passion for art into her livelihood.

• Cindy D’Ambro works as “director of first impressions” at LFCC.

• Ginger Hilleary leads local literacy organization.

• Farmers with groundhog problems call Rod Kirkpatrick.


• Horses “retire” to work with Jeanne Blackwell.

• Remington cattle farmer Doug Linton loves his home and work.

• Sports central to Robert Glascock’s life’s work.

• For Richard Mast, company ownership started with his summer work as a teenager.

• Bernice Simpson knows northern Fauquier back roads and the people who live along them.

• Eddie Payne has logged 38 years as a volunteer firefighter in Marshall.


• Stephanie Layton turns her lifelong passion for dance into her livelihood.


• Shawn LaRue matches children and adoptive families.


• Biker and psychology major Clif Stroud makes music in a big way.

• Becky Crouch greets lots of visitors.

• She helped blaze trail to equality for black teachers.


• Family and food come first for Marshall pizzeria employee.

• Rural “closeness” of Fauquier appeals to Kansas native

• A “spoke” in the wheel of preservation.

• His job dovetails with passion for hunting

• Veteran educator sees the potential in every child.

• His passions: Fixing cars and helping people


• Habitat ReStore volunteer appreciates Fauquier’s diversity.


• Dad’s example led to new career at Fauquier Hospital.

• He lives and works in a beautiful place.

• The Goldvein firehouse ranks as his favorite place.


• Pretty things everywhere she looks.

• Through scouting, he encourages girls to explore.

• One day, he might run the company.


• FISH volunteer likes to help others.

• She sees the community’s generosity.

• Cop patrols while most people sleep.


• Pastor a constant in Calverton.


• She keeps the courthouse spotless.


• He loves working working outdoors at the park.


• She sees “everyone” at Carousel

• Library assistant works in a “fun place"

• Hat lady sets up shop in Old Town Warrenton


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