Monsignor Robert F. Tucker waves to the parade as it passes St. Anthony of Padua Church on Saturday on the occasion of his 50th anniversary as a priest. BZ photos

It was an outpouring of love and support on Saturday for Monsignor Robert F. Tucker as he celebrated the 50th anniversary of his ordination as a priest.

A surprise parade passed Tucker outside St. Anthony of Padua Church in Litchfield in a tribute to his half-century as a spiritual leader. Twenty-five of his years as a priest have been spent at St. Anthony’s, where he has achieved legendary status not only as a pastor but also as a friend and role model to many.

Well over 200 parishioners of St. Anthony’s, Our Lady of Grace Church in Bantam and St. Thomas of Villanova Church in Goshen, which make up the St. Louis de Montfort Parish Tucker oversees, along with many of his friends cruised by the church to express congratulations.

The caravan was planned without Tucker’s knowledge by St. Anthony’s secretaries Carol Andrulis and Missy Deacon, and St. Thomas of Villanova secretary Cate Corwin. He was clearly moved by the turnout.

Monsignor Tucker waves as the caravan passes by.

The cruiser of Resident Trooper Jim Holm led the caravan.

First Selectman Denise Raap shows her support.

Monsignor Tucker with church secretaries, from left, Carol Andrulis, Missy Deacon and Cate Corwin. Contributed photo

The Litchfield Fire Company ladder truck made an appearance.

A drone photo taken by Peter Tavino of Litchfield shows the caravan lining up at the high school.