Francis G. Di Matteo, O.S.A.

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1904 – 1996 (February 24)

Francis Gabriel Di Matteo, son of Anthony Di Matteo and Filomena De Ascentis, was born on September 12, 1904, in Macedon, New York, and was baptized on October 9, 1904, in the Church of Saint Anthony of Padua in Rochester. He received his early education at the Seymour Street School, the Lincoln School and the school of the Holy Family, and later worked for a brief time in Auburn, New York, and also in West Chester, Pennsylvania. “Dominic,” as he is known to most Augustinians, made a visit with his parents to a family residence in Ponzano, Italy, and was called to serve in the peace-time Italian Army. After thirteen months of military service he returned to the United States and, in 1929, entered Augustinian Academy, Staten Island, New York, as a postulant. He began his novitiate year on September 9, 1932, professed first vows on September 11. 1933, and three years later made solemn profession. He studied philosophy at Villanova College and earned a bachelor’s degree in 1937. He pursued theological studies at Tolentino, Italy, where he was ordained to the priesthood in the Salesian Chapel of Macerata on June 2, 1940. 

On July 6, 1941, Father Di Matteo returned to the United States and received a temporary assignment to Saint Nicholas of Tolentine Parish, Jamaica, N.Y. A month later he became a curate at Saint Rita Parish, Philadelphia, Pa., where he served until 1943, when the Assistant General of the Order requested that he assist at the Italian Vice-Province parish of Saint Nicholas of Tolentine, Philadelphia. In 1945, Father Di Matteo was assigned to the Italian National Parish of Holy Rosary, Lawrence, Mass. Here, on September 7, 1950, he fought off two thieves who entered the premises on the pretense that a priest was needed
to assist a sick person. In 1952, he returned to Saint Nicholas of Tolentine Parish, Philadelphia where he remained for four years. From 1956 to 1962, he served as assistant pastor at the parish of Our Lady of the Angels in Jacksonville, Florida. Then, after a short stay at Saint Rita, Philadelphia, he returned to his first parish, Saint Nicholas of Tolentine, Jamaica, N. Y. In 1967, Father Di Matteo was appointed assistant pastor at the church of Saint Augustine, Lawrence, Mass., and in 1969, returned to Holy Rosary Parish where he remained until 1993. At age 89, he retired to the Monastery of Our Mother of Good Counsel, Merrimack College, North Andover, Mass. The following year he became a member of Saint Thomas of Villanova Monastery, Villanova, Pa., where he passed away on February 24, 1996. 

Father “Dom” was best known for his compassion, especially in the sacrament of reconciliation. Beyond his priestly duties he was always attentive to the ordinary tasks of human living such as closing windows and locking up the church. He was motivated by the Pauline principle, “…whether you eat or drink – whatever you do – you should do all for the glory of God.” A pastor of Holy Rosary parish commented, “Father Di Matteo is so holy that the only one he listens to is God.” 

A Mass for Father “Dom” was offered at Saint Thomas Church, Villanova Pa, and a Mass of the Resurrection was celebrated at Holy Rosary Church, Lawrence, Mass., followed by interment at the Augustinian plot of Saint Mary’s Cemetery, Lawrence, Mass.