Filippo Izzo, O.S.A.

1827 – 1888 (October 2)

Filippo Izzo was born September 14, 1827 at Maddalone, Italy. His twin brother Giacomo, was also an Augustinian. They were educated at our convent of Benevento from their 11th to 20th year and were vested at Benevento on October 11, 1838. They entered the novitiate at Tolentino, and on March 18, 1850 were ordained to the priesthood at Tolentino, following studies at Fermo, Bologna, Tolentino and Foligno.

Father Filippo was first assigned to the Church of Santa Maria del Popolo in Rome. In 1865 he was awarded the title of Bachelor. He later served as subprior and master of clerics at Sant’Agostino, Rome.

Father Filippo Izzo was sent to the United States together with Father Pacifico Neno on June 12, 1865 in response to a request for assistance in establishing a theological faculty at Villanova. On arrival, Father Izzo was appointed novice master, and Father Neno was placed in charge of the ecclesiastical department.

In October, 1867, Father Izzo became pastor of Saint Paul’s in Mechanicville, New York. He served as pastor until 1876 with Father Nazzareno Proposta, O.S.A. and Brother Sylvester Hogan, O.S.A. assisting him. For four or five weeks at the start of his term he also ministered to the people of Schaghticoke until the arrival of Father George Meagher, O.S.A. there as rector. 

In 1869 Father Izzo succeeded in raising a 125-foot steeple on Saint Paul’s Church, at a cost equal to that incurred in the original building of the church twenty years earlier; he also purchased a 2,000 pound bell which he dedicated to the Most Holy Trinity and Our Mother of Consolation. Two years later, with the support of 250 donors, he was able to outfit the church with stained-glass windows. He also built a grape arbor behind the friary and made his own wine. In 1872, he managed to fend off an assailant who tried to rob him of the Christmas Eve collection.

On September 29, 1873 Father Izzo purchased the old Episcopal Church in Stillwater in order to accomodate the increasing Catholic population there, predominantly Irish immigrants who had come to work in the paper mills. He blessed it as a mission of Saint Paul’s for Sunday and Feastday Masses. 
In the Fall of 1876, Father Izzo was transferred to Schaghticoke as the seventh rector of Saint John the Baptist Parish. There he remained until October, 1879 when he once again assumed the pastorate of Saint Paul’s.

At the 1874 Provincial Chapter, the first of the newly established American Province, Father Izzo had been elected one of 3 Judges of Cause. Present also among the 14 voting members of the Chapter were Fathers Neno and Proposta. Both Fathers Neno and Izzo were elected definitors to the first Provincial, Father Thomas Galberry, and Father Izzo was also appointed prior of Saint Paul’s in Mechanicville. 

Having successfully planted religious roots in two communities in New York, Father Izzo returned to Italy in the summer of 1881, “to the grief of his people” according to Father Middleton. He continued his ministry in the region of Rocca Romana, Naples, until his death on October 2, 1888. His brother, Father Giacomo Izzo, O.S.A. died three years later.