35-year-old Italian priest from the Vatican to take charge of one of New York’s most important Italian parishes

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From soccer player to financial administrator, Fr. Luigi Portarulo is young but capable and responsible.

From soccer player to financial administrator in the Vatican, the new pastor of one of the most important Italian parishes in New York is young but impressive. His name is Fr. Luigi Portarulo.

Our Lady of Pompeii

Fr. Luigi is a 35-year-old priest originally from Bernalda (in southern Italy). Although he has served at the Vatican for many years, he recently received a new assignment, which he will start to carry out in November: to become the pastor of the parish and shrine of Our Lady of Pompeii in New York. The second national parish for Italians in that metropolis, it has connections with the Italian consulate in the Big Apple, TRM Network reports.

Virgin of Pompei
Our Lady of Pompeii Church in New York City has its origins in a chapel opened in 1891 by Scalabrinian Fr. Pietro Bandini at the headquarters of the newly formed Italian St. Raphael Society, a Catholic organization established to protect the many Italian immigrants upon their arrival in the United States

Public Domain

Seminary years

According to a biography of Fr. Luigi Portarulo published on the Facebook page of Radio Missione Francescana (RMF), he entered the St. Pius X Pre-Seminary in the Vatican at the very young age of 12. After ordination for the diocese of Como (he was ordained on June 9, 2012 in the northern Italian city’s cathedral), he spent his first years of priestly ministry at the Pre-Seminary itself—then still located within the Vatican; it was moved in 2021 by order of Pope Francis. He is a priest of the “Don Folci” Institute, a public association of the faithful; the venerable Fr. Folci was involved in the foundation of the Pre-Seminary.

It was during Wojtyla’s pontificate that Fr. Luigi discovered the beauty of the priestly vocation.

Archdiocese of Malta

Very young vice-rector and financial administrator

The Pre-Seminary’s website explains that one of the purposes of the institute is to attend to the needs of the liturgical services at St. Peter’s Basilica with its students as altar servers. During his time as vice-rector and financial administrator of the “Don Folci” Institute, Fr. Luigi won “the esteem, trust and sympathy of the young men who have had the experience of being altar servers at St. Peter’s Basilica in recent years,” RMF reports.

A great 5-a-side soccer player

Fr. Luigi is better known in some circles for his athletic prowess. During the annual “Clericus Cup,” a soccer tournament held in Rome among teams of priests and seminarians representing various Roman seminaries, pontifical universities, etc., he has been a star player for the team of the Fabbrica di San Pietro, the Vatican organization in charge of maintenance and decoration of St. Peter’s Basilica. RMF says that he has even played on the Italian futsal (5-a-side soccer) national priests’ team at the European Futsal Championship (who in America would even have thought that was a thing?).

Ministering at Holy Roman Protomartyrs Church

Fr. Luigi is in the process of obtaining a master’s degree in both ecclesial canon law and Italian law at the Pontifical Lateran University. Most recently, until his “promotion” to New York, the young pastor from Como has been exercising his ministry at the parish of Santi Protomartiri Romani.

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