On August 31, 2018, the apostolic service of our confrere, Friar Angelo D’ONOFRI ended. Having served fifty-six years in the Roman Curia, he is today the oldest employee of the Vatican Secretariat of State.
Friar Angelo is a member of the former Province of Rome, today known as the Italian Province of St. Francis of Assisi (Central Italy). He began his service at age twenty-seven, on July 1, 1962. He had been ordained a priest one year prior. Having completed Missiology Course at the Propaganda Fide [Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples], he asked to leave for the missions. Obedience, however, called him elsewhere, when the then Procurator of the Order, Friar Gaetano STANO, assigned him to serve at the Secretariat of State.
For the last fifty-six years, he has played a rather delicate role in the Archive of the Secretariat, as an employee of the “Separate and Confidential Envelopes” Section, a position he carried out with the painstaking attitude of a faithful servant and custodian of a very precious heritage. Through his hands (using a pen more than a computer) have passed the records of all the staff of the Roman Curia, plus thousands of documents, letters and dossiers from the Vatican Dicasteries, the Apostolic Nunciatures and the dioceses of the world.
Within the Secretariat, he was a member of various Commissions and was entrusted with the power of signature to validate the entry permits of priests and religious from all over the world coming into Italy. Always reserved, he was the silent guardian of many secrets. In 2005, at the age of seventy, he had reached retirement age, but the Pope held onto him for another thirteen years.
During his years of apostolic service, he worked for the administrations of six Popes: John XXIII, Paul VI, John Paul I, John Paul II, Benedict XVI and Pope Francis. He served under six Secretaries of State: Cardinals Cicognani, Villot, Casaroli, Sodano, Bertone and Parolin.
Today, Friar Angelo is 83 years old and enjoys excellent health. He currently serves as the house Econom for the friary of San Giacomo di Roma and is the custodian of the 17th century Church of San Giacomo alla Lungara.
Friar Paolo FIASCONARO, Press Secretary of the Friary of San Giacomo-Rome