Monsignor Moretti, pastor of Sts. Peter and Paul Parish, has died
Longtime pastor and vicar general of Diocese of Venice served as a priest for 50 years
Published Tuesday, July 27, 2010 10:00 am
by Bob Reddy - The Florida Catholic
BRADENTON -- Msgr. Edward D. Moretti, vicar general of the Diocese of Venice and longtime pastor of Sts. Peter and Paul the Apostles Parish, died Friday, July 23, 2010, after a short illness. He was 76.

(Obituary in Bradenton Herald)

Msgr. Moretti will be remembered for being a humble man who talked about his time as a priest with reverence and a good sense of humor. He marked the 50th anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood on July 10.

Bishop Frank J. Dewane, bishop of the Diocese of Venice, expressed his condolences to Msgr. Moretti’s family, and to all who knew him. “Please pray for the repose of his soul. May he rest in peace.”

Bishop Dewane added that Msgr. Moretti “was a trusted adviser and friend; indeed he was a priest who possessed unique gifts that made him a legend in his own time. Msgr. Moretti was a man of God. He had a holiness of life that served as an example to us all.”

Bishop Emeritus John J. Nevins said, “Msgr. Moretti was a dear friend. He was man of prayer! He gave a total commitment of his life to Christ which was always evident in his actions and his life.”

During a 50th anniversary celebration of his ordination to the priesthood at Sts. Peter and Paul Parish in February, Msgr. Moretti spoke about how he was initially told to wait before entering seminary prep school. Determined to pursue his dream, he eventually got his way and later accepted a chance to study at the Gregorian University in Rome. While in seminarian formation he admitted to almost getting kicked out of school, but instead was ordained July 10, 1960, at St. Mary Major Basilica in Rome.

From there he returned to the United States and served as a parochial vicar in East Boston, Mass. In 1967 he heard of the need for chaplains to serve in the military and joined the Chaplain Corps of the U.S. Army. He served as a chaplain with the 82nd Airborne Division of Fort Bragg, N.C., and then with the 1st Cavalry Division in Vietnam from 1968 to 1969.

Msgr. Moretti said he didn’t like to talk about his military service in Vietnam because he was one of many chaplains there and did not believe he did anything special. “I was there to serve the men; to be with them when they needed me and to celebrate Mass for them in the field.”
For his service in Vietnam, Msgr. Moretti was awarded a Silver Star for gallantry in action, a Bronze Star for heroism with an oak leaf cluster, a Soldier’s Medal for heroism and an Air Medal for heroism among other medals.

Msgr. Moretti was then approached to serve in the Diocese of St. Petersburg where he was assigned to Holy Name Parish in Gulfport. In 1975 he was named pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Bradenton. He remained there until 1987 when he was named founding pastor of Sts. Peter and Paul the Apostles Parish in Bradenton. Since that time, he oversaw the construction of 10 buildings on 44 acres. He was appointed vicar general in 2003.

In 2008, he was selected to represent the priests of the Diocese of Venice at a Mass for religious at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York during Pope Benedict XVI’s apostolic journey to the United States. At the time Msgr. Moretti said, “I’ve met six popes (Pius the XII, John XXIII, Paul VI, John Paul I as a cardinal, John Paul II and Benedict XVI). Anytime you are going to meet a pope, it is still going to be exciting because of what he represents. He is the successor to Peter the Apostle. Just to be there to concelebrate with him will be very special.” Msgr. Moretti also recalled that the second Mass he celebrated following his ordination to the priesthood was celebrated at St. Peter’s Basilica.

In June 2010, then-Father Moretti was bestowed the rank of Monsignor, Protonotary Apostolic Supernumerary by Pope Benedict XVI. This is the highest honor that can be given a diocesan priest.

Msgr. Moretti was born Jan. 6, 1934, in Providence, R.I., to Francesco and Rose Papa Moretti. He was the youngest of six children. He is survived by his brother Wilfred and numerous other family members.

He will be sadly missed by the faithful of Sts. Peter and Paul the Apostles Parish as well as the clergy, religious and laity of the Diocese of Venice.

Article courtesy of The Florida Catholic. Used with permission.