Monsignor Ernesto D-Aquila

by Jule Spohn


Back in Newark Talk Messages #'s 340, 346, 348, 371, and 373, we had received a message from Ernesto D'Aquila in Italy asking for any information on his relative Father Ernesto D'Aquila from Newark. I went to the library this morning and found his obituary in both the Newark Evening News and the Star Ledger.

Ernesto, your relative Monsignor Ernesto D'Aquila, was a very well known, and very well respected, person here in Newark for over 40 years.

He was the pastor of Our Lady Of Mount Carmel Church for 39 years when he died on May 8, 1933. He was elevated to Monsignor by Pope Pius XI. At a testimonial dinner where he was praised by Mayor Congleton and the other City Commissioners, he was decorated with the "Chevalier Crown Of Italy" by order of the Italian King Victor Emmanuel. At that time he gave a purse of gold presented him by parishioners with his personal check for $1,000 to Bishop Walsh for the work of the Pia Filippina Sisters at Morristown.

He was born in Vinchiatura, Campobasso, Italy. He studied theology at Boiano and was ordained at San Severno, Italy. He became a professor in the French College, Cairo, and in Syria, and was professor of music and French at the theological seminary in Boiano. He came to America in 1893 and for about a year was assistant at St. Phillp Neri's church leaving there to become pastor of Our Lady Of Mount Carmel. He established the school there which had the Fillippins Sisters.

At his bedside while he was dying were the Sisters who taught at the school; his nieces Mrs. Ida Pietrangelo, Mrs. Egla Iacontuono, Mrs. Adelina Pistelli, and Mrs. Gugliemlina Chirico, and his brother Professor James D'Aquila of Detroit.

King Victor Emmanuel, at the beginning of that year, conferred the "Cross Of Chevalier of the Crown of Italy" upon Msgr D'Aquila in recognition of the welfare he carried on among the Italian-Americans for forty years.

Pope Pius XI elevated him to the rank of Monsignor at the end of 1932 upon the recommendation of Bishop Thomas Walsh. The promotion was largely in recognition of his services in the Ironbound section of Newark.

Msgr. D'Aquila made annual visits to his native town of Vinchitura, in the Province of Campobosso, where he established an orphanage for fifty children in honor of his sister Miss Julia D'Aquila.

He became pastor of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in 1893 - three years after the founding of the parish.

He was a musician and a patron of Italian arts. He had installed in the church an altar made of Italian marble in memory of his fellow students.

He came to Newark at the age of only 24.

Sounds like he was quite the man.


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