Westchester priest, survivor of Andrea Doria, dies
The Rev. John V. Dolciamore
Updated: December 30, 2012 3:26PM
A Westchester priest who once served St. John of the Cross in Western Springs and who was a survivor of the Andrea Doria shipwreck has died.
The Rev. John V. Dolciamore, pastor emeritus of Divine Providence Parish in Westchester and Judicial Vicar emeritus of the Metropolitan Tribunal, died Nov. 22, at Resurrection Life Center in Chicago. He was 86.
Dolciamore was a native of Chicago’s West Side and a graduate of Quigley Preparatory Seminary and the University of Saint Mary of the Lake/Mundelein Seminary. He was ordained in 1952 by Cardinal Stritch.
Dolciamore served from 1952 to 1954 as assistant pastor of St. Charles Borromeo Parish in Chicago. That parish closed in 1968. For the next two years, he studied at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, earning his degree in canon law. In July 1956, he was assigned to work for the Archdiocese’s Metropolitan Tribunal, an association that lasted until 1988, with Dolciamore holding several full-time, part-time and advisory positions with the Tribunal, including Judicial Vicar.
It was on July 25, 1956, just after his studies in Rome were completed that Dolciamore, his classmate, Retired Auxiliary Bishop Raymond Goedert and two other priests were among those on the famed SS Andrea Doria, an Italian ocean liner bound for New York City that collided with another ship causing the loss of 52 people on board. The four priests were among those who ministered to the passengers during rescue efforts.
Dolciamore developed a reputation as a canonist and was well known in canon law circles, according to Bishop Goedert. Dolciamore was a member of the Board of Consultors of the Canon Law Society of America and the recipient in the early 1980s of that group’s Role of Law Award, given to an outstanding canonist.
He was frequently called upon to advise other dioceses on matters of canon law, Goedert noted, adding that after the Diocese of Venice in Florida was created in 1984, he was asked to set up a Tribunal there, traveling back and forth to continue his advisory role over the course of several years. Dolciamore actually served as that diocese’s Judicial Vicar during some of that time.
From 1966-1969 he was the chaplain at St. Joseph Carondelet Child Center in Chicago, which is now the location of the Cardinal Meyer Center, one of two sites for the Archdiocese’s administrative offices. From 1969 to 1973, Dolciamore served as the assistant pastor of St. John of the Cross Parish in Western Springs.
In 1976, Dolciamore was made pastor of Divine Providence Parish in Westchester, a position he held until 1987. He was named to the faculty of the University of Saint Mary of the Lake/Mundelein Seminary in 1989 and taught there full time until 1996, when he reached retirement age. In that year, he was named pastor emeritus of Divine Providence and received the same status as Judicial Vicar emeritus.
As a senior priest, Dolciamore continued to teach at the seminary, even when physical limitations would have stopped others.
“One thing I admired about him was the way he accepted his illness. He kept going without complaint,” Goedert said.