The Reverend Monsignor Augusto Moretti, J.C.D.
Surrounded by his adoring family, Rev. Msgr. Augusto Moretti, a priest, scholar, and theologian, peacefully passed away on March 14, 2009.
Born in Rome, Italy, October 24, 1928, Augusto Moretti was the middle child of five children. Despite experiencing the bombings of Rome, the occupation by the Germans, and the separation of his father for the duration of the war, he was educated in the Classics and Philosophy. At the end of 1949, he arrived in Los Angeles as a student where he entered St. John’s Theological Seminary in Camarillo and obtained a Master’s Degree in Theology. He was ordained a Priest for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles in St. Vibiana’s Cathedral on May 5, 1954 by His Eminence Cardinal McIntyre, a man he greatly admired.
Monsignor Moretti spent his early years of priestly ministry in the Archdiocese as Associate Pastor and teacher in the schools of St. Malachy’s, Holy Cross, Holy Rosary in Sun Valley and Mary Star of the Sea in San Pedro. In 1984, wanting to stay close to his family who had migrated to San Gabriel, he accepted the appointment of Pastor of Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Pasadena. He retired in 2004, the year of his Jubilee, and to the great pleasure of the parishioners at Assumption, he continued to live in residence as Pastor Emeritus. In 2005, Assumption’s Catholic community recognized him by naming the original church on campus the Msgr. August Moretti Auditorium.
In 1965, during the last session of the II Vatican Council, he was sent to take graduate studies in Rome where he obtained the Licentia (Master) In Canon Law from the Gregorian University and was awarded a Doctoral Degree in Canon Law from the University of St. John Lateran.
Upon his return to Los Angeles in 1968, he was appointed Associate Director of the Matrimonial Tribunal and held that position until 1976 when he became the Director. He was also Adviser to Cardinal Manning on the Charismatic Renewal. In 1973, with the support of the Priests’ Senate, he initiated and promoted the Multilingual Apostolate in the Archdiocese.
Msgr. Moretti, was a member of the Canon Law Society of America and a Judge of the Metropolitan Tribunal and special consultant for the same. He was recently inducted into the Italian Catholic Lawyer’s Association’s Hall of Fame.
In 1974, in was nominated Chaplain to the Holy Father with the title of Monsignor and received the title of Prelate of Honor in 1978. He was also given the honorary titles of Cavaliere and Commendatore in the Order of Merit from the Republic of Italy. He considered Pope John Paul II a dear friend, having concelebrated Mass with him in his private chapel at the Vatican. Msgr. Moretti was Chaplain of the Los Angeles District of the Italian Catholic Federation, the Federated Italo-American of Southern California, and UNICO National.
A brilliant man, he loved the Arts, architecture, photography and language, and as a linguistic, was fluent in eight languages. A music lover, there was never any coaxing needed to entice him into singing a song, he was there on the second note! His greatest love, though, was his family, with the children of Assumption Parish not far behind. Three of his siblings, with their spouses with whom he visited daily, (Nat and Ida Moretti, Joe and Olga Lodico, and Paul and Sunny Zappia), still live in San Gabriel, his parents and oldest sister, Giovanna, preceded him in death. Though he received much recognition during his life, his most prized title was “Uncle Gus” to his nieces and nephews.
The enduring passion and steadfast love of Fr. Gus will carry on in the lives of those who knew him. On Thursday, March 19, 2009, a Vigil will begin at 7:30 p.m. at Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church, 2640 E. Orange Grove Blvd., in Pasadena, and will continue throughout the night until Friday, March 20, 2009. At 11:00 a.m. a Mass of Christian Burial, with Cardinal Roger Mahony, will be celebrated in the church. The internment will be private.