NEWS » Introducing Padre Andrea and Padre Giuseppe
Introducing Padre Andrea and Padre Giuseppe
Five months have passed since the 28th of September 2014, when Padre Andrea was appointed priest of St. Peter’s Italian church.
Backhillonline had the pleasure of having a chat with Padre Andrea and the assistant priest, Padre Giuseppe, about their personal history and their achievements and aims for the future.
Padre Andrea Fulco comes from near Latina, in the Lazio region. His family was strongly religious, his father was an officer in the army and his mother was a housewife and a catechist.
The young Andrea joined the Pallottini Fathers in Grottaferrata and on the 11th of May 2003 was ordained priest by Giovanni Paolo II.
In that same year, the 11th of September, he was sent to London to help Padre Carmelo, at St. Peter’s church to take care of the parish and the Italian immigrants in London. Andrea participated also to the visits Padre Carmelo used to make to the prisoners in jail.
On the 1st of October 2007 he was transferred to Italy where he dedicated himself to the pastoral care of young people in a retreat house until 2012, when he was appointed assistant priest in the Parish Regina Pacis in Ostia Lido, where he was also provincial supervisor of the pastoral care of the young.
On the 2nd of September 2014 he was designated by the provincial father as Priest of the Italian Church in London and chancellor of the religious community.
On the 28th of September 2014 Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster, consigned him the key of St. Peter’s church and officially appointed him as the new priest.
At the time when Padre Andrea started his mandate at St. Peter’s, the community was deeply shocked by Padre Carmelo’s transfer to Rome. Padre Andrea needed some time to settle into the new role but thanks to the help of his collaborators and the pre-existent bonds with the community, built during the 4 years previously spent in London, he was welcomed with affection by the Italian community.
Padre Andrea told us that the Italian community is becoming younger. The new immigration wave brought to London many young people in the age group 20-40, who now attend the parish regularly. In the last year 150 couples have asked to be married in St. Peter’s church and also many babies were baptised.
The group of the young is very much involved in the pastoral mission, carrying out catechesis and pray meetings. They also animate the choir and the Sunday at 7 mass, which has more than a hundred regular young attendees.
Padre Andrea told us that his mission is to create a family spirit because the Church shouldn’t be a container for people, but a community with the characteristics of a big family.
Welcoming everyone, helping people in need, and promote integration in the UK are still the main objectives.
As part of his responsibilities, Father Andrea is also trustee of the St. Peter’s project. The service in jail, which Padre Carmelo used to provide, is suspended, but it can be reactivated when especially requested by the chaplain. After many years of Padre Carmelo’s service in jail, St. Peter’s continues to dedicate attention to the prisoners now out of prison, the poor and the emarginated.
Padre Andrea has chosen to give priority to the Young, together with the pastoral regarding immigration, in collaboration with the Italian Church, which is a specific duty of the Pallottini Fathers in London.
The community can help with voluntary participation to the Church’s activities both for charity and for catechesis. The clubs are also very active. The youth club for children and young people and the club for elderly people organises convivial and recreational activities and pray meetings.
The assistant priest, Padre Giuseppe, told us that St. Peter’s mission is to help in the pastoral care and provide material help when possible. The Italian Church has a crucial role in keeping alive the Italian identity in London. Very helpful is also the new project “Benvenuti a bordo” which provides information to all the young people wishing to relocate in London, before they leave Italy, so that they can avoid being stuck in London with no money and no job.
According to Padre Giuseppe the main activity of the Italian church is pastoral care of Italians and to provide material help if possible. The community can participate in the activities to keep the community alive.
Padre Giuseppe is an accountant and has a degree in economics. He comes from a very religious family. He was very much involved in his professional career and was ready to go to Denmark as a researcher when Jesus called him. He discovered the Lord and his love and wanted to give it to others. He wanted to let other people know the love of Christ, so he dedicated his life to God.
He concluded the vocational path with the Pallottini Fathers on the 9th June 2014 and then was transferred to London because he could speak English. On the 14th of October he was ordained Deacon.
Padre Giuseppe told us that serving the Italian church is a very demanding occupation. This was his first time as an assistant priest so he found it quite challenging. The faithful come from far away and so the planning is more complicated. Some parts of the celebrations are different, for example, in the case of funerals. The language also can be a barrier. Serving in London was much more demanding and tiring but the community helped him to integrate and set him at his ease.