Most Reverend Louis Anthony DeSimone, Retired Auxiliary Bishop of Philadelphia, Dies At The Age Of 96

Most Reverend Louis Anthony DeSimone, retired Auxiliary Bishop of Philadelphia, Titular Bishop of Cillium, and Pastor Emeritus of Saint Monica Parish died at Saint Thomas Monastery in Villanova on the morning of Friday, October 5th following a brief illness. He was 96.

A Funeral Mass will be celebrated at the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul on Wednesday, October 10th. Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap. will be the principal celebrant. More complete funeral arrangements will be made public when they are finalized.

“I was saddened to learn of the death of Bishop DeSimone,” said Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap. “He was a man of great energy, charity, and joy who deeply touched all those he met in tremendously positive ways. Daily, he lived out his episcopal motto Servus Tuus (Your Servant) in his words and actions.”

 Archbishop Chaput continued, “I ask the people of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia to offer prayers for Bishop DeSimone, and I invite our priests to offer Mass for the happy repose of his soul. We are all grateful for the gift of his life and his selfless service. May God grant him eternal life and give peace and consolation to all those who mourn his passing.”

Louis Anthony DeSimone was born on February 21, 1922 and raised in Bridgeport (Montgomery County). After graduation from Bridgeport High School, he attended then-Villanova College. With the United States embroiled in World War II, a young Louis DeSimone enlisted in the United States Army. Fluent in Italian, he was attached to the headquarters of the U.S. 5th Army and served as a translator with the rank of Sergeant. For two years he saw active combat service during the North African and Italian campaigns. While serving in Italy, military service took him to the Vatican where he met Pope Pius XII.

Upon his return to the United States, he enrolled in the program of priestly formation at Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary. He was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia on May 10, 1952 by Cardinal John O’Hara, C.S.C.

After ordination, Father DeSimone taught at Saint Thomas More High School in Philadelphia and served as an Assistant Pastor at Annunciation B.V.M. and Saint Donato Parishes in Philadelphia. He would also go on to serve as an Assistant Pastor and Pastor at Saints Cosmas and Damian Parish in Conshohocken (Montgomery County). In 1961, he became a member of the Archdiocesan Executive Committee of the Catholic Charities Appeal. In 1971, he became Director of Catholic Relief Services in the Archdiocese—a post he would hold for 11 years. In 1975, Father DeSimone was appointed Chairman of the Heritage Group Committee for the 41st International Eucharistic Congress, which was held the following year in Philadelphia.

Father DeSimone was named an Honorary Prelate to His Holiness, by then-Pope, now-Blessed Pope Paul VI, with the title of Monsignor on March 22, 1976. That same year, he was appointed Pastor of Saint Monica Parish in South Philadelphia. He would serve as the beloved shepherd of that community for 25 years. 

On June 27, 1981 he was named Auxiliary Bishop of Philadelphia and Titular Bishop of Cillium by then-Pope, now-Saint John Paul II. He was ordained to the Episcopacy on August 12, 1981 at the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul with Cardinal John Krol serving as the Principal Consecrator and Bishops John Graham and Martin Lohmuller serving as Co-Consecrators.

After his retirement, Bishop DeSimone remained active in the life of the Church and was a benefactor to many of its charitable endeavors.

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