Following the wishes of Msgr. Louis Antonelli, a Tridentine Mass was solemnly celebrated by Fr. Eric Forbes, OFM Cap., at Santa Lourdes Shrine in Rota last Wednesday on the ninth day after his death.
Fr. Noli Lim, the pastor of both San Isidro and San Francisco de Borja, concelebrated along with dozens of parishioners, many of whom have known Msgr. Antonelli since his coming to Rota attended the Mass in the old German chapel at Patten Gogue where he is also buried.
Msgr. Antonelli passed away last February 12, 2019 at the ripe age of 100. His funeral Mass and Rite of Burial were celebrated immediately the following day in accordance with his last will.
In his homily during the Funeral Mass, Fr Ken Hezel, SJ lauded the “dedicated pastoral ministry” of Msgr. Atonelli. “We can imagine the countless number of men and women he brought into the church through Baptism, how many he nourished at Holy Communion, and were married and buried throughout his ministry,” added Fr. Ken.
Fr. Ken also recalled the words of Pope Francis to the priests at the beginning of his pontificate: “You should smell like the sheeps” and reflected how this was fulfilled in the priestly life of Msgr. Antonelli with his beloved flock in Rota. “You know how he ministered to you, visited your homes, knew so many of you by name, counseled and encouraged you, helped you with spiritual and material needs. He was truly a Shepherd who smelled like his sheep! And finally, like the Jesus, the Good shepherd in the Gospel today, laid down his life for his sheep. He completely dedicated his entire final years of his life to you, his flock.”
Louis Antonelli was born Sept. 23, 1918 in Sheppton, Mass. He came from a family of six boys and two girls born to Aquilino and Victoria Antonelli.
He entered the order of Stigmatines in September 1940 and made his perpetual profession Sept. 9, 1946. He was ordained to the priesthood June 11, 1949 at South Natuck, Mass.
Father Antonelli’s first assignments as a priest kept him in parishes in Massachusetts from August 1949 to August 1953.
Antonelli first arrived in Guam in the 1953 as a member of the second batch of the Stigmatine Fathers who staffed Fr. Duenas Seminary in Mangilao. He taught in the seminary and later served also as its rector in 1971.
An important figure in the history of the Catholic Church in this region, Msgr. Antonelli was a strong, robust, outgoing, and very friendly priest. He served at the Agaña Cathedral, Santa Barbara Catholic Church in Dededo and San Vicente Catholic Church in Barrigada. He was assigned to Rota as Pastor of San Francisco de Borja parish in 1973. He was also the Director of the Diocesan Diaconate Program, guiding the first group of Catholic men on Guam to be ordained permanent deacons in then-Diocese of Agaña in 1973, under then-Bishop Felixberto C. Flores.
Many parishioners both in Rota and off-island expressed their gratitude in Facebook and social media to Msgr. Antonelli. For them, he will be forever remembered as “the beloved pastor of Luta” or “Pale` Luta”. And now he is laid to rest in the heart of the island.