The Cegliesi Italo American Association will honor two men of the cloth at their 42nd annual dinner dance on Oct. 16 at Alta Villa Banquets in Addison. Both are priests of the Oblate Fathers of St. Joseph and both are natives of Ceglie del Campo, the town in Bari to which the organization traces its roots. (708-278-8004)
The Rev. Michael Piscopo is Superior General of the Order and the Rev. Joseph Sibiliano is the Rector of the Order’s Seminary in Pittston, Penn. Fr. Joseph has celebrated the Mass at our dinner dance virtually since its inception, and we have also been fortunate to have Fr. Michael celebrate the Mass a few times as well.
The son of Carmine and Anna (D’Ambrosio) Piscopo, Fr. Michael was born in 1950 and ordained in 1977, leaving for Peru immediately afterward.
After spending nine years serving hundreds of villages in the Andes Mountains, he became a parish priest in Lima, where poverty and crime is rampant. He worked passionately on behalf of his parishioners, confronting local gangs, procuring land from the Peruvian government, and raising funds to build homes for 700 needy families.
He then spearheaded the construction of a new church, San Jose el Justo, and formed the foundation Anna D’Ambrosio de Piscopo to meet the education, food and health needs of neglected children and young adults.
Today, the foundation runs a center for special-needs children, a soup kitchen for children and elderly people suffering from tuberculosis, a scholarship program for college students, and a project that teaches children the skills they need to work the land and escape the cycle of poverty in the city.
He rose to the position of Father Provincial while serving in Peru for 15 years, during which time he also served as chaplain for the Italian embassy. He then spent six years doing missionary work in Brazil, where he focused on helping children with physical and psychological disabilities.
In 2000, he was appointed Treasurer General of the order, moving to Rome to fulfill those responsibilities. He was appointed Superior General in 2006 and re-elected in 2012. We’re deeply appreciative that Fr. Michael was able to take time away from his busy schedule to be among us for this special event.
In December of the same year, he left for the United States and was assigned to the minor seminary of the Oblates of St. Joseph in Laflin, Penn., where he taught Latin and Italian to seminarians.
In October 1967, he was transferred to the Church Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Pittston, where he served as assistant pastor until 1979.
In 1975, Fr. Joseph received his Master’s Degree in Guidance Counseling at the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania.
From 1976 to 1986, he was rector of St. Joseph’s Seminary in Laflin, where he also served as Director of Vocations.
From 1986 to 1990, Fr. Joseph served as a parish priest of the Church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.
From 1990 to 1998, he was pastor of the Christian community of the Church of San Sebastiano in Middletown, Conn.
From 1998 to 2000, he was rector of the Seminary of the Oblates in Laflin and a parish priest at the Church of San Rocco in Pittston until 2006.
Father Joseph then was pastor of the Christian community of the Church of St. Anthony of Padua in Exeter, Penn., and later a parish priest of the Church of St. Joseph Marello in Pittston.
Currently enjoying a second term as rector of the seminary, he celebrated 50 years of priesthood on March 19, 2015.