Franciscan Father Tom Vigliotta dies at age 66

RINGWOOD, N.J.—Franciscan Father Thomas Vigliotta, a professed Franciscan friar for 34 years and a priest for 29, died on July 4 at Holy Name Friary. He was 66.

A wake will be held on July 7 from 3-8 p.m., with a wake service at 7:30 p.m., at St. Anthony Church, 65 Bartholdi Ave., Butler, N.J. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10:30 a.m. on July 8 at St. Anthony Church, Butler. Burial will follow at Mount Calvary Cemetery, also in Butler.

Franciscan Father Thomas Vigliotta, who served at St. Anthony of Padua Church in Greenville, died on July 4 at age 66.
Franciscan Father Thomas Vigliotta, who served at St. Anthony of Padua Church in Greenville, died on July 4 at age 66.

Father Vigliotta was born on March 25, 1949, in Patchogue, N.Y., to Thomas and Rosella Pepping Vigliotta and baptized at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church. He attended St. Francis de Sales Grammar School and Seton Hall High School. He earned his bachelor’s degree from St. Leo University in St. Leo, Fla., in 1971 and went on to earn a Master’s degree in education/counseling from the University of South Florida in Tampa in 1975.

Father Vigliotta was received into the Franciscan Order on June 15, 1980, in Brookline, Mass., and  professed first vows on June 6, 1981. He professed solemn vows on June 15, 1985, at St. Francis of Assisi Church in New York. He completed a Master of Divinity Degree from the Washington Theological Union in Washington, D.C., that same year. He was ordained to the priesthood on Oct. 19, 1985, at St. Camillus Church in Silver Spring, Md., by Bishop James Lyke, OFM.

Father Vigliotta’s first assignment in 1985 was as associate pastor and director of religious education at St. Anthony of Padua Parish in Greenville, S.C., where he served until 1988. He then ministered as associate pastor at St. Stephen of Hungary Church in New York from 1988 to 1989.

Father Vigliotta joined the province’s Ministry of the Word group in 1989, where he planned and led retreats and educational events around the country for the next 18 years. During this period, he was stationed at Rochelle Park, N.J., from 1989 to 1992, Belleair Bluffs, Fla., from 1992 to 1996, and St. Mary of the Angels Church in Anderson, S.C. from 1996 to 2005.

In 2005, Father Vigliotta transferred to the Catholic Center at the University of Georgia in Athens, for two years. He was appointed director of campus ministry in 2007, and served the students and university until 2015. He was also guardian of the friary and regional vocation director for the southern region of Holy Name Province.

Due to failing health, Father Vigliotta transferred to Holy Name Friary in Ringwood on June 9.

Father Vigliotta is survived by his father Thomas Vigliotta, sisters Celia Vigliotta and Donna Finnegan, brothers David, Dennis, Bruce and Jeff, as well as a number of nieces and nephews and grandnieces and grandnephews. Condolences may be sent to Thomas Vigliotta, Sr., care of Dennis Vigliotta, P.O. Box 793, East Moriches, NY 11940.

Memorial donations may be sent to Franciscan Friars, Holy Name Province, 144 W. 32nd St., New York, NY 10001-3202.