Note: Originally published by the Boston Pilot, 9/9/2022
By: Father Robert M. O’Grady Pilot Staff
A Winthrop native born there on Jan. 27, 1944, Father Joseph F. Scorzello was the son of the late Joseph and Gabriella (Spolsino) Scorzello and brother of the late Phyllis Bean -- she was his only sibling.
The family lived in Hyde Park and he was raised there attending the parish school and then Christopher Columbus in the Hub's North End. After graduating from high school, he entered the archdiocesan seminaries, first at Cardinal O'Connell in Jamaica Plain and then the philosophy division at St. Clement Hall on the Brighton seminary campus.
For his theological studies, he was sent to Rome, pursuing licentiate of theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University and his non-academic formation at the Pontifical North American College, both in the Eternal City.
The then-rector of the College and later metropolitan archbishop of Washington and member of the College of Cardinals, Bishop James A. Hickey, ordained him to the priesthood in St. Peter's Basilica on Dec. 19, 1969.
He returned to the archdiocese the following summer and was named an assistant at St. Mary (Italian) Parish, Salem. His expert command of Italian, both from growing up in a proud Italo-American home and his years in Rome, came in handy in the Salem parish. Between 1973 and 1981, he was an associate at Our Lady Help of Christians Parish, Newton. Its large Italian-speaking population appreciated his priestly presence and ministry.
During the year at Newton and then through 1995, he was a part-time student at Boston College, being granted a master's degree and then a Ph.D. in philosophy in 1978 and 1995, respectively.
He was still assigned to parish ministry serving as an associate at St. Anthony of Padua (Italian) Parish in Revere; and then in a whole different ministry, as secretary and master of ceremonies for both Humberto Cardinal Medeiros and Bernard Cardinal Law between 1983 and 1985.
In 1985, he was named administrator of his home parish, Most Precious Blood Parish, carrying out many of the day-to-day administrative responsibilities of the parish whose pastor was at that time Boston's Auxiliary Bishop Lawrence J. Riley.
After a few months of sabbatical education at St. Anselm College in Manchester, N.H., in 1991, he returned to parish life as a parochial vicar at St. Elizabeth Parish in Milton. Three years later, he was parochial vicar at St. Mary of the Assumption, Brookline.
Cardinal Law named him pastor of St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Medford. He served a single term there until June 2003. Bishop Richard G. Lennon, then the apostolic administrator of the archdiocese, named him as parochial vicar in Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Brockton, where he served until he was appointed to the faculty of St. John Seminary, Brighton, as a professor of philosophy.
For these past 17 years, he has been a much appreciated teacher and mentor for men preparing for ordination to the priesthood here in Boston and in other dioceses, both within and without the United States.
Father Scorzello has been a hard worker, whether in parish, in studies, or in seminary life as formator. It would be safe to say that although he takes his priestly life and ministry seriously, he can be witty. He is also gregarious and ever the gentleman.
Father Scorzello will retire to his own residence.