1910 – 2001 (January 29)
Eugenio Maria Zega, son of Pietro Zega and Rosa Marziali, was born on November 5, 1910, in S. Angelo in Pontano, Le Marche, Italy. He attended the elementary school in that town from 1920 to 1925, and high school at the Ginnasio Salesiano, from 1925 to 1929, at Genzano, Lazio, Italy. In 1930, he entered the novitiate in Tolentino where, after he professed simple vows on October 18, 1931, he studied philosophy and theology from 1931 to 1936. He professed solemn vows on October 19, 1934 and was ordained to the priesthood at the Shrine of San Nicola, Tolentino on July 12, 1936. He completed theological studies the following year.
From 1937 to 1938, Father Zega was assistant pastor at Saint Anne Church, Vatican City. In 1938, he came to the United States and served as assistant pastor at Holy Rosary Parish, Lawrence, Mass., until 1953. From 1953 to 1959, Father Zega studied at the Universities of Tampa and Miami in Florida, and became certified as a minor professor of neo-Latin languages which included Latin, Italian, French, Spanish and Portuguese. In October 1959, he was accepted into Good Counsel Vice Province and assisted at Saint Mary’s Church, East Vineland, New Jersey, and, in 1960, was assigned as assistant pastor at Our Lady of Pompei Parish, Dobbs Ferry, New York. From 1961 to 1988, he was assistant pastor at Saint Nicholas of Tolentine Parish, Philadelphia, Pa.
In 1996, Father Zega was assigned to Saint Thomas Monastery, Villanova, Pa., where he remained until his death on January 29, 2001. Father Zega was a dedicated religious priest who had a facility with languages and was interested in art. More importantly, he reached out to people in all walks of life. He proved this even as he approached his ninetieth year when he made special efforts to learn the names of new members of the community, and to celebrate the friars’ birthdays by playing the traditional birthday song on a harmonica.
A Mass of the Resurrection was celebrated at Saint Nicholas of Tolentine Church, Philadelphia, Pa., and burial was at the Augustinian plot in Saint Mary Cemetery, East Vineland, New Jersey.