1921 – 2001 (January 15)
Peter John Toscani, was born to Bernardo Toscani and Philomena Bracale, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on September 7, 1921, and was baptized there in the Church of Saint Rita. From 1927 to 1935, he attended Saint Edmond Parochial School, and then entered Augustinian Academy, Staten Island, N.Y. In 1939, he was accepted into the novitiate at New Hamburg, N.Y., professed simple vows on September 10, 1940, for the Vice-Province of Philadelphia, and made solemn profession on September 10, 1943. He studied philosophy at Villanova College and received his BA 1944. He studied theology at Augustinian College, Washington, D.C., and was ordained to the priesthood on September 8, 1947, by Bishop Bartholomew Eustace, in the Church of Saint Nicholas of Tolentine, Atlantic City, N.J.
After ordination, Father Toscani continued his studies at the Gregorian University, Rome, where he obtained a licentiate degree in theology in 1950. His first assignment was to serve as associate pastor at Saint Nicholas of Tolentine Parish, Philadelphia, from 1950 to 1951. He then became associate pastor at Our Lady of Good Counsel Parish, Staten Island, N. Y. In 1952, he was appointed pastor of Our Lady of Pompeii Church, Dobbs Ferry, N. Y., and two years later returned to Saint Nicholas of Tolentine, Philadelphia, as pastor, where he remained until 1958. In that year he completed the master’s degree at Villanova University and was appointed prior of the Augustinian community at the parish of Saint Mary, Vineland, N.J. In 1959, Father Toscani was appointed the first headmaster of Saint Augustine Preparatory School, Richland, N.J., where he served until 1970. Following his teaching career he became pastor of Our Lady of Pompeii Parish, Vineland, N.J. From 1978 to 1982, Father Toscani served once again as pastor of Our Lady of Pompeii Parish, Dobbs Ferry, N.Y. In 1982, he returned to one of his favorite assignments, Saint Nicholas of Tolentine Parish, Philadelphia, where he assumed the duties of assistant pastor and prior of the community. In 1999, due to failing health, he transferred to Saint Augustine Friary, Villanova, Pa., and then on November 15, 2000, moved to Saint Thomas Monastery, Villanova.
Father Toscani was active in many organizations, especially the Pro-Life Movement and the promotion of Marian devotions. He gave himself unconditionally to his vocation as parish priest, educator and counselor. His jovial spirit became his initial way of helping others through life’s difficulties. Upon his death, Most Reverend Nicholas DiMarzio, Bishop of Camden, wrote, “Father Toscani’s ministry in the Diocese of Camden will long be remembered. As first headmaster of Saint Augustine Prep in Richland, he helped to shape it into the respected school that it is today, and I am sure touched the lives of the many young people who attended under his direction.”
Father Peter Toscani died on January 15, 2001 at Saint Thomas Monastery, Villanova, Pennsylvania. A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated at the Villanova Campus Church, followed by interment at the Augustinian plot, in Calvary Cemetery, West Conshohocken, Pennsylvania.