1915 – 2006 (March 18)
Dante Louis Girolami was born on November 28, 1915, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Louis Girolami and Mary Villano. He was baptized in Saint Nicholas of Tolentine Parish, South Philadelphia, and attended elementary school at Francis Reed School, Saint Rita of Cascia Parish School and Wharton Junior High School. He attended Roman Catholic High School in Philadelphia, and then entered Augustinian Academy, Staten Island, New York. He was received into the novitiate in September, 1933, professed first vows September 10, 1934 and solemn vows September 10, 1938. He graduated from Villanova College in 1938 with an AB in Philosophy, and pursued his theological studies at Augustinian College, Washington, DC, while working towards an MS in mathematics and science at the Catholic University of America, which he was awarded in 1942. He was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop McNamara at the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, Washington, DC, on June 10, 1941.
Father Dante's first assignment was to Villanova College in 1942 as professor of mathematics. He remained at Villanova College for 19 years as a teacher, Dean of Student Activities, Director of Intramural Sports, and member of the Varsity Athletic Board. Throughout his life, and wherever he was assigned, Father Dante maintained an avid interest in Villanova University sports activity.
In 1961, Father Dante was appointed pastor of Assumption Parish, Mechanicville, New York. From 1967 to 1974 he was pastor of Saint Nicholas of Tolentine Parish, Jamaica, Long Island. He then served as pastor of Holy Rosary Parish, Lawrence, Massachusetts, and, beginning in 1980, as pastor of Saint Nicholas of Tolentine Parish, Atlantic City, New Jersey, where he celebrated his 50th anniversary as a priest on June 10, 1991.
In 1991, at the age of 76, Father Dante was assigned to Saint Thomas Monastery, Villanova. He continued to help with daily liturgies in local convents, Sunday liturgy at Saint Rose of Lima Parish in Eddystone, Pennsylvania, and communal Penance Services at local parishes and at the Malvern Retreat House. Within the monastery community, he celebrated community liturgies, remaining as active as possible for many years.
He died on Saturday, March 18, 2006, at the age of 90. The funeral Mass was celebrated on Wednesday, March 22, 2006, Saint Thomas Church on Villanova’s campus University, with burial the following day at Calvary Cemetery, West Conshohocken, PA.