1913 – 1989 (December 19)
Mario Joseph “Paul” Porreca was born July 2, 1913 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, one of two sons and two daugheters of Domenic Porreca and Vincenza Luonghi. He was baptized on April 16, 1916, at Saint Rita and received his elementary education at Saint Rita, Philadelphia. He did his high school studies at Augustinian Academy, Staten Island, New York, earning his diploma in 1932. He was received into the novitiate on September 9, 1932, and professed simple vows on September 11, 1933, and solemn vows on September 11, 1936. He earned a B.A. in Philosophy from Villanova College, Villanova, Pennsylvania, in 1937, and pursued theological studies at Augustinian College, Washington, D.C., from 1937 to 1941. He was ordained to the priesthood on June 10, 1940. While studying theology, he also did graduate studies at the Catholic University of America, Washington, earning in 1941 an M.A. in Psychology.
Father Porreca's first assignment was in 1941 to the newly formed Province of Our Mother of Good Counsel as a teacher at Saint Rita High School, Chicago, Illinois. In 1943 he was transferred to Saint Thomas High School, Rockford, Il., and in 1948 to Cascia Hall, Tulsa, Oklahoma. In 1963 Father Porreca returned to Saint Rita High School, where he remained until 1968, when he was appointed to Augustinian Academy, St. Louis, Missouri. He again taught at Cascia Hall, Tulsa, from 1969 to 1971, when he resumed teaching at St. Rita High School, Chicago.
After reaching the age of 70, his schedule was lessened, and his ministry centered on counseling students and serving as a chaplain at Saint Rita. During the night of December 19, 1989, Father Porreca suffered a coronary occlusion and died in his sleep. He is buried in the Augustinian plot at Calvary Cemetery, West Conshohocken, Pennsylvania.