PROVIDENCE — Rev. Francis J. Giudice, 92, Pastor Emeritus of SS. Peter and Paul Cathedral, Providence, died Friday, February 5, 2021.
Son of the late Gennaro and Rose (Croce) Giudice, he attended Westerly public schools, graduating from Westerly High School as president of the class of 1946. He enlisted in U. S. Army for two years, serving in Korea. Upon his return, he studied at Our Lady of Providence Seminary in Warwick, St. Mary Seminary in Baltimore, Maryland, and the American College in Belgium in preparation for the priesthood.
He was ordained to the priesthood, July 1, 1956, in Louvain, Belgium, by Bishop Russell J. McVinney. After a summer assignment at St. Clare Parish in Misquamicut, he served as assistant pastor at St. Jude Parish in Lincoln and part-time faculty member at LaSalle Academy. The following year, he became part-time chaplain at Our Lady of Fatima Hospital.
From 1959-1961, Father Giudice pursued post-graduate studies in hospital administration at St. Louis University in St. Louis, Missouri. In 1961, he became chaplain at St. Joseph Hospital and Assistant Secretary for Catholic Hospitals in the Diocese of Providence.
In 1962, he was appointed assistant pastor at Holy Angels Parish, Barrington (1962-67), where he worked with the pastor and the parish community to fundraise and construct a new church building. Between 1967-1982, Father Giudice served as assistant pastor at Assumption Parish, Providence. While continuing to serve at Assumption Parish, he was appointed Vicar for Community Affairs. He was instrumental in helping to establish community health centers in Providence.
In 1982, Father Giudice became rector of SS. Peter and Paul Cathedral, where he served until his retirement as Pastor Emeritus in July 2004. He had a lifelong affinity for the poor, and during his time at the cathedral, he championed the cause of poverty relief in Haiti after visiting the island in 1981. His advocacy led to the Providence-Haiti Outreach project and the construction of a school and athletic complex that continues to serve and feed hundreds of youth.
During his retirement, Father Giudice resided at St. Pius X Rectory, Westerly; St. John Vianney Residence, Providence; St. Antoine Residence, North Smithfield; and The Elms, Westerly.
In addition to his parish duties, Father Giudice also served as Dean of Providence Deanery 1 and Deanery Vicar of Providence South Region 7. In the Diocese of Providence, he was a member of the Priests’ Senate, the Human Relations Commission and the Permanent Diaconate Board. Father Giudice was the diocesan Moderator for the St. Vincent de Paul Society, representative to the Interfaith Health Care Ministries Board of Directors, and member of the U.S. Catholic Conference Committee on Social Development and World Peace. In 1992, he completed sabbatical studies at the Institute of Pastoral Studies at Loyola University, Chicago.
A kind and gentle man, Father Giudice never lost his love of Westerly, especially his Oak Street roots. The fifth of seven children, he was predeceased by his siblings Helen Giudice, Santa Aldrich, Judy Iacoi, and Samuel and James Giudice.
Surviving is his brother John Giudice of Westerly, a large extended family of Giudice, Iacoi, and Aldrich nieces and nephews, great-nieces and nephews, and many who loved and considered him their family priest.
A Mass of Christian Burial was concelebrated on February 11 at Immaculate Conception Church, Westerly. Bishop Thomas J. Tobin was the principal celebrant and Auxiliary Bishop Robert C. Evans concelebrated. Father Ray Suriani was the homilist.
Donations in memory of Father Giudice may be made to Providence-Haiti Outreach, 125 Scituate Ave., Cranston, RI 02921.