Obituary: Fr. Peter A. Fiore dies at 94
NEW YORK, NY — Fr. Peter Fiore, OFM, 94, a professed Franciscan friar from the New York-based Province of the Holy Name for 71 years, 67 of them as an ordained priest, died peacefully on Easter Sunday morning, on April 17, at St. Anthony’s Hospital in St. Petersburg, Florida. He had been living in St. Petersburg at the St. Anthony Friary, a provincial nursing home, since January 2020 after retiring at the age of 92 from his last ministerial post as Professor of English Emeritus and Scholar-in-Residence. at Siena College in Loudonville, New York. He spent more than five decades as a beloved teacher and administrator in Siena, during which he kept a running list of the students he taught – whom he once said were just under 5,000 – hundreds with whom he kept in touch and exchanged letters and Christmas cards. over the years.
A vigil will be held for Fr. Fiore this Sunday, April 24, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., at the Chapel of St. Mary of the Angels on the campus of Siena College. A Resurrection Mass will be held at 10:30 a.m. on Monday, April 25, also at the campus chapel, immediately followed by military honors. Cremation will take place after Mass, with interment at a later date in South Glens Falls, NY. In accordance with Siena College guidelines, all attendees will be required to pre-register online. If attending the Vigil and the Mass, participants will need to register separately for both.
The youngest of three children of Italian immigrant parents Peter and Virginia (née Arienzo) Fiore, a retail trader and housewife, respectively, the father. Fiore was born September 8, 1927, in Glens Falls, where he attended high school and high schools at St. Mary’s Academy run by the Josephite Sisters, and served as an altar boy in the family parish of St. Mary’s – in which he returned. in 1988 for two years in pastoral ministry, happily reconnecting with old friends, parishioners who had attended his first mass after ordination and some of the sisters who had taught him in elementary school.
Prof. Fiore’s rich and full life in religious vocation and academia spanned seven decades, first and foremost as a professed Franciscan friar and as a scholar, teacher, administrator and author. In his last interview in 2020 for a feature article on his 70th year of profession published in the Holy Name Province newsletter, Fr. Fiore said that attending Siena College under the GI Bill, after returning from the World War II as a member of the United States Army, was the best decision he ever made, as it introduced him to the Franciscan friars, many of whom were college professors. , and inspired his own areas of teaching expertise, which included 17th-century English literature and honors seminars on the Great Books, Dante, Shakespeare and theological issues in Western literature.
After earning a BA in English from Siena College in 1949, he spent a year working in his father’s retail business before joining Holy Name Province, which received him into the Order at St. Bonaventure of Paterson, New Jersey, August 18, 2019. He was born December 12, 1950. He made his first vows at the novitiate in Paterson a year later and made his solemn profession as a member of the Order of Friars Miners in 1954 at St. Bonaventure Church in Allegany, NY. He was ordained on June 9, 1955 at the Franciscan Monastery Church in Washington, D.C.
In 1955, Fr. Fiore also obtained a master’s degree in English at the Catholic University of America – and in 1961, from the University of London in England, he obtained a doctorate. in Renaissance English literature with a concentration on the theological aspects of redemption and salvation in Milton’s Paradise Lost, which was the focus of his dissertation and the subject of one of six books written by this accomplished author. In addition to writing Milton and Augustine: Patterns of Augustinian Thought in Milton’s Paradise Lost, an in-depth study of the main dogmatic concepts of Paradise Lost in the context of Augustinian theology, and The Gospels Are Now, which examines the influence of biblical motifs timeless on life, literature and the arts, he published dozens of articles in scholarly journals. He maintained his connection with the University of London by returning for 18 consecutive summers to lecture on literature and the arts, as well as to conduct research for his published works.
His more than 50 years of service at Siena College have included Professor of English, Chair of the English Department, and Dean of the School of Liberal Arts. For part of his tenure, he ran Siena’s prestigious Greyfriar Living Literature series, bringing some of the most celebrated writers of the day to campus as guest speakers, including Basil Rathbone, Hal Holbrook and Brooks Atkinson. In 2013, Siena alumnus William McGoldrick and his wife established the Peter Fiore, OFM, Excellence in English Endowment to support the enrichment of faculty and students in literature and the arts.
In addition to serving in parish ministry at his boyhood parish in Glens Falls, Fr. Fiore served at St. Mary’s Parish in Ballston Spa, NY, and from 1990-1996 as Director of Communications for the PNH at the provincial headquarters on West 31st Street in Manhattan, where he also enjoyed the cultural and artistic opportunities—particularly opera and Broadway—that New York City offered. An avid reader of books – especially lesser-known works by great writers – good Italian food (eating and cooking for others) and New York Yankees, Fr. Fiore was a member of several literary and professional organizations, including the Modern Language Association, the Metropolitan Opera Guild, the Irish Repertory Theater in New York, and Milton Seminar. But he always said that his most precious belonging and brotherhood was with his brother brothers in the province of the Holy Name.
In addition to his fellow Franciscans, Fr. Fiore is survived by nine nieces and nephews – who were like his children – including Virginia Kavanaugh, Susan Fiore, Peter Patrick Fiore (Patrice), Joan Flanagan (Robert), Ellen Fiore, Christine Shear (Fred), William Luciano (Joanne), Peter Luciano (Gail) and Mary Ann Roemer (Guy), as well as several great-great-nieces and nephews, several great-great-great-nieces and nephews, two great-great-great -nieces and many cousins.
Memorial donations may be sent to Franciscan Friars—Holy Name Province, 144 West 32nd Street, New York, NY 10001-3202.
About the province of Saint-Nom
The Province of the Holy Name is the largest of the seven entities of the United States belonging to the Order of Friars Minor. With ministries in 12 states along the East Coast, its nearly 300 Catholic priests and brothers serve in colleges, parishes, urban ministry centers and a wide variety of social justice ministries, as well as in missions in the stranger. The Franciscan Order, founded in 1209 by Saint Francis of Assisi, celebrated its 800th anniversary in 2009. Today, Saint Francis, whose feast day is October 4, remains one of the best-known saints, venerated for his affection for nature and caring for creation. Information about the Province of the Holy Name can be found at www.hnp.org. News about the friars and their ministries can be found on the Facebook page of the Franciscan Friars of the Province of the Holy Name.