Vatican diplomat retained kindness, humility
Archbishop Giuseppe De Andrea’s devotion to the Roman Catholic Church carried him around the world.
Born in Italy, he spent decades in various positions in the Catholic Diocese of Greensburg before becoming a globe-trotting diplomat for the Vatican.
“Joe was an outstanding person. He was a very gracious and kind person,” said the Rev. John Sweeney, pastor of Holy Family Parish in West Newton.
Archbishop Giuseppe “Joseph” De Andrea died Wednesday, June 29, 2016, in Rome. He was 86.
He began his career as a priest teaching in Kenya for two years before coming to the Diocese of Greensburg in 1958. Sweeney was at the seminary in 1960 when he met the archbishop.
“I didn’t know every priest well in the diocese, but I knew Joe well. I liked him and we got along well together,” Sweeney said.
Archbishop De Andrea served as parochial vicar of Mount St. Peter Parish, New Kensington, and St. Bernard of Clairvaux Parish, Indiana. He served as pastor of St. Ambrose Parish, Avonmore, and its then-mission, St. Matthew, Saltsburg; Mother of Sorrows Parish, Murrysville; St. James Parish, New Alexandria; and St. Pius X Parish, Mt. Pleasant. He also served as chaplain at Seton Hill University and dean of studies and director of faculty at St. Joseph Hall, Greensburg.
In 1983, he was called to serve as a representative of the Vatican at the United Nations, and he later served as a diplomat for the church in Middle Eastern countries such as Kuwait, Bahrain, the Republic of Yemen, Oman, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.
During this time, he maintained his friendship with Sweeney and his other friends from Westmoreland County.
Sweeney also struck up a friendship with Archbishop Giovanni “John” De Andrea, Giuseppe’s brother, another high-ranking diplomat with the Vatican.
“I was lucky enough to be in Rome a couple of times, and if Joe or John were there, we would get together,” Sweeney said.
The three would head out into the city and share a pizza as they chatted.
“If you sat down with Joe and John for an hour, you got a whole different sense of what the church is,” Sweeney said.
The brothers spread the influence of the church around the world and reached positions that few priests ever will, but they maintained their love of God, their kindness toward others and their humility, according to Sweeney.
“They were really laid back. There was no ‘Look what I do for a living,’ ” he said.
Archbishop Giuseppe De Andrea retired in 2005.
During his retirement, he served as a senior canon at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome and in the international offices of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem.
He was preceded in death by his brother, Giovanni De Andrea, in 2012.
A funeral Mass will be celebrated Saturday in St. Peter’s Basilica. A Greensburg diocesan memorial Mass is being planned.
Jacob Tierney is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-836-6646 or firstname.lastname@example.org.