Father Roger Mercurio, C.P., Holy Cross Province (1918-2001)

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Born John Valentine Mercurio on February 14, 1918 in St. Louis, Missouri, he was the son of Peter Mercurio and Cecilia Stroehle. He went to school at Cathedral Latin in 1931 and then went on to St. Louis Prep. His father had a subscription to Sign Magazine and young John was attracted to the stories of the China missions. When a friend enrolled at the Passionist seminary, he went to visit him and this eventually led him to decide to study there in August 1936. In June 1937 he went to St. Paul, Kansas for novitiate and professed his vows on July 17, 1938. From 1938 until 1941 he was assigned to Detroit, Michigan where he had the opportunity to study Italian. In 1939 the four volume Letters of St. Paul of the Cross arrived from Rome and with this rudimentary background in Italian, he began to examine the letters more closely. From 1941 until 1943 he was assigned to Chicago, Illinois to study theology, after which he was assigned to Louisville, Kentucky where he was ordained on April 26, 1944. After a year of sacred eloquence, he was sent on to graduate studies in theology at The Catholic University of America. This was a background for the study of Sacred Scripture in line with the norms expressed in Divino Afflante Spiritu, the 1943 scripture encyclical promulgated by Pope Pius XII. Later he attended the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome. When he arrived back in the United States he was a professor of Scripture at Immaculate Conception Monastery, Chicago, Illinois. He was rector of Sacred Heart Monastery, Louisville, Kentucky in 1959 and Warrenton, Missouri in 1962. He was back as rector in Louisville from 1965 until 1968. He was also pastor of Immaculate Conception Parish in Chicago, Illinois and served as a province consultor beginning in 1971 and then again in 1976. He became provincial of Holy Cross Province in 1976 and was elected to a full term in 1979. It was painful for him to close the Passionist retreat house in St. Louis. This was his home town. He was procurator of the Passionist Missions and also archivist for Holy Cross Province. On March 16, 2001 he had a slight stroke or seizure in Chicago where he was living. He did not recover from this.