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96-year-old priest celebrates 65th anniversary at parish

Oldest working cleric in Italy met eight popes

27 March, 20:04
96-year-old priest celebrates 65th anniversary at parish (ANSA) - Filettino (Frosinone), March 27 - The oldest working priest in Italy on Thursday celebrated his 65th anniversary shepherding a single parish - a new record for 96-year-old Father Alessandro De Sanctis.

De Sanctis has spent 73 years of his life at the mountain village of Filettino in central Italy. Over the course of his ecclesiastical career, the priest has celebrated more than 46,000 Masses and 1,400 funerals. In January he met Pope Francis - one of eight pontiffs he has met - after inviting Francis to his hometown.

De Sanctis is currently in a hospital for medical checks.

Collaborators from the pastoral council celebrated by bringing him a cake decorated with the words "Parish priest for 65 years". "I am getting better," said De Sanctis said from hospital.

"Don't worry, because I am returning soon to my post in Filettino".