Remembering Bishop Latino

From the Archives
By Mary Woodward

JACKSON – This past Friday, Oct. 21, would have been the 85th birthday of Bishop Joseph Nunzio Latino of happy memory. +Joseph Nunzio was born in 1937; ordained in 1963; became a monsignor in 1983; and ordained a bishop in 2003.

Bishop Joseph Nunzio Latino

+Joseph Nunzio was a second generation American whose four grandparents emigrated to New Orleans from a small town on the central plains of Sicily known as Contessa Entellina. In New Orleans, most Sicilian heritage citizens come from Contessa.

Contessa is part of the Eparchy of Piana degli Albanesi, which serves the descendants of the Albanians who came to Sicily in the 1500s after holding off the Ottoman’s. The pope gave them five towns in Sicily. Albanians are Roman Rite and Byzantine Rite Catholics. +Joseph Nunzio’s father was Roman Rite, hence the name Latino; his mother’s family was Byzantine Rite (Italo-Albanesi). He had a cousin who was a Byzantine Rite priest named Papas Mateo Sciambra, who taught music in the seminary in Palermo.

In 2012, +Joseph Nunzio was finally able to visit his ancestral home and meet many Sciambra cousins in Contessa. New Orleans descendants formed the Contessa Entellina Society to celebrate their proud heritage. To our knowledge, +Joseph Nunzio was the only man to receive the Society’s Man-of-the-Year Award twice.

Since this week’s paper is a digital edition only, I thought I would share some images of him that give a small glimpse into his life of service to the Lord as a priest, bishop and faithful servant. There are far too many to share…

(Mary Woodward is Chancellor and Archivist for the Diocese of Jackson.)

more about Bishop Latino:

Bishop Latino in memoriam

Bishop Joseph Latino – farewell humble shepherd

Remembering Joseph N. Latino

From the top, left to right to bottom: Bishops Latino and Houck look out over Sferracavallo during 2012 visit Latino’s ancestral homeland of Sicily; Chris Luke and Bishop Latino at his 80th birthday celebration at the chancery on Oct. 21, 2017; first Solemn Blessing concluding his first Mass on May 26, 1963; Father George, Bishop Latino, Bishops William Houck and Sotir Ferrara, during a visit to Italy in 2012.(Photos courtesy of archives)