The Strange Case of Fr. Ferrari

BerlinettaI’m embarrassed to admit it, but I had known about Fr. Ferrari for some months before it dawned on me that “Ferrari” was not his real name. He was christened Francesco Amado Pacelli–of Italian blood, to be sure, South Philly-born, but no Ferrari.

His priestly moniker, if we can call it that, was owing to the automobile he drove. He rolled through the streets of west Philadelphia in a red Ferrari F12 Berlinetta. The car was not brand new, but always meticulously shiny, and of course curved in all the right places.

Seen from a distance and taken out of context, Fr. Ferrari seemed easy to peg: a parish priest given over to absurdly high living, to decadence even. But up close that perception came strangely out of focus. For Fr. Ferrari was one of the most devout and selfless priests anyone knew. Continue reading