A public memorial Mass celebrating the life of Father Arcangelo Manzi, O.de M. will be scheduled at a later date at Our Lady of Mount Carmel West Parish in Cleveland, where Father Manzi ministered for the past eight years.
Father Manzi, 81, died April 21 at Marymount Hospital in Garfield Heights. He was the first priest in Cleveland to die from COVID-19, the illness caused by the novel coronavirus. Because of the ongoing health crisis, the Mercedarian friars and community had a private funeral for him.
Father Manzi was born Sept. 19, 1938 in Carife, Italy, to Giovanni and Maria Carmela Gallo Manzi. He joined the Mercedarian religious order in 1954 and entered the novitiate in Nemi, Italy in 1955. After completing his novitiate, he professed his first vows as a Mercedarian friar on Sept. 24, 1956, then completed his studies in philosophy and theology in Rome as he prepared for priestly ordination. He made his solemn final profession of vows on Sept. 25, 1962, and was ordained a priest on June 28, 1964, at Our Lady of Mercy Parish in Rome.
For the next 19 years, Father Manzi served in various Mercedarian communities and parishes throughout Italy. He became ill in 1983 while ministering at the Shrine of Our Lady of Bonaria on the island of Sardinia. He was diagnosed with cancer and at the urging of his family, most of whom had immigrated to the United States, he received permission from his religious superiors to travel to New York City for treatment. He stayed with family members in New Jersey during his treatment.
After recovering, Father Manzi asked permission to continue serving the community in the U.S. Vicariate. In early 1985, he moved to the Monastery of Our Lady of Mercy in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where he lived with the Mercedarian community and studied the English language.
From 1986 to 2003, he served in various positions in religious communities that minister in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and the dioceses of Cleveland, Buffalo, New York and St. Petersburg, Florida. Father Manzi was a parochial vicar at St. Rocco Parish in Cleveland 1986-1988 and at Our Lady of Mount Carmel West 1988-1991. He returned to Italy 2003-2012, serving as a prison chaplain and pastor of a Mercedarian parish there.
In 2012, Father Manzi came back to the U.S. and was assigned once again to serve at Our Lady of Mount Carmel West Parish and as a chaplain at Lutheran Hospital in Cleveland.
Father Michael Rock, O. de M., vicar provincial for the Mercedarian friars, said Father Manzi loved to cook and sing and added that he will be remembered for his deep faith and many years of service to the Mercedarian order and the Church.
In addition to his religious community, Father Manzi was close to his siblings, the late Gerardo and his wife, Maria, of Messina, Italy, and his sisters, Felicina DiGirolamo and her late husband, Joseph, of North Carolina, and Antoinietta and her husband, Lorenzo Cifelli, of New Jersey. In addition, he is survived by several nieces, nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews.