NORTH KINGSTOWN – Scalabrini Father Joseph A. Scopa, 87, died May 27 at Blessed J. B. Scalabrini Residence on the 63rd anniversary of his priestly ordination.
Born in Simbario, Cantazaro, Italy, he was the son of the late Frank and Mary (Nardi) Scopa. At the age of nine, he immigrated to the United States with his family and settled in Chicago. He entered the Congregation of the Missionaries of St. Charles Borromeo at Sacred Heart Seminary, Melrose Park, Ill., and made his first religious profession as a Scalabrinian on Sept. 9, 1946, and his perpetual profession on Sep. 15, 1947. He was ordained to the priesthood on May 27, 1948.
Father Scopa was first assigned to Sacred Heart Seminary as vice-rector and in 1953 he was transferred to St. Charles Borromeo Parish, Melrose Park, Ill. In 1960 he was transferred to Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, and in 1964 he became pastor of St. Frances Cabrini Parish, Chicago. The following year he was appointed Master of Novices in Staten Island, N.Y. and on September 28, 1968 he became pastor of St. Anthony Church in Everett, Mass. In 1978 he was appointed pastor of St. Rocco Church, Johnston, where he served for 10 years before becoming pastor of St. Tarcisius Church, Framingham, Mass. In May 2002 he retired to the Blessed J.B. Scalabrini Residence in North Kingstown.
Father Scopa was involved with the Focolare Movement in the United States and was instrumental in the birth of the movement in the Midwest in the 1950s.
He is survived by a sister Catherine Scopa and two brothers, Salvatore Scopa and Vito Scopa, all of Illinois. He was the brother of the late Frank Scopa.
A Mass of Christian Burial was concelebrated May 31 at St. Rocco Church, Johnston. Burial was in St. Ann Cemetery, Cranston.